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Japanese Digital Resources: 2020 DRC Survey Results

*Currently on Hold* This guide is a directory of digital resources vendors and agents in Japan prepared by the Digital Resources Committee of the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources, the NCC.


In September of 2020 the Digital Resources Committee conducted a survey on digital resource needs among academic librarians in charge of Japanese studies; see the results below:

DRC asks that you take part in this survey, which has two purposes: 

1. We hope to understand current needs for Japanese-studies digital resources in order to set goals for the current term of DRC’s co-chairs (which extends until June 2022). 

2. In addition, we seek input about the possibility of restructuring DRC in the future. As many of you are aware, DRC’s core function has expanded in recent years in response to demand for expertise in and support for metadata and digital scholarship. Due to this growing demand, it has become necessary for DRC to reevaluate its present scope and function with an eye toward serving the Japanese-studies community more effectively. Collaboration among the NCC committees and working groups has become more important than ever, as our activities now overlap in many ways. Hence it is worth considering—for example—the division of DRC into independent committees or working groups according to more narrowly circumscribed responsibilities (for example, subscription-based databases; metadata; digital scholarship). Please include your comments on this in Question 8.

1. Name (last, first)/Institutional affiliation/Job title/Email address:

      31 people responded including 4 DRC members.

2. Does your institution have a digital-scholarship librarian and/or a dedicated specialist to facilitate digital scholarship?

  • Yes: 23
  • No: 6
  • Other (please explain): 2:

-“One person going to start to work for DH from 1st Oct. 2020. We have other project for "Digital Scholarship Center" between 2019-2021. Two person are working to make survey with PhD, PostDoc, and other researchers for whole university.”

-“We have a spatial studies librarian who deals with certain digital scholarship tools, and we have a staff member who helps with Scalar projects.”

3. Do your job responsibilities include digital scholarship and/or work related to digital scholarship?

  • Yes: 13
  • No: 9
  • Other (please explain): 9:

-“collaborating with the DH librarian”

-“I am traditional librarian but I have also responsibility for elder material which are partly digitalized. We (Reference and research section) are recommended to participate DH related courses.”

-“Not established, but involvement may be welcomed.”

-“supporting my faculty and students by providing liaison to the specialists in digital scholarship.”


-“Job description doesn't explicitly mention "digital scholarship," however, I believe it is part of other aspects of my job responsibilities.”

-“Not officially, but we are not prohibited from working on this subject.”

-“No, but I sometimes support scholars trying to obtain resources for their DS projects.  For example, obtaining databases, DVDs or books and maps for scanning.  I also try to negotiate for acquiring some data sets.”

-“It is optional for me. But my work in this area, which I report in my annual reviews, is rewarded and applauded by supervisors.”


4. Considering the different types of support offered by DRC (and other NCC groups) in the past few years, which types are most important for you in your current position? Please select two.

Answer Choices


Open-access archives in English and Japanese (e.g., introducing new and updated databases)



Subscription-based e-resources (e.g., introducing new databases or new subscription options, solving problems through vendor communication)



Metadata (e.g., introducing best practices for e-book cataloging)



Digital data for text-mining, statistical analysis, image-mining, etc. (e.g., discussion of how to acquire data)



Digital-scholarship tools (e.g., presentations and workshops on such tools as Omeka, Gephi, and ArcGIS; see the past workshops convened by NCC)




5. What types of digital-scholarship tools do you feel the need to learn more about? Please select up to three. (Note: Some tools are mentioned in more than one category due to their versatility.)

Answer Choices


GIS tools (e.g., ArcGIS, QGIS, Carto, StoryMaps, HuTime)



Network analysis tools (e.g., Gephi, Palladio, NodeXL)



Image annotation and curation tools (e.g., Omeka, IIIF Curation Platform [CODH])



Optical Character Recognition (OCR) tools ABBYY FineReader, Tesseract, KuroNet, e.Typist)



Text-mining tools (e.g., CTP Text Tools, KH Coder, Voyant)



Data Visualization tools (e.g., Tableau, RAWGraphs)



Transcription tools (e.g., Scripto [for Omeka], KuroNet, KogumaNet, Google Keep)



Content Management Tools (e.g., Scalar, Omeka, Wordpress, StoryMaps)



Personal organization tools (e.g., Tropy, DevonThink [with ABBYY FineReader], Zotero)



Project organization tools (e.g., Trello, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Basecamp)



Crowdsourcing projects and initiatives (e.g. Minna de Honkoku, Ten Thousand Rooms, Japan Disasters Digital Archive)



I am not particularly interested in digital-scholarship tools.



Other (please specify):



* ”Anything, though I don't have be in charge of digital scholarship.”


6. Several NCC groups are planning to offer webinars this fiscal year. What kinds would be particularly useful to you? Please select up to two.

Answer Choices


Information about recent digital-resource and/or digital-scholarship projects (e.g., a presentation on the decision-making process, digital tools, obstacles, etc.)



Information on how to use specific digital tools (e.g., a hands-on workshop in which participants practice using digital tools)



Information on the differences among digital-scholarship tools (e.g., a presentation on how to select software for different digital-scholarship projects)



Other (please specify):



* “Japanese e-books”; “Useful Japanese datasets for doing DS”; “I am interested in keep up with major Dh projects/tools that are being pursued in Japan that will support my users' research interests and needs.”


Note: For Questions 7–9, due to the diversity of responses and to their topical overlap, all responses are sorted according to the topic addressed, and the responses relevant to Questions 7 and 9 are summarized together. Notes of gratitude from the participants—though much appreciated—are excluded from the summaries.

7. What other digital-resource-related assistance do you need? Please describe:

9. If you have any questions and/or comments for DRC, please include them below:

The 25 responses applicable to these questions can be summarized as follows:

  • E-books

-Share information about Japanese e-book and audio-visual products such as Maruzen eBook Library and Kinoden; Japanese media for online teaching and learning.

-Communicate with vendors and publishers about better e-book services (better platforms, price negotiation, addition of more titles).

  • Digital collections

-Share information about Japanese-studies-related digital collections, resources, online exhibits, and how to find and use them effectively. If there is a meta database for such resources, even better.

  • Peer communication

-Share information among peers regarding digital resources.

-Share information about which institutions subscribe to which databases (this will be useful for asking questions).   

-Share information about databases available for subscription and their subscription options.

  • Digital scholarship

-Share information on DS projects in Japanese studies or datasets for Japanese studies, even case studies of the entire process of DS projects.

-Make a list of DS projects available for sharing.

-Assist with data acquisition for DS projects.

-It is also important to keep in mind that digital scholarship is not our primary job.

  • Instruction/workshops

-Organize online workshops or video instructions on popular Japanese-studies e-resources or databases. [Links to existing vendor-produced video instructions have been added on the DRC guide.]

-Tools/methods for OCLC searching by metadata librarians.

  • Tools

-OCR and transcription tools, specifically those for premodern cursive Japanese (kuzushiji); stat-related tools such as Tableau.

  • NDL resources

-Negotiate further with NDL on the requirements for receiving NDL’s Digitized Contents Transmission Service.


8. If you have any suggestions and/or comments regarding the future course of DRC (see Purpose 2 in the introduction), please include them below:

7 relevant responses can be summarized as follows:

-DRC should continue to focus on providing assistance for commercial resources (consortial negotiations; vendor communication). Forming a new group devoted to digital-scholarship issues makes sense, so long as all NCC groups work collaboratively.

-DRC (and NCC more generally) needs to work more on sharing information about digital resources for Japanese studies (open-source resources, archives, databases).

-It is important to note that digital scholarship is not a primary responsibility of Japanese-studies library-resources specialists like us, although we do need to be aware of it. NCC might handle digital-scholarship issues as they arise by creating ad hoc task forces, by inviting in specialists from outside, and/or by establishing links with existing DS organizations.

Questions and Feedback

You can submit your questions and comments via email directly to any DRC member, or use this form if you want to remain anonymous. 

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
Copyright 2017
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