Searching in non-Roman scripts


For searching items in non-Roman scripts in our catalogue, you need to transliterate the author, title or keyword, using the Library of Congress Romanization Rules.

There is no need to input the diacritics (small signs around a letter).

You can search in the original script (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, etc.) for all books acquired after 2000.

How to search for material in non-Roman script

SOAS Library collects a wide range of materials in non-Roman scripts. Records for these languages in the library catalogue are transliterated (romanized). Since 2000, records for Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Persian and a few other languages using non-Roman scripts, can be searched and displayed in either transliterated or original script.

Books anterior to 2000 may or may not have original script included in their library record.

What is transliteration?

A romanization or latinization is a system for representing a word or language with the Roman (Latin) alphabet, where the original word or language used a different writing system. Methods of romanization include transliteration, representing written text, and transcription, representing the spoken word.

Examples of transliterated titles:

ديوان خواجه حافظ شيرازى = Dīvān-i Khvājah Ḥāfiẓ Shīrāzī

和訳花園天皇宸記 = Wayaku Hanazono Tennō shinki

近百年古城古墓發掘史 = Jin bai nian gu cheng gu mu fa jue shi

At SOAS, we use the Library of Congress Romanization Rules to transliterate most of non-Roman scripts. See the tables at:

There are many existing transliteration norms for non-Roman scripts (see, but most UK libraries use the Library of Congress rules.

For more information, get in touch with the relevant subject librarian at SOAS.