E2240e – NDL Updates Four Search Services including Minutes of the Diet

The original article published in Japanese ( https://current.ndl.go.jp/e2240 )

Current Awareness-E No.387

12 March, 2020


NDL Updates Four Search Services including Minutes of the Diet

On December 23, 2019, the National Diet Library (NDL) released updated versions of four search services that provide minutes of the National Diet and legal information: Full-text Database System for the Minutes of the Diet (国会会議録検索システム), Database System for the Minutes of the Imperial Diet (帝国議会会議録検索システム), Index Database to Japanese Laws, Regulations and Bills (日本法令索引), and Index Database to Japanese Laws and Regulations in early Meiji Japan (日本法令索引〔明治前期編〕).

The updates aimed for a more user-friendly design. In general, accessibility and usability were enhanced. Screen layouts and user flows were reviewed extensively. To the extent possible, basic functions were standardized across the databases to ensure uniformity: single search box on the top page to search all basic fields, single button to toggle the “Advanced Search” screen on and off, and user flow as “Search > List > Detail.”

Summaries of each service and main improvements made are as follows.

●Full-text Database System for the Minutes of the Diet (国会会議録検索システム)

This database allows search of minutes of the plenary sittings and committee meetings since the first session of the Diet (convoked in May 1947) and browsing of texts as well as paper images. It is developed by the NDL with The House of Representatives and The House of Councilors. Since a release of its pilot version on the web in January 1999, the database has improved its performance and functions including expansion of the scope of collected materials, provision of PDF files, and release of search API.

The update now enables users to search the end part of the minutes (body of the bill, voter names, petitions, memorandum on questions and answers) and the volumes issued as table of contents, index, addendum, or appendix, in addition to the main part of the minutes. The end part of the minutes are still being processed retrospectively and those from the 191st Diet (August 2016) are searchable as of February 2020.

●Database System for the Minutes of the Imperial Diet (帝国議会会議録検索システム)

Database System for the Minutes of the Imperial Diet (帝国議会会議録検索システム) was launched online in July 2005. Verbatim proceedings of the plenary sessions and committee meetings from all terms of the Imperial Diet(1890-1947)can be viewed in PDF. For minutes after the World War II (from the 88th Imperial Diet convoked in September 1945 through the 92nd Imperial Diet convoked in December 1946), proceedings are also included and available for search. This update reviewed the entire design and basic functions so that users can search and view this database with a similar sense as Full-text Database System for the Minutes of the Diet (国会会議録検索システム).

●Index Database to Japanese Laws, Regulations and Bills (日本法令索引) and Index Database to Japanese Laws and Regulations in early Meiji Japan (日本法令索引〔明治前期編〕)

These databases, created by the NDL based on Article 8 of the National Diet Library Law, were launched online in June 2004 and January 2007, respectively. Users can search index information of Japanese national laws and regulations (constitutions, laws, treaties, cabinet orders, ordinances of offices and ministries, rules of legislative, administrative, and judicial institutions, notifications and instructions) as well as proposed legislations (bills and treaties). Laws and regulations prior to the promulgation of The Kobunshiki (Imperial Edict No.1 in Meiji 19) are included in Index Database to Japanese Laws and Regulations in early Meiji Japan (日本法令索引〔明治前期編〕) , and those after are included in Index Database of Japanese Laws, Regulations and Bills (日本法令索引).

In case of Index Database to Japanese Laws, Regulations and Bills (日本法令索引), the update unified six different types of search screen into one. While there used to be a maximum of three types of index information (history of revision and abolition, amended laws and regulations, deliberation process at the Diet and Imperial Diet), it can now be viewed in one screen. Dates of enactment or approval of laws and treaties as well as names of all those who proposed the bills were added as search targets, and users can now look for laws by the date of enactment or for bills proposed by a particular Diet member. Furthermore, links to a website with information on body texts as well as links to minutes of the Diet and the Imperial Diet with information on deliberation process were revised for easier view.

Information that emerge in each process of law-making are collected into Full-text Database System for the Minutes of the Diet (国会会議録検索システム) and Index Database to Japanese Laws, Regulations and Bills (日本法令索引) in sequence. For example, once a bill is proposed to the Diet, the NDL enters the information into Index Database to Japanese Laws, Regulations and Bills (日本法令索引). When a minute is published following reviews and deliberations at the Diet committee meetings or at plenary sessions, texts and images of the minute are entered into Full-text Database System for the Minutes of the Diet (国会会議録検索システム), and relevant parts of deliberation process are entered into Index Database to Japanese Laws, Regulations and Bills (日本法令索引). When the Official Gazette promulgates laws that were passed or regulations developed in association (such as governmental and ministerial orders, ordinances and rules), those information are entered in Index Database to Japanese Laws, Regulations and Bills (日本法令索引). Majority of laws go through this cycle again for revision or abolition, and information of such process are also be entered in Index Database to Japanese Laws, Regulations and Bills (日本法令索引). These databases enable search on these law-making processes from index information on laws and bills as well as from minutes. We hope they will be further utilized for work and research.

Please also refer to an article introducing basic ways to use these systems to be published in “National Diet Library Monthly Bulletin (国立国会図書館月報)” (Vol. 708, April 2020).

Written by Research and Legislative Reference Bureau
Parliamentary Documents and Official Publications Division
Translated by Okada Aya

Ref:
https://kokkai.ndl.go.jp/
https://teikokugikai-i.ndl.go.jp/
https://hourei.ndl.go.jp/
https://dajokan.ndl.go.jp/