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JSIST 2004 Pages: December 7, 2004

Cultural Resource and Information - Cooperation between Libraries and Archives

Speaker: MURATA Shohei, National Archives of Japan, Center for Asian Historical Records

December 7, 2004

Mr. Muta gave us a lecture and gave us hands-on exercise of using the database of the Center for Asian Historical Records.

  • He explained the history of archives. The concept of archives is not clear in Japan, and it was not developed as public documents as national property of people in Japan. Public documents were considered to be the property of administration. It was not open to public before "the Law Concerning Access to Information held by Administrative Organs".

    Before the WWII, documents were collected under the accountability toward the Emperor, not for the people of Japan. After the WWII, many of the administrative documents were discarded, because they didn't have the concept that the administrative documents were public property, but more "private" because the administrators produced them. Some of those documents were sold for the old book dealers, and therefore, sometimes, those public documents are found in old book market.

    Some documents were taken by the United States and used for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo. Therefore they are no longer "top secret" documents. However, many Japanese scholars do not realize this point and go to the National Archives of the United States.

  1. Japan Center for Asian Historical Records offers "a full-fledged digital archives, under Japan National Archives". It provides "Japanese modern historical records of relationship with various neighboring countries and regions, access through the Internet."
  2. It took them 4 years to set up this center, but by the time when the center started its function, a new technology of minimizing file size became available. It enable the center to serve their documents to public in better condition.
  3. Mr. Muta gave us hands-on exercise of using their database. It was very useful.

[Prepared by Keiko Yokota-Carter.]

Visit to The University of Tokyo Libraries

An overview of The University of Tokyo Library System which consists of 55 libraries, including 3 main libraries on the Hongo, Komaba and Kashiwa campuses was presented. Members of the library staff then conducted a guided tour of the main library on Hongo Campus.

Finally, the university's Multilingual OPAC (search capability in Simplified Chinese and Ping Ying), The University of Tokyo Doctorial Dissertation Database (built-in keyword search in abstract), Book Contents Database (keyword search in tables of contents or information from their summaries and dust jackets) were also introduced during this session.

[Prepared by Eiichi Ito.]

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