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NCC Historical Projects: JPAC

An Overview of the Japan Project Advisory Committee (JPAC)

The Japan Project (the full name of which is the AAU/ARL/NCC Japan Project) has been part of the Association of Research Libraries' (ARL) Global Resources Program - GRP (recently renamed the Global Resources Network - GRN) for the last several years. In addition to Japan other regional projects of the GRP have focused on Germany, Latin America, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Africa. The individual projects of the GRP developed strategic plans for improving access to global information resources for the various regions (the attached report provides a brief summary of the activities of the Japan Project to date). Original funding for the GRP came from the Mellon Foundation, and with the end of Mellon funding, the GRP moved to Phase II at which time the name change took place. During Phase II individual program are seeking the advice of leading scholars and information experts in each field to suggest new directions for the regional projects.

During the NCC's January 2003 Council Meeting, the Japan Project Advisory Committee (JPAC) was constituted to assist in long-term planning and to propose specific activities that might be undertaken. During the JPAC Committee's initial phase it was headed by John Campbell of the University of Michigan and NCC Chair-elect Toshie Marra, Japanese Studies Librarian at UCLA. The Committee also included leading faculty and librarians. Karl Lo recently retired head of the East Asian Library at UC San Diego (and former interim head of the Library of Congress's Asian Division) and Tokiko Bazzell Japanese Studies Librarian at the University of Hawaii were the librarian members. In addition to John Campbell, Sally Hastings, Professor of History and Purdue University, a current Council Member, and Susan Napier Professor of Literature at the University of Texas, Austin served as the faculty Members. Mary Jackson of ARL, Sachie Noguchi Japanese Studies Bibliographer at the University of Pittsburgh (and current NCC Chair), and NCC Executive Director Victoria Lyon Bestor also served in ex-officio capacities.

JPAC's initial charge was to make recommendations to the NCC on possible projects to consider for future Japan Project initiatives, supported by faculty and student needs for information, particularly of a digital nature. Over the summer of 2003 the committee conducted online discussions, researched new electronic initiatives, and JPAC co-chair John Campbell conducted two surveys of faculty and researchers using several professional electronic mailing lists.

At the NCC's September 2003 Meeting JPAC presented their first report. Based on that report and subsequent discussion the NCC recommended that a new project not be recommended immediately however further research should be undertaken in several areas.

  1. A standing Japan Project Advisory Committee should be created with some change in membership.
  2. Newspapers appear to be the most productive focus for the first new project but the committee should continue to study various new projects and commercial products to see if there are other needs that can be filled by a Japan Project initiative.
  3. The newspaper initiatives undertaken by other GRN projects should be examined.
  4. With regard to Japanese government documents, the committee should continue to study the needs for these resources by scholars in North America with an eye to also evaluating existing services to fulfill such needs. To provide the NCC with further background on these needs the NCC has invited Professor Larry Repeta, a founding member of the Information Clearinghouse Japan, to the January NCC Meeting to be held at the Library of Congress. Professor Repeta will discuss his views on freedom of information, the importance of Japanese government documents, and issues related to access to such information.
  5. And finally the NCC recommended to the GRN that the projects name be shortened to simply the "Japan Project" from the "Japan Journal Access Project" since its activities are now much broader than simply access to journals.

Last updated December 2003

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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