Library Catalog Support for Unicode GreekMarch 31, 2010
The current concern over transliteration rules for modern Greek in library catalogs reminded me that I meant to write up the results of a brief inquiry I made last fall about the display of Greek characters in library catalogs.
Many newer library catalog software programs support Unicode characters, which allow them to display languages not written in the roman alphabet: Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Arabic – and, of course, Greek. However, not too many libraries have yet taken advantage of the ability to display Greek publications in Greek characters. Here are the ones I have found that have:
Harvard’s HOLLIS catalog (Classic catalog only; linked from http://lib.harvard.edu/) supports searching in Greek. They are adding new records for works in Greek with dual MARC fields, one in Greek Unicode and one romanized. They have started doing this since 2006, and are not currently adding anything retrospectively.
The AMBROSIA catalog, of the British and American Schools in Athens (including Gennadius; http://ambrosia.ascsa.edu.gr:8991/F) has all works in Greek displaying and searchable in Greek Unicode, but NOT available romanized. These records were directly converted from Greek paper records to digital records. You can get the catalog to display MARC fields in the public interface.
Zephyr (http://zephyr.lib.uoc.gr), a gateway to Greek academic library catalogs developed and maintained by the University of Crete, has supported Unicode since 2006.
Many thanks to librarians Deborah Brown Stewart of Dumbarton Oaks, Jacquelene Riley of Cincinnati, and commenter pagraham (and others) on the Librarything thread, who contributed to my understanding of this topic.