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Comprehensive Digitization and Discoverability Program: Home

Introducing the New Project

NCC has formed a task force to help transition toward a Comprehensive Digitization and Discoverability Grants Program to replace the Multi-Volume Sets Project. The purpose of this page is to introduce an overview of the new grant program that is in development and obtain feedback on it.



Click on the Pilot Cases tab above for examples of the types of projects that would be eligible to receive funding through this program.

Click here to return to the old MVS page

Goals of the Project

Grant Program Overview



  • Bring to light hidden, academically useful Japan-related materials through digitization
  • Enable more robust use of these items
  • Promote collaboration nationally and internationally
  • Foster training in developing digitization projects
  • Help to build an international infrastructure for digitized Japan-related materials


Criteria for evaluating applications:

  • Demonstrates how digitized materials will benefit the national and international community of Japanese Studies
  • Provides robust and comprehensive plan for digitization, discovery and promotion
  • Ensures open public access to the digitized materials
  • Demonstrates how the resources will be used in Japan-related courses and otherwise engage the next generation of scholars
  • Describes how the digital surrogates will be maintained for long-term availability and discoverability
  • Promotes collaboration across complementary collections at institutions in the US and Japan


Grant application should include:

  • Description of material to be digitized
  • Narrative on value and academic significance of the proposed project (potential use), noting related digital collections and collaborating institutions, if applicable
  • Principal investigators (librarians or scholars partnering with a library) and list of other individuals who will be involved
  • Timeline (tiered funding for one or two-year projects with proof of progress each year)
  • Expected deliverables, including digital surrogates and metadata
  • Technical plan (tools, systems, standards, and technologies employed)
  • Digital preservation and discoverability plan (must be available to anyone worldwide)
  • Outreach and plan for promoting the digitized materials
  • Budget details (such as digitization, metadata creation, promotion costs within a range of approximately $1,000-$15,000). This may include an argument for acquiring material to be digitized.


Supplemental material may include:

  • Any training or internship plans
  • Any extra features of digital projects (e. g., transcription and translation)
  • Any future development plans

Project Background




Since 1992, the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources (NCC) helped to build a national collection of Japanese research materials in the United States through its Multi-Volume Sets Project (MVS)1 with funding provided by the Japan-United States Friendship Commission (JUSFC) and supplemental support from Japan Publications Trading Company, Ltd. (JPT). MVS provided grants for the purchase of expensive multi-volume sets of Japanese language materials, primarily in print, with consideration to each applicant institution’s 1) areas of specialization, 2) research and teaching needs, and readiness to freely share the funded sets locally and nationally.




Funding for MVS was suspended in 2018 so that NCC could update and align its mission to fit the evolving technologies and 21st century needs of the field. 

How You Can Help

How You Can Contribute to the Project:

Make sure to complete a survey for the new Comprehensive Digitization and Discoverability Grants Program by April 15 by clicking the button at the top of this page.


We seek your participation in developing a global collection of Japanese research materials in digital form! If you wish to get involved with this new initiative, please contact any of the Digitization/Discovery Grant Task Force members.




Regan Murphy Kao, Curator, Japanese Collection, Stanford University (Chair)


Toshie Marra, Librarian for Japanese Collection, UC Berkeley


Haruko Nakamura, Librarian for Japanese Studies, Yale University


Setsuko Noguchi, Japanese Studies Librarian, Princeton University 


Tara McGowan, Executive Director, NCC

Project Timeline

NCC’s Future Plan


We anticipate the following steps for implementing the proposed new funding program for digitization/discovery:


2019 Mar-Apr:              

Digitization/Discovery Grant Task Force collects feedback from the community through surveys, etc.
2019 May:                     Collected data is evaluated and recommendation is composed
2019 Jun-Nov:             NCC seeks funding to implement digitization/discovery program
2020:                             New digitization/discovery program begins (if funding is secured)


Imagine the possibilities!

The task force would like to hear your comments on these pilot cases and solicit innovative suggestions for future funding possibilities that meet the criteria listed above. Contact the task force members listed above to discuss your ideas!




(Most of the resources below are referenced in the Pilot Cases tab)

  1. Multi-Volume Sets Project (MVS) website:
  2. Digitized contents are viewable in Princeton University Library’s Catalog at:
  3. Digitized contents are viewable in Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s Digital Collection at:
  4. Contents of 146 volumes are listed in UC Berkeley Library’s catalog record at:; digitized contents are viewable in HathiTrust ( and in ”Japanese Special Collections in the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, University of California, Berkeley” digital projects portal hosted by Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University at:



NCC creates programs and online services to support the research needs of anyone in the field of Japanese Studies and for users with an interest in Japan, anywhere.


The NCC site also provides links to instructional and topical sites related to Japan.


Return to the NCC Homepage

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