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EAS200: Korean Diaspora: Korea Outside & Inside: Librarian's Secrets

Writing About Korea in English

If you are interested in reading academic writing in English about Korea, look at back issues of Korea Journal. Current issues are available: 

SC Neilson Periodicals/2 DS901.K7 36 (1996)-[40]- 

 But back issues are also available online:   If you have trouble searching, it can be very helpful to browse the tables of contents for good ideas and thematic issues.

Getting Help

One of the librarian's secrets, that we freely share if asked, is that we don't hesitate to ask others for help when we recognize the limitations of our own knowledge. Librarians like to believe that we don't have all the answers, but we know how to find all the answers :) 

So... when it is necessary we turn to larger collections and librarians who specialize in narrower fields. The librarians at the Korean Heritage Library at USC are very kind and helpful. They have also collected one of the largest libraries related to Korean Studies in North America.

The Committee on Korean Studies has a wealth of good information and contacts on its website as well.


Romanization is a word that means transliterating foreign languages like Chinese, Korean, or Japanese into the roman alphabet so that people can pronounce words. There are a number of different systems and this can cause problems to scholars, especially when the same person's name can be romanized (spelled) in several different ways. 

There are rules though, for the different systems, so you can fairly easily get used to the differences and substitute accordingly. 

The librarians in North America use the McCune-Reischauer system of romanization. You can find the guidelines for library use here at the Library of Congress. This is important to know, because if you want to find books in library catalogs, and hangul/hanja isn't included, then you need to follow the library rules. 

The Korean government has its own system of romanization that is supposed to be based on standard Korean pronunciation. It has been revised fairly recently.  You will need to know this romanization if you want to read about Korea in English language newspapers or websites in Korea. 

The Wikipedia article on Romanization of Korean gives a good comparative chart of the major schemes for romanization.

Subject Guide

Sharon Domier's picture
Sharon Domier