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Bodleian Library Chinese allegro catalogue
David Helliwell (djh@bodley.ox.ac.uk), 13 July 1998



- a library database system working with standard FEP (front-end processor) software to display Chinese original script.


allegro* was developed by Bernhard Eversberg at Braunschweig Technical University in Germany against a background of financial stringency and in a fragmented library environment. Consequently, it is

  • cheap and undemanding of resources – allegro can be run on anything from a low-specification stand-alone PC to a sophisticated library network
  • designed by an experienced hands-on librarian (now supported by a small development team) to enable quick, efficient and accurate working practices
  • user-configurable, allowing in-house design of format, indexing and display
  • able to import (convert) data from virtually any logically constructed source, including the numerous varieties of MARC (ISO 2709-1981)


allegro has therefore proved highly suitable for the automation of CJK catalogues in European libraries, where

  • East Asian collections form a relatively small part of the total library establishment, even in large libraries like the Bodleian
  • it is unreasonable to expect major resources to be allocated to a CJK enhancement of the main library system


allegro is especially useful for cataloguing Chinese books, as

  • in the Chinese library world, there is no consensus on format, coding standards, romanisation, or subject headings (- there are also radically different and widely used standards in existence in Japan)
  • Chinese books have important characteristics that have not been addressed by existing formats and systems - collectanea (congshu) for example


The Bodleian Library’s Chinese allegro catalogue

  • catalogues to the standard of a level 2 ISBD as defined in chapter 1 of AACR2
  • observes word-division (syllable aggregation) in both original script and romanisation
  • uses Big-5 character coding with full-form characters (fantizi) - simplified characters (jiantizi) are normalised on input
  • uses the DOS version of the allegro programs for cataloguing (with ET as an FEP), database management, full-text searching, and import
  • is accessible externally through either telnet or the WWW (- we recommend the use of the WWW catalogue with UnionWay as an FEP; a DOS OPAC is available to local users
  • currently contains 55,000 records, which together with the 40,000 Japanese records, offers by far the biggest online East Asian catalogue in Europe.

[i] zuletzt aktualisiert: 01.09.2011
Email: ub@tu-bs.de