Recently, Libraries Australia
implemented changes that have greatly improved the
searching of Chinese and Japanese script characters.
Libraries Australia users can now do accurate simultaneous
searching or browsing using script characters and be
confident they have retrieved all of the relevant records
in a single search. This has significantly improved the
efficiency of our business in the Chinese and Japanese
Units of the National Library. It is a great improvement
and makes the script searching functionality much more
Chinese characters are called Hanzi, which can be divided into two groups, Traditional Chinese
(used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau) and Simplified Chinese (used in mainland China). Previously, Libraries Australia
records that included either of these character sets had to be searched separately.
We had to constantly switch between simplified and traditional characters in order to execute a comprehensive search
across all materials available in the National Bibliographic Database (ANBD), in effect conducting a double search
every time script characters are involved.
A searching problem also existed for Japanese characters.
In Japanese, a word may consist of several characters to convey meaning and there are no spaces between these
characters. However, the Libraries Australia search broke up every Japanese word into individual characters
which made searching very difficult.
For Chinese, there is now simultaneous searching of both traditional and simplified characters.
For Japanese, the updated system is treating consecutive characters as one word even when they are made up of a
combination of different types of characters such as kanji (= Chinese characters used in Japanese) and either of
the two sets of phonetic alphabets (hiragana and katakana). Queries can include any combination of scripts as long as
they are from meaningful character sets.