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[ARCHIVED] Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery: Tips for Your Search

Guides to locating and requesting Japanese books and articles held elsewhere, including libraries in Japan.


•    Hebon-shiki, also known as the Modified Hepburn, has been a standard Romanization system in the world. The library databases produced outside of Japan and most of Japanese-English dictionaries use this system. Kunrei-shiki is the main alternative Romanization system, developed from Nippon-shiki. The library databases produced in Japan oftentimes use this system.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU when you search library databases to find bibliographic information?

•    Use Hebon-shiki/Modified Hepburn if the main language of the database is English:
•    Some databases, such as WorldCat, are multilingual and you can search in Japanese.  However, not all bibliographic records are equipped with Japanese.  To make your search successful, try both Japanese and the Modified Hepburn system. 
•    Try different word divisions:

Can you romanize the below with proper word division?

  • 日本史と日本史学 
  • 太平洋戦争への道

If you are not sure how to divide the words, read this romanization table provided by the Library of Congress. HOWEVER, NOT ALL RECORDS FOLLOW A STANDARD. You may need to change the word division.
•    When you search library databases produced in Japan, we would like to recommend to search in Japanese.  However, when you make an ILL/DD request and if the database provides Romanized information in Kunrei style, copy and paste the Romanized information to your ILL/DD request.


•    Example:  A juvenile novel, Toki o kakeru shōjo, written by TSUTSUI Yasutaka, is included in vol. 4 of Tsutsui Yasutaka zenshūThis library catalog record includes the information of volume titles while this record does not. Another record contains the information of vol. 4 only.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU when you search library databases to find bibliographic information for your ILL/DD?

•    This problem is particularly true in the field of literature.  A short story may be included in a book as a chapter, but not many library catalog provide tables of contents.  Also, a novel may be published not only as a monograph, or a paperback, but also included in a multi-volume collection, which may be called 全集 or 選集. The library catalog may not give you sufficient information, such as volume title information.
•     Search catalogs, bibliographies, online databases and references to check if the particular novel is included in a collected work.  You may find that your local library has the novel you are looking for.

Databases You Can Check Table of Contents

Some of the records in these databases provide table of contents.

Contact Info

Helpline for ILL specialists:

GIF Project Registration:

ILL/DD Co-Chairs:
Toshie Marra :

Peter Bae:

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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