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Information Literary Resources: 6. Correct citations for finding and obtaining Japanese articles

6. Various tools to identifying correct citations for finding and obtaining Japanese articles


Library instruction session


Kris Troost and Haruko Nakamura

Subject of the lesson:This session will introduce various tools to identify correct citations for finding and obtaining Japanese articles. The class will start with a brief overview of major index databases, such as Zasshi Kiji sakuin, Web OYA-bunko, MagazinePlus and NACSIS IR by illustrating the content and use of each database and its advantages and disadvantages. Then we will explore how to request articles through the Inter-Library Loan (ILL) system, if the articles are not available in print or online at the library.

Audience: Graduate students in art history, literature history, and cultural anthropology. (Maximum - 15 students)

Learning Objectives: (Note: this lesson addresses ACRL standards 1-3. Of the SAILS Skill Sets, it addresses Sets 3-9.)

  • How to select appropriate databases to find article citations.
  • How to search selected databases effectively to find articles.
  • How to locate journals in the library.
  • How to identify libraries in North America or Japan that hold journals we do not have.
  • How to request journal articles using the ILL system.
  • How to Romanize Japanese and use proper word divisions.
  • How to know whom to contact when you are stuck.

Content Outline:

  • Introduction
  • Become skilled at using various databases for Japanese articles.
  • Evaluate different databases by sharing search methods, solving problems and using evaluation form in groups.
  • Learn to use effectively the ILL systems in the United States and Japan.
  • How to get help in the library.


Prior to the lesson, students are required to answer a survey on

  • Current research topics and interests
  • Abstract of a paper that they are currently working on.
  • Length of the paper and timeline.
  • Problems they are facing in using databases or conducting research in general.

Instructor will review the survey responses before the session. This survey will help the instructor guide students in selecting databases, effective keywords and search strategies when students use the databases to search for information.

Part I

  • Introduction of various databases using handouts (3 minutes.)
  • Brief demonstrations of the various databases (12 minutes.)1

Part II

Individual work: The surveys previously completed by the students will be returned to them to facilitate their research. Using the databases introduced in Part I, each student will search for citations related to their research topics. Students are encouraged to try identical search methods and index terms in different databases for the sake of comparison. (15 minutes.) 2, 3

Part III

  • Group discussion: Small student groups (2-3 people) will discuss their methods for research and alternative problem-solving methods. (15 minutes)
  • Group discussion: Each group evaluates four databases using the handout. (Handout: Evaluating electronic resources) 4
  • One student from each group presents some of their research methods and directs to the instructor questions collected during individual work or group discussion. (3 minutes = 15 minutes) 5
  • Instructor answers those collected questions. (5-10 minutes)

Part IV

  • Lecture on how to physically find articles.
    • Japanese word division
    • Local OPAC
    • Union catalog in United States (RLIN and Worldcat)
    • Union catalog in Japan (Webcat and NDL)
    • Introduction of ILL system with word division. (10 minutes)
  • Individual student exercise - search physical location of journals and request searched citations in Part II from ILL. (10 minutes) 6

Part IV

  • Discussion of where to get help.
  • Question and answer.
  • Complete evaluation (5 minutes)


1Introduction and demonstration - instructor briefly introduces unique characteristics of each database, focusing on differences. In this section, we also introduce a paper version of a journal index.
2Students are required to work individually in parts II and IV. During these times, the instructor can go around the students' workstations to assist their searches.
3This session will stimulate student database searching because this exercise enables the students to choose their specific subject.
4Group discussion comparing and evaluating different databases will promote critical thinking. The handout for evaluating electronic databases can be a short checklist or table comparing each database by coverage of year and contents, natural language search, and its ability to limit/sort/email search results, etc.
5Asking questions in-group after an initial search will help eliminate superfluous or obvious questions and encourage more sophisticated or interesting questions.
6Because students are using their own research interests or topics for their searches, they are more likely to need the citations found and follow through to request articles from ILL, if the journals are not held in their library.

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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