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JSIST 2004 Pages: December 6, 2004

Visit to the National Institute of Informatics

Mr. Shin'ichi Suzuki discussed NII's information communication network systems Science Information Network (SINET) and Super SINET, which provide "information life line" for research and education by connecting universities and research institutions all over Japan, and support international academic information network by connecting major overseas research networks worldwide.

Mr. Kazuo Uzawa talked about NII's catalog information service represented by NACSIS-CAT and NACSIS-ILL. The NACSIS-CAT is multi-lingual based; catalog records of Chinese, Korean, and Arabic titles began to be included in the union catalog databases from 2000, 2002 and 2003 respectively. Cataloging of Japanese and Chinese old books was introduced in June 2003. For international inter-library loan, after the successful implementation of Global ILL Framework with OCLC, NII has just begun with Korean libraries with KERIS in November 2004.

Mr. Shigeki Sugita discussed the Institutional Repository project consisting of JuNii, a database of metadata for networked resources which provides a portal for the research results produced at individual universities in Japan, and the experiment of softwares for harvesting metadata with six universities. Those softwares under experiment are DSpace and EPrints, while Chiba University is trying its own.

Ms. Riko Modeki introduced GeNii, NII's new academic contents portal system which will be available from April 2005. A variety of databases currently available through NACSIS-IR and Webcat Plus will be all accessible through GeNii and be automatically connected to full text, when available. GeNii will be available to overseas scholars and institutions by subscription.

Mr. Ikuo Sasakawa of the University of Tokyo Library discussed the development and current situation of the Global ILL Framework (GIF) Project as well as its future perspectives. The GIF Project with North American libraries was launched in April 2002 with non-returnables, while ILL for books has begun in Aug. 2003. Regarding ILL/DD with North American libraries, he noted that cancellation rate in the total statistics for the past three years was remarkably high (45% of total requests from Japanese libraries and 72% of total requests from North American libraries were denied). Also, he noted, the system and cultural difference with ILL between Japan and North America has been noticeable. To resolve these areas, workshops and manuals might be necessary probably for both sides.

Mr. Hitoshi Hayase of Tokyo Gakugei University Library talked about the development of the GIF Project with Korean libraries. A system testing was done in July 2004, and preliminary trial between 5 Korean and 4 Japanese university libraries was conducted between Aug. and September 2004. Actual implementation for ILL/DD with 226 Korean and 60 Japanese libraries has just begun in November 2004 with transaction handled by KERIS agents. That with GIF functionality is scheduled to be introduced in October 2005.

(Handouts prepared by NII are available at

[Prepared by Toshie Marra.]

NII Information Service: Introduction and Practice

This report is based on the presentation "NII's Project Outline" given by Mr. KONISHI Kazunobu, Deputy Director, Development and Operations Department, National Institute of Informatics, available from:, and the presentation "The NII's Cooperation with Overseas Institutes" given by Dr. MIYAZAWA Akira.

The National Institute of Informatics (NII) originated in the Research Center for Library and Information Science (RCLIS) established at Tokyo University in 1976 to improve the dissemination of academic information, a process that had been neglected until then. The attempt to improve academic communication in Japan necessitated the renovation and reorganization of the infrastructure of information communication, which led to the establishment of the National Center for Science Information System (NACSIS) in 1986, which was then reorganized as the National Institute of Informatics in 2000. In April 2004, the NII began a new chapter as a member of the Inter-University Research Institute Corporation/Research Organization of Information and Systems.

Mission Statements:

  • Interdisciplinary and Comprehensive Research on Information and Infrastructural Development of Information
  • Operations Related to the Development and Maintenance as well as Related to the Application of Academic Information
  • Training of Specialists in the Fields of Informatics

The NII functions as the core of the creation of cyberspace infrastructure in Japan, and GeNii as well as other projects explained below support and contribute to the promotion and development of scholarly communication in Japan.

The Characteristics of NII's Research & Education and Operations
The NII's Research & Education Department and the Operation Department maintain reciprocal relations; the Research & Educational Department provides new information technology to the Operation Department, which gives feedback on new research themes to Research & Education. The NII has promoted the infrastructure of scholarly communication through the construction of networks and the development of content.

Featured Services and Projects
Global Environment for Networked Intellectual Information (GeNii)
NII is in the process of constructing a new platform called GeNii to integrate the contents of the services provided by NACSIS-CAT (Catalog Information Service), NACSIS-IR (Information Retrieval Service) and NACSIS-ELS (Electronic Library Service). For example,

  • Through CiNii (Citation Information by NII), a bibliographic information system for scholarly literature connected to ELS, a user can 1) view the photographic reproduction of the text; 2) find the bibliographic data of the journal which published the articles via WebCat; 3) trace the bibliographic records referenced by the article; and 4) trace the bibliographic records which cite the article;
  • Through Kaken (Service for the Publication of Grant-in-Aid Scientific Research) database, a user can search the contents and summary of the projects funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) since 1985;
  • Through Bunka Isan Onrain (Cultural Heritage Online), a user can search a database containing brief explanations and images of cultural assets. The database was compiled in cooperation with public and private museums in Japan under the auspices of the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications;
  • Through Academic Society Home Village, a user can find the homepages of Japanese academic societies. At present, there are approximately 1,700 acadmic societies in Japan, and many of them do not have their own homepages. The NII provides a server to those academic societies to enable them to create their homepages. As of December 2004, this database included 60% of the academic societies in Japan.

NII's New Project: International Scholarly Communication Initiative: SPARC/JAPAN (
The scholarly communication system in Japan has remained behind and has failed to support researchers in promptly publishing their latest work in English. One major factor is that there are not enough English language periodicals published in Japan that are competitive with overseas periodicals. Another factor lies in the shortage of scholarly journals in electronic format. At present, 12-13% of articles are written in English, but 80% of such articles are published overseas. Consequently, the NII launched the International Scholarly Communication Initiative in cooperation with university libraries, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)-USA and SPARC-Europe to internationally distribute scholarly research results through electronic publications and to promote the world-wide awareness of Japan's intellectual contributions. (As of October 2004, thirty titles had been selected for this project; but only title is in the humanities and social sciences, Monumenta Nipponica, and almost of all contributors are non-Japanese. In this reporter's point of view, Japanese studies research-which is largely in the realm of the humanities and social sciences-should be disseminated in English internationally in order to promote international understanding of Japan, but this has not yet come to pass.) The International Scholarly Communication Initiative began in FY2003 and will run for three years.

Related sites:
SPARC Europe:

NII's New Project: National Research Grid Project (NAREGI)
NAREGI seeks the development of "e-infrastructure" and the establishment of a secure network through which computing functionality, distributed all over the world, can be easily used anywhere and any time. NAREGI was initiated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and is being conducted jointly among industry, academia and government. The project runs from FY 2003 to 2007.

NII's Cooperation with Overseas Institutes
NII works for the creation of worldwide union catalogs in Japanese, thus it promotes cooperation with oversea institutes to achieve this goal. Overseas libraries and research institutes have participated in NACSIS-CAT, registering 340,000 academic documents in the system (March 2004). Also, NII has promoted international ILL agreements; with North America, NII has provided international ILL/DD service through OCLC. Moreover, from November 2004, NII started a pilot ILL/DD service with Korea Education & Research Information Service (KERIS). The NII also agreed to exchange bibliographic data with Hochschulbibliothekszentrum des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (HBZ) and China Academic Library & Information System (CALIS).

"Grobaru ILL no shintenkai: NiKkan ILL/DD zantei sabisu no unyo kaishi," NACSIS-CAT/ILL nyusureta no. 15 (22 Nov. 2004): 12 (18 Feb. 2005)

Miyazawa, Akira. Toshokan nettowaku: shoshi yuteriti no sekai. Tokyo: Maruzen, 2003.

[Prepared by Michiko Ito.]

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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