Entering non-ALA Diacritics and Special Characters

When entering information in bibliographic records in Connexion, you can insert most letters, numbers, diacritics and special characters by using the ALA Character Set, which is available in

  • Connexion browser as a pop-up menu (F7) or as bar syntax by clicking on Diacritics in the header
  • Connexion client via ALA Character Entry (Edit/Enter Diacritics, or Ctrl-E, or toolbar option "ALA")

When entering diacritics, enter the diacritic after the character which it modifies. It will appear in the proper position. However, in some instances the ALA Character Set does not supply the appropriate representation. In those cases follow the instructions in the table below.

For more information, see Library of Congress Rule Interpretation 1.0E.

Original Character Equivalent Example Type As

Subscript or superscript alphabetic character

If no distortion or loss of intelligibility results, use standard lowercase alphabetic character.


      Otherwise use the double underscore with the standard character representing the superscript or subscript character.  -spaces   
Subscript or superscript period Blank space followed by dot below character or superior dot. (Since the dot below a character and superior dot are diacritics, a blank space is required to allow the dot to occupy its own position.)    Fe ( 5 1 . 5)  

Rh (8 3 . 4) 
Old German small e  Umlaut    Fu¨rsten
Scharfes s or ess-zet written as two characters 1    sz    Auszenhandel
Scharfes s or ess-zet written as a ligature 1    ss    Aussenhandel
Special letters or diacritics used in African languages For a special letter, use a double underscore with the nearest roman alphabet equivalent to the unavailable letter.

  For a ^ below a letter, use a double underscore below the letter.      
  For a  below a letter, use a dot below the letter.      
Abbreviation  in Spanish or Portuguese a .     5a. regia ~o
Abbreviation  in Spanish or Portuguese o .     9o. Distrito
Foot (feet)         
Minutes. SEE Foot      
Prime sign. SEE Foot      
Seconds. SEE Inch(es)      
Single quotation marks not enclosed within double quotation marks on source document Double quotation marks New 'half-inch' cycling road maps New "half-inch" cycling road maps
Other signs or symbols not represented in character set Use existing characters when this can be done without distortion or loss of intelligibility.    for social studies Rx for social studies
Otherwise, describe the special sign or symbol in words and enclose the descriptive words within brackets. If the special sign or symbol appears within a word, do not leave spaces on either side of the brackets If the special sign or symbol is used as a separate word, input spaces as for a word. A study of the    A study of the [ankh]
Schwa      ha¨t
Greek characters (in scientific or mathematical contexts)

Note: Greek characters should be used in a record only if the item is written in Greek.
Spell out in English and enclose in square brackets Determining  -helix correspondence for protein structure. Determining [alpha]-helix correspondence for protein structure.
 - calculus [lambda]-calculus

1   The ess-zet is not yet authorized by the Library of Congress for use in Authority records. NACO participants should check the LC Guidelines Supplement for the most current information. Another source to consult is the Authority File Comparison Rules (NACO Normalization) (http://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/naco/normrule-2.html).

Spacing characters

You can now enter these characters as characters (you may continue to enter them using hex values).

Note: Do not confuse these spacing characters with their non-spacing counterparts. Use of the spacing characters is limited almost exclusively to URLs. For example, Núñez uses the non-spacing tilde, but http://theory.lcs.mit.edu/~jacm/ uses the spacing tilde.
Original Character Equivalent Example Type As

Enter as character or hex value
Spacing circumflex/circumflex accent ^ %5E
Spacing underscore/low line 2   _ %5F
Spacing grave/grave accent ` %60
Spacing tilde/tilde ~ %7E
Enter as hex value only vertical bar | %7C

2   Because the Spacing Underscore may cause problems with MARC output, users may prefer to continue entering it with the hexidecimal value %5F.