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Information Literary Resources: 13. Japanese literature

Lesson Plan Thirteen

13. Japanese literature: Compare and evaluate two electronic full-text databases


Japanese literature - Library Instruction Session


Dawn Lawson and Sumie Ota

Subject of the lesson:

Compare and evaluate two electronic full-text databases of Japanese literature.


Undergraduate Japanese literature majors with advanced knowledge of Japanese, 1st and 2nd year graduate students of Japanese literature.

Learning objectives:

(note: this lesson addresses ACRL Standard 2 3, and 4 and SAILS Skill Sets 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10)

  • Students will learn what issues to consider when searching a bilingual database.
  • Students will select the most appropriate index and search technique for the research problem at hand.
  • Students will search a literature index effectively to locate specific texts.
  • Students will critically compare and evaluate full-text Japanese literature web sites.

Content Outline:

  • Introductory Exercise
  • How to search Japanese text in full-text databases/refining your search/search tips
  • Evaluating/Comparing full-text databases
  • Q&A; wrap-up


Part I:

Brainstorming: with a partner, make a list of the literary works for which you would like to find full text in electronic form. Share with the class.

Part II:

Brief lecture: Instructor demo of Aozora Bunko

  • Author list
  • Title list
  • Internal Google search

Guided searching: Students look for original text of a work by Okamoto Kanoko containing the word 金魚 in the title.

Sharing search results: Students discuss how they found the work

Brief lecture: Instructor demo of Japanese Text Initiative

  • Author list, title list
  • Compound search: keyword search with constraints
  • Proximity searching
  • Important search tips

Guided searching: Students look for title(s) on the list they generated during the brainstorming session. Compound search using proximity searching.

Part III:

Individual work: Use the two databases introduced to answer the following questions.

  1. Compare the two databases' coverage of Yosano Akiko. Which seems to be better and why? Which has biographical information about the poet?
  2. Find the poem 君死にたまふことなかれ. Which database makes this kind of search easier and why?

Share results and evaluations of the databases.

Part IV:

Questions and answers

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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