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Conducting Research: Dorot Jewish Division


About Our Catalogs

The catalogs in the Dorot Jewish Division guide the reader to materials available within the Division and throughout the Library. The basic catalog is also available to scholars outside New York City as the Dictionary Catalog of the Jewish Collection, published in fourteen volumes in 1960 and available in many university and other libraries in North America, Western Europe, and Israel. An eight volume First Supplement appeared in 1975, and the Hebrew-Character Title Catalog of the Jewish Collection was issued in four volumes in 1981. Records of material cataloged after 1971 are available online through The Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN), OCLC's WorldCat, and the Library's online catalog

How to Find Hebrew Books

Searching for Hebrew Books without Hebrew Script

Please note these are tips for searching; this is not a cataloging guide.

Much of our Hebraic language collection is now available in the computer catalog and it is now possible to search in Hebrew script. If your computer is Hebrew enabled, please click here. If not, it is possible to search for an item written in Hebrew characters by following some of the rules catalogers use to enter their records, entering a romanized title (in Roman, or English, script).


The Library of Congress has romanization tables (pdf), which indicate which letters should be used to represent the consonants and vowels in Hebrew/Yiddish.

Please note that when searching the catalog no character is required to represent the aleph and ayin. Just enter the accompanying vowel. Neither should the dots below the Roman script letters be entered (i.e., on the vav, het, tet, and kof) nor the line above the s for the sin.

In Hebrew, only romanize yod as when it is followed by a vowel. (Note that we romanize Daniyel not Daniel.)


When romanized, Hebrew prefixes are almost always separated by a hyphen from the word to which they are joined e.g., not haarets BUT ha-arets.

With this in mind:

1)   The definite article ha- at the beginning of a title should not be entered in a search.         

2)   In almost all other instances the definite article is romanized as ha-  

3)   The prefix vav  is romanized  ve- before any consonant except :

before a bet, vav, mem or peh = u- e.g., u-vet or u-foalav 

before any initial letter with a sheva = u- e.g., u-khetav

before a consonant with hataf-patah or hataf kamats = va- e.g., va-avodah

before a yod with a sheva = vi- BUT  Library of Congress rules require the sheva that should have assimilated remain, i.e. Vi-Yerushalayim not vi-yrushalayim.

The prefixes be-ke-, and le- behave as above. If they include the definite article then they will be romanized ba-, la-, etc.


The case of Levi and Kohen: when romanizing a family name do not use a hyphen, e.g., use Halevi or Hakohen

However when it is a title it should be ha-Levi or ha-Kohen.

It is also important to note the following romanizations: Be-reshit & Va-yikra.

"Little words" where hyphenation is dependent on their appearance in the dictionary will rarely appear in the title phrase you wish to search and will not be dealt with here.


The sheva nah (non-vocal sheva) is ignored. The Alcalay dictionary is a useful aid in the  identification of  this sheva—he did not transcribe it.

The sheva at the beginning of a Hebrew word (sheva na or vocal sheva) is romanized i.e., teshuvah not tshuvah.

However, in some cases the sheva na is not romanized. One of the most common instances in a title is the construct form of toladot which is rendered toldot (not toledot), as in Toldot Yaakov.


The Princeton University library Hebrew cataloging guide provides an extensive list of romanized abbreviations: []

And some examples of Hebrew words which may present difficulties:

If you still can't find the book and it was published prior to 1975, you may need to consult our book catalog (see above). For books published later than 1975 consult a librarian in the division.

This guide was based on the Library of Congress website, the Princeton University Library website, Hebraica Cataloging  (Paul Maher 1987), and on mentoring provided over the years by Rabbi Cliff Miller (Jewish Theological Seminary) and Roberta Saltzman (The New York Public Library).

Guide prepared by Anne-Marie Belinfante, Dorot Jewish Division, The New York Public Library