You are here

Home»English Article

E1780e – What is “Current Awareness”? : Articles from 2011 to 2015

The original article published in Japanese ( )

Current Awareness-E No.300

17 March, 2016


What is “Current Awareness”? : Articles from 2011 to 2015


“Current Awareness” (CA) is a magazine that explains and reviews recent trends and topics on libraries as well as library and information science within Japan and abroad. It was first published as a working document for staff members of the National Diet Library (NDL) in August 1979. Since No. 118 published in June 1989, CA began to be distributed as a publication of Japan Library Association. Today, CA is published in a book form as well as online in CA Portal. Articles released in CA Portal are those after No. 118. Brief history of CA has been summarized in issue No.300 commemorating the 30th anniversary (published in June 2009). No. 301 (published in September 2009) analyzed articles from No. 118 to No. 300 (see CA1695). This paper reviews 130 articles published between 2011 and 2015.

Structure of the Magazine and Forms of Publication

CA consists of three kinds of articles: “General Article” that provides simple explanations of recent hot topics, “Trends Review” that summarizes recent trends of specific fields, and “Review of Research Literature” that reviews academic articles on specific themes. Content of the articles are decided at the editorial meeting that takes place four times a year with intellectuals on libraries as well as library and information science. The first CA was a monthly magazine in size B5, but with the first publication of an e-mail news magazine “Current Awareness-E” (CA-E) in 2002, it has become a quarterly magazine in size A4 since No. 272 (published in June 2002).

Contents and The Most Visited Articles During the Past Five Years

Each online article is given tags that indicate its contents. If we use these tags to look at the contents of articles that were most visited during the past five years, we find “digitization,” “digital archive,” “academic information,” and “circulation of academic information.” University libraries were the type of libraries that appeared most frequently. In terms of countries/regions, Japan and the United States appeared most frequently.

Looking at articles that attracted readers’ attentions from the number of visits to online versions, we find “Trend Review: How Should Libraries Respond to Requests to Copy Using Digital Cameras” (see CA1770), “Trend Review: eBook Service of Public Libraries in Japan – Comparative Analysis of Japan and the United States” (see CA1773), “Trend Review: Trends of Linked Data” (see CA1746), “Reference Management Software” as Service of University Libraries” (see CA1775), “Trend Review: Issues on Digital Textbooks” (see CA1748), and “‘Reading Diaries’ in the Form of a Passbook Enjoy Moderate Boom” (see CA1841). These “Trend Review” and “Review of Research Literature” articles tend to attract more access than “General Article.”

Articles Related to the Great East Japan Earthquake

In the same manner as a news blog “Current Awareness-R” and an email news magazine CA-E, CA also published articles related to the Great East Japan Earthquake. These include “Current Status and Challenges of the Great East Japan Earthquake Archive Activity by Libraries in the Tohoku Region: To Make Use of the Experience of the Disaster for the Future” (see CA1815) and “Trends Review: Libraries Without Borders and its International Call to Action “The Urgency of Reading” (see CA1810). No. 327 to be published in March 2016, five years after the disaster, will be a special issue.

Closing Remarks

Because CA intends to provide background explanations and reviews of specific themes, the authors are diverse. Authors not only include NDL staff but also librarians of other branches, researchers on library and information science, as well as researchers that specialize in other fields.

CA has undergone change in response to respective situations during the 37 years since the first issue. We intend to continue providing articles that are worth reading in a magazine with latest information about libraries, in cooperation with CA series.

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