Home > Publications > NDL Newsletter > No. 199, April 2015

National Diet Library Newsletter

No. 199, April 2015

International Symposium: Toward creating an information infrastructure for digital cultural resources - Europeana and NDL Search

This article is based on an article in Japanese in NDL Monthly Bulletin No. 649 (April 2015).

The National Diet Library (NDL) held an open symposium on January 22, 2015, aiming at broadly introducing to the Japanese people the purposes and activities of the Europeana which offers seamless search for digital cultural resources in Europe. Mr. Nick POOLE (CEO of the Collections Trust; member of the Executive Board of Europeana) was invited to give a lecture. The symposium also focused on a similar Japanese service NDL Search, and four collaborating organizations with the NDL Search made reports on the current state and issues. In the panel discussion, there was a passionate debate on the future of digital cultural resources. More than 200 people were in attendance.

<<Program of the symposium>>

Part 1: Current situation in Europe

Keynote lecture by Dr. Naoto IKEGAI (University of Tokyo)
Special lecture by Mr. Nick POOLE (CEO of the Collections Trust / member of the Executive Board of Europeana)

Part 2: Current situation in Japan

Report on the NDL search
Case reports by collaborating institutions with the NDL Search
  • Nara Prefectural Library and Information Center
  • Kyoto Prefectural Library and Archives
  • Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
  • National Institute of Informatics (NII)

Part 3: Panel discussion "Acquisition, provision and use of digital cultural resources of the future"

Moderator: Prof. Takashi HARADA (Doshisha University)
Panelists: Mr. Poole, Dr. Ikegai, Dr. Ikki OHMUKAI (NII), Mr. Tsukasa KIMEZAWA (NDL)

Part 1: Current situation in Europe

The Part 1 of the symposium covered the cultural policy in Europe and the outline of Europeana. Dr. Naoto IKEGAI (University of Tokyo) gave a lecture on open data trends and Europeana. Mr. Poole made a presentation titled "Transforming the World with Culture: Introducing Europeana & the Strategic Plan 2020."

Dr. Ikegai pointed out the networked structure as a feature of Europeana and referred to Europeana's efforts for developing the framework for the secondary use of data. He referred to the open data policy in Europe, and the Europeana's new plan to transform itself from a portal for viewing to a platform creating value by promoting the reuse of data. He described the Europeana as the node of cultural institutions and cultural policy frameworks in Europe, and stated that we need to continue to learn from Europeana in developing a grand design for Japanese digital cultural resources.

<<Dr. Ikegai>>

Mr. Poole outlined the Europeana which has a search target of about 36 million digital objects held by MLA (museums, libraries and archives) institutions. Its missions, organization, services, finance, etc. were introduced. He pointed to the necessity of further proceeding with digitization in cooperation with EU leaders and law makers, as well as improving systems to allow easier access to cultural heritage. He stressed the need to create an economic, cultural and educational value, to share the principle among partner institutions, and to provide reliable metadata and high-quality contents. He also listed some issues to be considered: improving the data quality, access opportunity, e.g. API provision and translation function, as well as the copyright clearances support, optimal metadata description, etc. At the conclusion of the presentation, he described the Europeana and NDL Search as a way to make all the value and knowledge created over the past centuries fundamentally relevant or vital to the lives of citizens in the future.

<<Mr. Poole>>

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Part 2: Current situation in Japan

The Part 2 of the symposium started with a report by Mr. Kota OZAWA (Assistant Director, Digital Information Services Division, Digital Information Department, NDL) about the NDL Search, an integrated search service of digital cultural heritage and academic information in Japan. Mr. Ozawa said that the issue of current importance is to expand the collaborating institutions and systems, and introduced the outline of a draft linkage expansion plan to be released in early FY2015.

Reports by four collaborating institutions with the NDL Search followed (some links are only in Japanese):

Mr. Takuya KAWABATA (Nara Prefectural Library and Information Center) talked about the Mahoroba Digital Library which provides the search and browse service of official documents, ancient documents, pictures, maps, etc. of the region. The background of collaboration especially from the technical aspect was introduced. Mr. Kawabata expressed expectations that the NDL Search will enrich the manuals for collaboration and improve the search functions such as label names and button positioning.
Mr. Yukihiro FUKUSIMA (Kyoto Prefectural Library and Archives) described the Hyakugo Archives WEB providing the Toji Hyakugo Monjo, a collection of medieval Japanese documents originally preserved at Toji, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto. He indicated the significance of release under a Creative Commons license and proposed to develop the NDL Search as a national platform to promote the use of digital cultural resources.
Ms. Ritsuko NAKAJIMA (Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)) outlined the J-STAGE, a platform for digital scholarly journals of academic societies and research papers published in Japan, and introduced the collaboration with the NDL Search and other commercial systems. She also told the future plan to extend the scope of target contents, and expressed her expectations that it will increase users of scholarly articles among NDL Search users.
Dr. Ikki OHMUKAI (National Institute of Informatics (NII)) made a presentation on the CiNii Articles, a database service of academic articles, and CiNii Books, a search service of information on books and journals held in university libraries in Japan. While referring to the ongoing data sharing and massive archives development, he raised the importance and necessity for each institution to reconsider its visions and missions.

Part 3: Panel discussion "Acquisition, provision and use of digital cultural resources of the future"

<<From the left: Prof. Harada, Mr. Poole, Dr. Ikegai, Dr. Ohmukai and Mr. Kimezawa>>

In Part 3, there was an active discussion on the theme of acquisition, provision and use of digital cultural resources. Mr. Poole, Dr. Ikegai, Dr. Ohmukai and Mr. Tsukasa KIMEZAWA (Director, Digital Information Services Division, Digital Information Department, NDL) appeared as panelists, and Prof. Takashi HARADA (Doshisha University) served as a moderator.

Discussion included the following topics: how to develop a partnership with aggregators of different fields; various ideas of promoting the secondary use of data, e.g. improving license systems, disseminating the value of secondary use, and API provision; and building collaboration with the private sector.

At the end of the panel discussion, Mr. Poole gave some ideas on important things for the future development of NDL Search: to focus on people over technology, i.e. to build relationships before building systems; to keep in mind that NDL Search needs to have a cultural and educational mission at its heart that is compatible with the culture of Japan; and to think about who you are creating value for, recognizing that it is not just a digital project but creating value for the people and the future generations.

Materials distributed at the symposium and minutes are available in the NDL Search (in Japanese):

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