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Course & Subject Guides

Korean Studies Resources and Services @ Pitt

This guide introduces major print and electronic resources on Korean Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Tips on effectively searching for Korean materials on PITTCat are also given.


The East Asian Library is collecting Korean resources, including books, periodicals, and movies, for Korean studies students and scholars. In order to locate those Korean resources in the library system, the followings are recommended:

  • Using PittCat if you want to type in search terms in Hangul for resources written in Korean or if you want to type in search terms in English or romanization for resources written either in English or Korean.
  • Learning Korean romanization and word division rules used in the library systems.


PittCat is the gateway searching tool for all of the materials owned by the University Library system (ULS), including articles, books, e-books, journals, e-journals, e-audio and e-video, digital images, government documents, microfilm and movies.

Users can search PittCat using romanized Korean as well as Korean charcters, or Hangul. When using romanized Korean, please follow the same romanization rules.

Korean Romanization and Word Division

In the libraries' bibliographic systems in the United States, Korean characters, or Hangul, have been romanized, along with Hangul, following the Library of Congress (LC)  Korean Romanization rules. These follow the McCune-Reischauer system in general with some exceptions. Further information on Korean Romanization for Korean studies is available under the section of "Korean Romanization" in this guide.

LC also proposed some rules for word division for Korean romanization. Basic principles of the rules are as the following:

  1. Each part of speech is to be separated from other parts of speech, such as noun, pronoun, adjective, adnominal adjective, verb, adzverb, particle, numeral, and exclamation.
  2. Group syllables into words that make sense in context. Separate compound words by part of speech without doing harm to the original meaning.

국어문장의 형성원리 연구 [original words in a title in Korean]
= 국어 문장 의 형성 원리 연구 [words are divided by applying the rules]
= Kugŏ munjang ŭi hyŏngsŏng wŏlli yŏn'gu [Korean romanization & word division]

For further information on Korean romanization and word division, see Korean Romanization and Word Division by Library of Congress.

Using PittCat

In order to locate Korean resources, books, periodicals, or dvds, you can do search either in Roman or Korean in PittCat.

Supported Letters or Characters

PittCat supports both Roman letters and Korean or Hangul characters for search.

Special characters
The McCune-Reischauer Romanization of the Korean hangul script uses some special characters such as breves (˘) and apostrophe (').

  • Breves (˘), not carons (ˇ), are used over o and u to indicate the vowels ㅓ (ŏ) and ㅡ (ŭ).
    Tip: In order to create those characters in a web browser, you can use unicode entity codes. For example, to create ŏ, just type in entity code for breve o, which is "ŏ" without quotation mark. Likewise, you can use entity code for breve u (ŭ) to create ŭ.
  • Apostrophe (') is used to distinguish aspirated consonants (ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅍ, and ㅊ) from their unaspirated counterparts (ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ, and ㅈ).
  • Tip: Casual users of the library system may omit the breves and apostrophe because typing o or u without the breves and omitting apostrophe are often easier than adding them.


  • For 국어, you may type in "kugŏ" with a breve or "kugo" without a breve.
  • For 연구, you may type in "yŏn'gu" with a breve and apostrophe or "yongu" without a breve and an apostrophe. 

Search Scenario 1. Using Roman letters
Since bibliographic records for Korean resources have been created in Korean romanization along with its original Korean characters, you can search with romanized Korean to locate Korean items. Here is an example:

If you want to find a book titled "한국전쟁의 기억과 사진" in Korean, you can do search the item by using its romanized korean, "Han'guk chŏnjaeng ŭi kiŏk kwa sajin" or "Hanguk chonjaeng ui kiok kwa sajin" ignoring special characters, as search terms. Here, the conversion of Korean to roman has been made by following ALA/LC Korean Romanization rules. This Korean romanization follows McCune-Reichauer system, and spaces have been made by following ALA/LC word division rules discussed above. If you are not familiar with the rules, you can just simply use a dictionary to look up romanized Korean words.     

Search Scenario 2. Using Korean characters 
On the other hand, it is possible to locate Korean resources with Korean, or hangul, in the systems. So, if you want to locate the above item in Korean, you can do search with keywords in Korean, such as "한국", "전쟁", "기억", or "사진", which come from its original title. However, there are some cases that there is no space in Korean titles of Korean bibliographic records; for example, the title of "한국전쟁의 기억과 사진" could be descripted as "한국전쟁의기억과사진" in Korean title field. These cases are usually found in the Korean title field, but not in the romanized Korean title field, of old Korean bibliographic records.

In summary, if you want to find a known item, titled as "한국전쟁의 기억과 사진", you can try to do search with the following search terms in PittCat:

  • "han'guk chŏnjaeng ŭi kiŏk kwa sajin" or "hanguk chonjaeng ui kiok kwa sajin," if you know exact titles of the item
  • any terms appeared in "hanguk chonjaeng kiok kwa sajin". Here, a particle "ui" and "kwa" have been ignored since they have no meaning.
  • you can also try "한국전쟁의기억과사진" as search terms ignoring white spaces in the title
  • or, any terms appeared in "한국전쟁의 기억과 사진," such as "한국", "전쟁", "기억", "사진". Here also a particle "의" and "과" have been ignored since they have no meaning.