Hello Ian,

As Dr. Mabra has already told you, this element of an Arabic name is sometimes written ابن “ibn” and sometimes written  بن “bin".  The romanization table for Arabic ( has an instruction in point 25 that this element be romanized as “ibn” except for modern North African names where the element is actually pronounced as “bin” when written as بن.    

With your book, you aren’t actually dealing with romanization of original script data.  It is common in books in latin characters that this element is written in all three of the ways you mentioned: ibn, bin, b.  When NACOing from books with “found” romanization (meaning romanization that is in the book and not supplied by the cataloger), it is perfectly fine to make a reference from a form which actually appears in the object.  As an Arabic cataloger, the reference you suggest from the form with just “b.” isn’t going to help me because I would automatically search for the name with “ibn”, but for others like yourself, having such a reference could be helpful for finding the heading, and also for feeling confident that it is the right match.

Joyce Bell
co-Head of the Arabic NACO Funnel

On Aug 28, 2017, at 7:29 PM, Ian Fairclough <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear PCCLIST readers,
Perhaps one or two people who are experts in Arabic can address this question.
The book which prompts this inquiry is: Princely authority in the early Marwānid state : ǂb the life ofʻAbd al-ʻAzīz ibn Marwān / Joshua Mabra. OCLC 990715757. The title page uses ibn, however on the back cover, ibn is replaced by b., a practice reflected extensively in the text. 
In correspondence, which Dr. Mabra has kindly allowed me to share, I told him: "I realize that, in either case, transliteration from the Arabic has taken place. …  If you have any further information about the variant transliterations, I'd be grateful to know."  To which he responded: "The form of "bin" reflects a pronunciation practice in which the i of ibn is dropped and the vowel sound of the preceding word is elided into the "bn".  The form of ibn or b. are the most common academic uses, while bin tends to be the most colloquial use."
LCCN n  90689938 OCLC ARN has as heading:
 ʻAbd al-ʻAzīz ibn Marwān, ǂc Governor of Egypt, ǂd -704 or 705
I wonder whether a reference based on the name form ʻAbd al-ʻAzīz b. Marwān (with the letter b instead of ibn) is appropriate.
Sincerely - Ian P.S. the NAR has the well-renowned field:
and I hesitate to update it, not knowing any Arabic.
Ian Fairclough
Cataloging and Metadata Services Librarian
George Mason University