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E1781e – What is “Research on Libraries as well as Library and Information Science”?

The original article published in Japanese ( )

Current Awareness-E No.300

17 March, 2016


What is “Research on Libraries
as well as Library and Information Science”?


The National Diet Library (NDL) outsources research on libraries as well as library and information sciences (hereafter “research”) to research institutions. To broadly share the outcomes to the library society, the NDL mainly publishes reports and distributes them to prefectural libraries, municipal libraries in government-designated cities, and national libraries of foreign countries. The NDL works to diffuse the outcomes by hosting briefing sessions at “Library Fair & Forum” and the NDL. Most outcomes are also published in “Current Awareness Portal” (CA Portal) in PDF file, EPUB file, or as text data.

There are two series of reports: “NDL Library Science Series” and “NDL Research Report.”

“NDL Library Science Series” has a long history with the first publication going back to 1960. The most recent issue is No. 40. On the other hand, “NDL Research Report” began to be published in 2003 when Library Support Division, Projects Department, Kansai-kan of the NDL came in charge of research. The most recent issue is No. 15. This article overviews recent research contents with focus on “NDL Research Report.”

NDL Research Report

“NDL Research Report” has been published almost annually since 2003. Following are the titles to date.

 No.1 Overseas Trend of Library Services for Print Disabled in the Digital Environment (2003)
 No.2 Research on Collection and Dissemination of Scientific and Technical Information in the Digital Information Environment (FY2003 Survey Research) (2004)
 No.3 Survey on Training for Librarians Abroad (2004)
 No.4 Research on Collection and Dissemination of Scientific and Technical Information in Digital Information Environment (FY2004 Research) (2005)
 No.5 Survey on Training for Librarians in Japan (2005)
 No.6 The Long-term Accessibility of Packaged Digital Publications (2006)
 No.7 Study on Collection Evaluation (2006)
 No.8 Research on Deterioration of NDL Japanese Book Collection (Published from 1950 through 1999) (FY2005/2006 Research) (2008)
 No.9 Survey on Local Collection (2008)
 No.10 Study on Children’s Information Behavior (2008)
 No.11 Survey on Distribution, Use and Preservation of e-Books (2009)
 No.12 Current Status of National Library of China (2010)
 No.13 The Great East Japan Earthquake and Libraries (2012)
 No.14 Issues and Perspectives on Reference Services in Libraries of Japan (2013)
 No.15 Managing the Process of Service Innovation for Community Revitalization in Public Libraries: Research Report (2014)

The following research were also released recently in forms other than reports.

 “Research on Operation of Digital Archives in Cultural and Academic Institutions” (2010)
 “Research on Services for People with Disabilities in Public Libraries” (2011)
 “Survey on the Trend of Information Behavior and the Awareness of Public Libraries” (2015)

Research themes are chosen broadly to avoid any bias. There is no notable trend in the number of visits to individual page on research in CA Portal. We presume that these research are being referred to evenly.

Early publications frequently focused on contents related to the NDL projects such as collection of scientific and technical information, training, collection evaluation, and preservation. There is a sentence in No. 2 that simply expresses the position of research at the time: “the objective is to clarify a direction on the roles that NDL should play and on cooperation with related institutions.”

Recent researches tend to focus on general library tasks such as services on local collection and e-books, services for people with disabilities, and reference services. This is because the NDL intends to share outcomes of research to the library society, and is a strong reflection of the characteristic of research being conducted as part of the NDL’s library support.

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Libraries

No.13 titled “The Great East Japan Earthquake and Libraries” was a comprehensive collection and organization of information on the Great East Japan Earthquake and libraries. The NDL has emphasized provision of information to support reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and this research is part of the effort.

As a national library, the NDL has the responsibility to conduct comprehensive surveys as well as large scale surveys that other libraries cannot engage in independently. The NDL intends to conduct research that contributes to improving tasks of diverse libraries and to feed back the outcomes to the library society in an understandable way.

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