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E1440e – Status of Libraries in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake (As of June 19, 2013)

The original article published in Japanese ( )

Current Awareness-E No.239

20 June, 2013

Status of Libraries in the Aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake

(As of June 19, 2013) 

This report summarizes information on status of libraries in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake between mid-April and mid-June 2013 following past Current Awareness-E reports (see E1422e and others).

●Preserving Records of the Disaster

On May 15, Tohoku Gakuin University  released a digital archive titled “Records of the Great East Japan Earthquake: Remembering 3.11.”

On May 15, Higashimatsushima Library  in Miyagi Prefecture made public stories of disaster experience as well as photos on the Great East Japan Earthquake collected from the residents. These can be browsed through tablet PCs equipped in the library. 

On May 20, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications released “Guidelines for Establishment/Operation of Digital Archive Related to Earthquake Disasters”  on its website.

On May 21, Japan Society of  Civil Engineers  launched a video streaming site through its archive on the Great East Japan Earthquake.  

On May 24, Google announced to expand shooting area for street views within Fukushima Prefecture. Primary target area includes Iidate Village and Minamisoma City, designated as “zone where return is difficult,” “zone where habitation is restricted,” “zone where cancelling of evacuation direction is prepared”  in response to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident .

On June 4, the National Diet Library released two search APIs, one using OpenSearch and another using SRU, for the “NDL Great East Japan Earthquake Archive .” 

At a competition of Prix Ars Electronica, a festival of electronic arts held in Linz, Austria, “The East Japan Earthquake Archive”  and series of activities on disaster big-data received Honorary Mention for Digital Communities Category. The archive was developed by a research team led by Hidenori Watanabe, Associate Professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University 

●Towards Reconstruction

On April 18, Japanese Association of Museums  announced “Recommendation for Reconstruction and Revival of Museums Contributing to Re-Emergence of Restricted Areas   in Fukushima Prefecture.”

On May 7, Library Advancement Foundation  released “Establishment of Action Plan to Support Restoration of Affected Libraries” for the 2012 Research Project on Vitalization of Libraries.

According to an article in Iwate Nippo (岩手日報) published on May 15, Otsuchi Town of Iwate Prefecture established an exploratory committee to discuss development of new facilities for the municipal library that has fully collapsed with tsunami in the Great East Japan Earthquake. The discussion has already begun to take place.

On June 3, number of applications for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s “Urgent Contents Digitizing Project (shortened as “Kindigi”)  was finalized and made public. The project had ended on March 31. The total number of titles came to 64,833. The title lists were also made public.

“Town in Memories Workshop” was held in Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture between June 1 and June 7. The workshop exhibits blank 1/500 restoration model of the disaster damaged regions, which workshop participants and residents color based on their memories to restore the “town in memories.”

●Journal Articles

“Records and Archives (記録と史料),” a journal of the Japan Society of Archives Institutions  published a special issue titled “Rescue of Documents from the Perspective of Local Public Officials” in its latest volume (volume 23, published in March 2013). The newsletter also published in March contained reports on the disaster including “Activities to Rescue Documents in Sendai City Museum  Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.”

“The Great East Japan Earthquake and Libraries: three year after ” by Yoshiyuki Kanematsu  (Library Support Division of the , Kansaikan of NDL) was published in “National Diet Library Monthly Bulletin (国立国会図書館月報)” (Volume 625, April 2013).

“Shimbun Kenkyu (新聞研究)” published a special issue titled “Broadcasting and the Great East Japan Earthquake: Use of Archives and its Challenges” (No.742, May 2013). Included are four articles on disaster archives by Kahoku Shinpo (河北新報) and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation ).

“The Miyagi Archaeology (宮城考古学),” a journal of Archaeological Society of Miyagi Prefecture  published a special issue titled “Records of the Great East Japan Earthquake (2): Towards Reconstruction 2012” as Volume 15 (May 2013). Included are five articles on rescue of cultural properties and activities for disaster reconstruction support.


Written by Research and Information Section
Library Support Division, Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library

Translated by Okada Aya