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You will need to be able to convert between Wade-Giles romanization and Hanyu Pinyin romanization in order to use both old and new dictionaries. You may also need to consult dictionaries that give Gwoyeu Romatzyh.
Learning How to Use a Character Dictionary
The Four Corner
One method for arranging Chinese characters is known as the Four Corner system. It was often used in libraries and some old Chinese reference books use it, so here is a guide on how to use the four corner system.
214 Kangxi Radicals
There are 214 radicals that are commonly used to arrange Chinese characters. Learning these radicals will speed up your use of dictionaries.
How to Use 現代漢語詞典
This is a tutorial created at Yale University on how to use the Xian dai han yu ci dian.
Avail: SC Neilson East Asian/4 Core PL1420 .H7785 1985