Newsletter No. 58 (July 2011)

A Report on the Library Panel at the JSAA biennial conference in Melbourne, 4-8 July 2011


Tsunemasa Okamoto
National Diet Library JAPAN


The Author presented at the JSAA Conference.

I am grateful for EALRGA funding which enabled me to attend the conference.

At the JSAA library panel, I spoke about the mass digitisation project of National Diet Library, titled “The Big Leap Into Digitisation: How the National Diet Library’s Initiative Improves its Services to Scholars Overseas”.

As an extra budget, 12.7 billion yen for digitisation was allocated to the NDL in 2009. Around 1 or 2 million yen budget for digitisation had been allocated annually since 2000, so we had to engage in 100 years of digitisation! So the mass digitisation project started.

The background of digitisation also changed in 2009. The Japanese Copyright Law was amended and now the NDL can digitise its collections without permission to avoid damaging them. Digitised images can be accessed within NDL buildings only. For showing them on the Internet, we have to clear copyright.

Our project started in May 2009 and almost ended in March 2011. More than 1 million volumes have been digitised! As a result, almost all books published before 1968 have been digitised in this project. We have also digitised Japanese classics, serials and doctoral dissertations. Almost a quarter of all materials stacked in the NDL have been digitised.

We basically scanned the materials directly and created images. A total of 174 million images were produced in this project. We prepared TOC as text format to enable specific contents to be found more easily.

We also cleared copyrights for books published before 1945, and doctoral dissertations. We sought the authors of each work, checked if copyrights were expired or not from their year of death, and where necessary got permission from copyright holders.

Most images are shown on the premises as mentioned, but about 70,000 volumes were added on the Internet after copyright clearance has been completed. And more 60,000 volumes will be added in the next few months.


Digitised books before 1945 are contained in a database called “Digital Library from the Meiji Era”.<http://kindai.ndl.go.jp/index.html> Other materials will be contained in our new archival system. We are now constructing a new system and all images will be searched and shown as a one-stop service. <http://dl.ndl.go.jp/> We are also opening a new search system as a prototype, aiming to create an access point from which you can use the wealth of knowledge from public libraries, archives, museums, institutes of academic research and the NDL.< http://iss.ndl.go.jp/>




Tsunemasa Okamoto(okamoto@ndl.go.jp)

Remark: Images in this report are provided by the author.




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