I owe a special word of appreciation to John D. Byrum, Chief, and to Mary G. Hooper, Head, English Language Section 3, of the descriptive Cataloging Division, Library of Congress, who first suggested the idea of "Compiling a notebook" on Hebraica cataloging. Without their support, this project would never have been completed. I am also greatly indebted to Ben R. Tucker, Chief, Office for Descriptive Cataloging Policy, Library of Congress, who gave generously of his time, answered innumerable questions, read various drafts, made many valuable suggestions, and offered continuous encouragement.
I also thank Susan Hayduchok, Automated Operations Coordinator, Shared Cataloging Division, Library of Congress, and William Starck, a Library of Congress cataloger, who allowed me to "bounce around ideas" and who offered suggestions for improving the clarity. Thanks are also due to Kay D. Guiles and Diane Humes, both of the Office for Descriptive Cataloging Policy, who answered many questions on the history of MARC, its "flavors", and on procedures for authority work.
Michael Grunberger, Head, Hebraic Section, African and Middle Eastern Division, Research Services, Library of Congress, also offered many valuable suggestions, as did my colleages in Hebraica cataloging: Lenore Bell, Michael Halkin, Sharon Horowitz, Norma Mordfine, Barbara Panitz, Stephen Powitz, Lester Vogel, and Theodore Wiener. I thank them for their comments and support.
It is unlikely that every aspect has been dealt with adequately, or that all errors have been avoided. For any shortcomings, I am solely responsible.
Paul Eugene Maher
NOTE TO THE READER
Due to a limitation in typographical facilities available for the composition of this manual, the following should be noted: the "degree symbol" (°) has been substituted throughout for the ayn as used in the American Library Association character set, and the double underscore (x) has been used to indicate the inferior dot. In actual cataloging practice it is assumed that the standard ALA character set will be used.
Dollar signs ($) are used for delimiters in those examples where MARC subfield coding is illustrated.
PURPOSE AND COVERAGE
This manual was originally prepared as an internal training document for new Hebraica cataloging staff in the Descriptive Cataloging division of the Library of Congress. It has been revised to serve as a published guide to the romanization and cataloging of Hebraica materials by the Library of Congress.
The present work is intended to supplement the printed text of AACR2 as well as the regularly published Library of Congress Rule Interpretations (LCRI) and provisions of the internal Descriptive Cataloging Manual (DCM) regarding Hebraica materials. Material relating to Hebraica already contained in the general LCRIs and DCM is not routinely reproduced here. The LCRIs are generally accessible through the Cataloging Service Bulletin (CSB). However, since the DCM is not generally available, the texts of the DCM cited in this manual are included in the section entitled "Notes on the Descriptive Cataloging Manual."
Much of the information contained in this publication is presented here for the first time, while some includes clarifications, expansions, or cumulations of previously issued notes which appeared in various issues of the CSB. It is hoped that additions and other changes to this manual will be forthcoming. In the meantime, this compilation is intended to supersede previously issued documents.
Materials covered includes specific details on the process of romanization, notes on the application of LCRIs and DCMs, an annotated list of reference materials frequently consulted in Hebraica cataloging, and a short history of variant romanization practices which affect the use of LC MARC records. The appendix to this manual includes the ALA/LC romanization of Hebraica abbreviations found in the AACR2 appendix, copies of the romanization tables which formed the basis for earlier ALA/LC romanization practices, and the text of DCMs referred to above.
With the adoption of the second edition of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2) many libraries opted for "freezing" their old card catalogs and either started new card catalogs or introduced on-line files. This presented a dilema [sic.] for libraries with substantial Hebraica collections: to continue making expensive vernacular cards, or to romanize for the sake of being able to manipulate data in new, more effective ways by computer? As the possibility for on-line vernacular catalogs becomes a reality the question is no longer a case of "either/or". However, it appears that romanization will continue to be a necessity for all but standalone systems. Some cataloging agencies will probably wish to continue creating roman-only records. Many may wish to create machine-readable vernacular catalogs. Although a certain amount of collocation will be possible with vernacular searching, it appears that precise record identification will continue to be based substantially on romanization. As the Linked Systems Project (LSP) comes into being, which will allow the sharing of data among disparate computer systems,  the increasing importance of the role of romanization becomes even more apparent. Since each of the various systems have both their own software- and hardware-specific protocols and specifications, the consistent retrievability of bibliographic data becomes more and more dependent on the transcription and encoding of that data.
This manual attempts to give adequate explanation of both the romanization and the cataloging process unique to Hebraica materials, so that uniform results may be achieved by differing romanization and cataloging agencies wishing to apply the ALA/LC standard.
As implied above, while many questions of romanization and vernacular cataloging may be applicable only for a given file, i.e. relevant only to a specific data base--whether a particular bibliographic utility, automated catalog, or manual file--many questions have broader implications. Some systems may define a hyphen as a word separator, others may not; some may allow component word searching or truncation, others may not; some systems may require perfect matches of diacritics and special characters in order to recognize "identical" headings, etc. Since the uses of cataloging data cannot always be foreseen, an attempt must be made to address specific problems of romanization or transcription without appeal to a specific file, in order for that data to be shared as effectively as possible among disparate systems.