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E1708e – Workshops on Organization and Preservation of Documents, Photos, and Videos Related to the Great East Japan Earthquake


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Current Awareness-E No.288

10 September, 2015

Workshops on Organization and Preservation of Documents, Photos, and Videos Related to the Great East Japan Earthquake


The National Diet Library (NDL) has released “NDL Great East Japan Earthquake Archive (nickname: Hinagiku)” since March 7, 2013. This portal site allows unified search of records related to the Great East Japan Earthquake, and was established based on “Seven Principles for the Reconstruction Framework” and “Basic Guidelines for Reconstruction in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake.” In order to nationally collect, preserve, and release records of the Great East Japan Earthquake, NDL promotes partnerships between archives managed by other institutions and “Hinagiku” (partnered with 44 archives as of end of July 2015). NDL also provides assistance to archival activities of disaster records.

As part of such effort, NDL has hosted annual workshops on organization and preservation of documents and photos by archive professionals since 2013. Target audience are those engaged in support activities and reconstruction projects in disaster affected regions through volunteer organizations, nonprofit organizations, and public institutions. Organization and preservation of records, photos, and documents that emerge in the process of their activities is important for sharing the experience and to utilizing the know-hows in the future. Workshops aim to help voluntary groups organize and preserve those records, and to contribute to expanding preservation of records on the Great East Japan Earthquake. This article introduces summaries of “Workshop on Organization and Preservation of Documents, Photos, and Videos on the Great East Japan Earthquake: To Utilize the Experience and Know-Hows of Support Activities in Disaster Affected Regions (東日本大震災に関する書類・写真・動画の整理・保存講習会~被災支援活動の経験・ノウハウを活かすために~)” held in 2015.

As a session in 2015, NDL invited lecturers from Sendai Mediatheque (launched “Center for Remembering 3.11”) and Nagaoka City Central Library Historical Archive Section (launched “The Nagaoka Post-Disaster Reconstruction Collection”) to Sendai City Information & Industry Plaza on July 27. Both institutions are partners of “Hinagiku.” 48 people participated in the session.

The first lecture “Collecting, Preserving, and Turning Photos and Movies into Materials at Sendai Mediatheque (せんだいメディアテークにおける写真・動画の収集と保存,そして資料化)” was given by Hisashi Kitano of Sendai Mediatheque Planning and Activities Support Section. Presented were cases of collaborative recording and information transmission by citizens, experts, and staff members at “Center for Remember 3.11.” Along with basic meta-data, recorders and staff members added episodes to transform information into blog articles and exhibition panels. Raw materials become tools that tell stories to others.

The second lecture “Establishing and Sending Out Messages on The Nagaoka Post-Disaster Reconstruction Collection: From Chuetsu Earthquake to the Great East Japan Earthquake (長岡市災害復興文庫の構築と発信-中越大震災から東日本大震災へ-)” was given by Hiroshi Tanaka, head of Historical Archive Section at Nagaoka City Central Library. He discussed the topic of passing on to the next generations experiences and lessons learnt on disaster response. He introduced activities to collect, organize, and preserve materials on evacuation centers established within Nagaoka City at the time of Chuetsu Earthquake and the Great East Japan Earthquake. He also talked about the process of developing “The Nagaoka Post-Disaster Reconstruction Collection.”

The lecture was followed by a workshop “Organization and Preservation of Materials of Evacuation Centers in the Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災避難所資料の整理と保存).” Led by Tanaka, 48 participants in 7 groups experienced cataloging that Nagaoka City Library Historical Archive Section has been working on with volunteers for organizing materials. Replication of materials on evacuation centers were used, including notice for affected people and management documents at its headquarter. Unlike normal publications, these documents often lack basic information necessary for cataloging. Participants catalogued these documents as the lecturer answered questions for each group.

Lectures and workshops were practical, based on the experience of lecturers. Participant survey showed high satisfaction. While the session lasted for three and a half hours including questions and answers, many commented that they wanted to spend more time to hear the discussion.

March 2016 will be the fifth anniversary of the disaster. There are concerns about scattering of records on the Great East Japan Earthquake. NDL intends to support archival activities to further contribute to preserving these records on the Great East Japan Earthquake and passing them on to the next generations.

Please take a look at handouts and videos from past lecture sessions provided at a website within “Hinagiku.”

Written by Kawauchi Akiko
Digital Information Department, Digital Information Distribution Division
Translated by Okada Aya