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Catalog using Syriac script

Discover how to catalog using Syriac script in Connexion client.


Use Syriac script data for cataloging items in languages that use the Syriac script (for example, Aramaic and Syriac). Use Syriac script data the same way you use other non-Latin script data in the client.

See Work with international records and Guidelines for contributing non-Latin script bibliographic records to WorldCat for details specific to non- Latin scripts. See also general procedures describing how to:

Tools for using non-Latin scripts

Specific tools to help with Syriac script cataloging

  • Toggle alignment for Syriac script data right-to-left or left-to-right using View > Align Right (default: right-to-left) 
  • Use Unicode formatting characters to control correct display of bidirectional data in Syriac records. 
  • See procedures below for using these Syriac-specific tools. 

Other tools to help with non-Latin script cataloging in general

  • Link/unlink (Edit > Linking Fields > Link [or Unlink]) - Visually link or unlink non-Latin script data fields with equivalent Latin script (romanized) data fields (bibliographic records only) 
  • Export options for data fields (Tools > Options > International) - Determine (for bibliographic records only): 
    • Whether to export both equivalent Latin script (romanized) data and non-Latin script data or only one or the other 
    • Position of data if you export both Latin and non-Latin script data 
    • Sort order

 Caution: MARC-8 character verification (Edit > MARC-8 Characters > Verify) is not appropriate for verifying Syriac characters. There is no MARC-8 character set for Syriac. Using this command for Syriac results in marking all Syriac characters as invalid. The OCLC system validates Syriac characters when you validate a record. See Use non-Latin scripts for cataloging bibliographic records for more specific procedures for working with these tools.

UTF-8 Unicode export and import required for Syriac records

Because Syriac script is not included in MARC-8 character sets, you must export and import records in Unicode format (settings are in Tools > Options > Export and in File > Import Records/Options button).

About Unicode

Unicode is the universal character encoding scheme for written characters and text. It defines a consistent way of encoding multi-script text that enables the exchange of text data internationally.

Unicode provides for three encoding forms: a 32-bit form (UTF-32), a 16-bit form (UTF-16), and an 8-bit form (UTF-8, designed for use with ASCII-based systems).

Connexion client began supporting Syriac script with Unicode version 6.2.0.

Syriac script entry and character sets

Script entry method

If your system default language is not Syriac, you can install Syriac, and Windows provides an input keyboard for entering Syriac script. See more about input methods for languages that use non-Latin scripts

Character set supported

Syriac characters are defined in Unicode 6.2 (coded in the range U+0700 to U+074F).

Script identifier in records

The client adds the following data to field 066 ‡c in Syriac records to indicate the presence of Syriac characters:

  • Syrc

Romanized data

See the ALA-LC Romanization Table for Syriac on the Library of Congress website.

Align Syriac script data for display and print

By default, the client displays (and prints) Syriac script with data aligned to the right. To toggle between displaying these scripts right-to-left or left-to-right:

To toggle alignment for all Syriac script data in the current record, click View > Align Right or press <Alt><V><I>. The data aligns to the right for display and printing. The Align Right icon next to the command on the View menu is active (highlighted) if Align Right is selected. The icon is inactive (grayed out) if Align Right is cleared.

To toggle data alignment in the current field, right-click a field and, on the pop-up menu, click Right-to-Left Reading Order. The client changes the alignment of the Syriac script data only in the current field.

Use Unicode formatting characters to control bidirectional data

Enter Unicode formatting characters in Syriac records to correctly display left-to-right multiple-digit numbers and punctuation, including brackets, hyphens, internal spaces, etc., within a field of right-to-left script data.

  • Export/import using UTF-8 Unicode character set - Unicode formatting control characters are retained as is in Syriac records exported or imported using the UTF-8 Unicode character set, along with other non-MARC-8 Unicode characters.
  1. Click to locate the cursor in the position where you want to insert a formatting control number.
  2. Right-click in the field and then click Insert Unicode Control Character on the pop-up menu.
    Right-click to open the pop-up menu and then press the keystrokes shown in step 3.
  3. Click one of the following characters or press the keystroke shortcuts, shown in parentheses:
    • LRM Left-to-Right Mark or press <Alt><R><L>
    • RLM Right-to-Left Mark or press <Alt><R><R>
    • ZWJ Zero Width Joiner or press <Alt><R><J>
    • ZWNJ Zero Width Non-Joiner or press <Alt><R><N>
    • LRE Start of Left-to-Right Embedding or press <Alt><R><S>
    • RLE Start of Right-to-Left Embedding or press <Alt><R><T>
    • LRO Start of Left-to-Right Override or press <Alt><R><A>
    • RLO Start of Right-to-Left Override or press <Alt><R><F>
    • PDF Pop Directional Formatting or press <Alt><R><P>

     Note: Create a text string using Tools > Text Strings; click Add and enter one of the characters listed above using the right-click menu. Then use the Text Strings quick tool on the toolbar to enter the character.
    Assign the text string to a keystroke shortcut. Enter the character by pressing the keystroke.

Example: To control the display of the data 742[1981 or 1982] that you enter in field 260 ‡c, and that is preceded and to be followed by Syriac script data:

  1. Click to locate the cursor in field 260 ‡c.
  2. Right-click in the field, click Insert Unicode Control Character on the pop-up menu, and then click LRE Start of Left- to-Right Embedding.
  3. Enter the data string, 742[1981 or 1982], immediately following the character.
  4. Without moving the cursor, right-click in the field again. On the pop-up menu, click Insert Unicode Control Character and then click PDF Pop Directional Formatting.

More information

Use Syriac definite article in Syriac script searches

Always include the Syriac definite article 'alif laam ('alif laam) in all words in a keyword search.

Indexing for Syriac script searches

Notes on searching

  • Use word or phrase search indexes and word or phrase browse indexes. 
  • Word searches find the data string you enter anywhere in the indexed field. Phrase searches find the data string starting with the first character in a field or subfield and including each character in exact order. Browsing scans an index for the closest match to the character string followed by any other data. 
  • If you use qualifiers to limit searches, enter them using Latin script. 
  • Do not use derived searching. 
  • Do not use truncation (asterisk (*) at the end of a search term). You can use browsing for automatic truncation (enter only as many characters as needed for a match without using an asterisk at the end). 
  • If you want to retrieve all Syriac script records or see sample records, use the "character sets present" WorldCat search index (label vp:) with the assigned code syr.
    • To find all Syriac script records, enter vp:syr in the command line search of the Search WorldCat window (Cataloging > Search > WorldCat).
       Note: If a search for all Syriac script records alone retrieves too many WorldCat records (limit 1,500 records), you must limit the search and try again (e.g., vp:syr/1991-2vp:syr and la:syr; etc.).

See general procedures and search techniques for searching WorldCat.

Syriac character indexing specifics

Syriac punctuation (End of paragraph, Supralinear full stop, Sublinear full stop, Supralinear colon, Sublinear colon, Horizontal colon, Colon skewed left, Colon skewed right, Supralinear colon skewed left, and Sublinear colon skewed right) are ignored in indexing.

Syriac marks (Qushshaya, Rukkakha, Two vertical dots above, Two vertical dots below, Oblique line above, and Oblique line below) are ignored in indexing.

Required system font

The Arial Unicode Microsoft font does not support the Syriac script. In Windows, Microsoft provides the Estrangelo Edessa to support Syriac.