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Korean Studies: Finding Korean Resources

Finding resources

You can use three different input methods for finding Korean resources in Search.

You can type:

  • Korean characters (Hangul 한글 & Hancha 漢字)
  • Romanized Korean
  • Keywords in English

Click on the tabs above to find out detailed information on using these different methods and when to best use them.


Tip: Browsing the shelves at the same call number in different collections will find similar topics.

How to input Korean characters (Hangul 한글 and Hancha 漢字)

Korean language has two writing systems:

  • Hangul   한글

  • Hancha  漢字

​These two writing systems are differentiated both by their distinct appearance and what they are used for. 

The Input method editor (IME) allows you to type Korean characters. Add Korean language from the list of languages and language settings in your PC or Mac — then, simply switch between languages.


How can you add the IME in your computer?

Windows: Adding IMEs (Input Method Editors)  or Control Panel>Region and Language>Keyboard and Lanugages>Add Korean (select Keyboard Korean and Microsoft IME)

Mac: Korean on a Mac or System Preferences>Language & Text>Input Sources>Korean (choose Korean)

Note: Make sure that the language bar is visible. The IME Pad or Keyboard is useful if you know the Korean characters but you don't know how to type them out.

Please contact eSolutions if you have problems activating the IME on your device. The computers in the library have the IME enabled by default.


When to best use Korean characters

Use Korean characters if you:

  • know the title of the item in Korean
  • know the name of the author in Korean
  • are looking for recent publications

Using Korean characters in these cases will give you the best results and will include all recent publications. But make sure you have typed the exact title or the author's Korean characters correctly, or you might not get any good results!

search example using Korean characters
Use of Romanized Korean

Romanization converts Korean characters into the Roman (Latin) script to express the language in a phonetic form that allows typing on a standard keyboard.There are different systems of romanization for Korean. Exceptions of Korean Romanization can be found in Korean romanization guideline below:

Monash University Library uses the McCune-Reischauer Romanization system. You can easily recognize it from:

  • apostrophe ( ’ )
  • breve ( ˘ )  over o ( ŏ ) and ( ŭ )
    This romanization system is also used by the Library of Congress (as one of its ALA-LC romanisations) and is the most common system in libraries today


안녕 (安寧) = Annyŏng                                 Hello or Bye
한국 (韓國) = Han’guk                                  Korea
대학교 (大學校) = Taehakkyo                      University

Note:  It is not necessary to type diacritics (apostrophe and breve) in Library Search.

When to best use Romanized Korean

Use romanized Korean if you:

  • know the title of the book but are unsure about the correct Korean characters
  • know the name of the author but are unsure about the correct Korean characters
  • are looking for older publications

Using Romanization will give you a greater number of results, including the records for older publications that have not been updated with Korean characters. Romanization also picks up resources in English and other languages.



search example of romanised korean

Keywords in English

You can also search for Korean material using English keywords.

Using English keywords will lead you to the subject headings, which are another way to find suitable resources.

When to best use English

Use English if you:

  • are not looking for a particular title or author
  • want to search for keywords or topics


If you are not searching for a particular title or author, you may want to do a keyword or topic search. You can type in Korean characters or Romanization to do a keyword search, but you can also search using English. Using English keywords will lead you to the subject headings. Nearly all records in Library Search include English-language subject headings, which describe the contents of the item. Through English-language keyword searches, you can use the subject headings to find suitable resources.


search example using plain english

Breve – The mark ˘ placed over a vowel to signify that it is short form. Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

Input Method Editor (IME): A software tool allowing you to type in Roman and non-Roman scripts on a standard keyboard.

Han’gŭl / Hangeul – The Korean national phonetic alphabet. OED

Hancha / Hanja – The Korean name for Chinese characters. It refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation.

Romanized Korean/Romanization: Conversion of Korean characters into the Roman (Latin) script or alphabet.

McCune-Reischauer Romanization system: Also known as “MR Romanization”, this system is easily recognized by the breve ( ˘ ) over o ( ŏ ) and u ( ŭ ) and apostrophe ( ’ ).

Revised Romanization of Korean system: This system is easily recognized by using e instead of breve ( ˘ ) of McCune-Reischauer Romanization. E.g. ŏ to eo ; ŭ to eu

Subject headings: Standard keywords used to describe the topic of an item.

302.23                     Communication, Media
305.409519  Women – Korea
306.095195 Popular culture – Korea
320.9519 Korean politics
327.519 Foreign relations - Korea
330.9519 Korean economics
338.9519 Economic policy - Korea
390 Folklore, customs
495.7 Korean language
720.9519 Architecture - Korea
780.9519 Music - Korea
791.43 Motion pictures
791.45 Television, drama
895.7 Korean literature
915.19 Korean culture
951.9 Korean history
Korean Subject Headings
  • Korea politics government
  • Korean language
  • Korea economic policy
  • Korea statistics
  • Korea religion
  • Korea social conditions
  • Korea social life
  • Korea history
  • Korea DVD
  • Korea architecture
  • Korea music