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Preservation of the National Diet Library's Collections

Formulated on Feb. 27, 2003
Revised on Feb. 22, 2013
(Tentative translation)

The National Diet Library (NDL) has formulated a basic framework for the preservation of library materials that it collects (including digital information, referred to collectively as the NDL Collections) in a document entitled Preservation of National Diet Library Collections as well as preservation cooperation activities with other institutions both in Japan and around the world.

1 Purpose of preservation

The NDL preserves these materials in order to ensure perpetual access to Japan's cultural heritage, which is also an important part of the world's cultural heritage.

2 Collections to be preserved

Priority is given to preserving rare and semi-rare books as well as other materials published in Japan.

3 Preservation methods

Preservation methods are selected with due consideration to extent of deterioration, frequency of use, rarity, and other factors, including maintenance of playback equipment:

  • (1)Take preventive measures based on an understanding of the causes of damage and deterioration.
  • (2)Digitization is now the preferred method for preserving original materials. Microfilm is used only as necessary to fulfill obligations to external organizations.
  • (3)Conservation and restoration are to be undertaken in phases under a master plan, with exact records of which materials were targeted and how they were treated.

4 Measures for preserving materials

  • (1)Preventive measures
    1. Ensure an appropriate environment for long-term preservation.
    2. Ensure appropriate protection against damage from insects or mold for newly accepted materials.
    3. Ensure an appropriate environment for reading and exhibition.
    4. Raise patron awareness of issues related to preventing damage during use.
    5. Take appropriate measures to prevent loss or damage to the NDL Collections.
    6. Monitor the storage of media containing the NDL Collections on a daily basis. When a problem is found, share information within the library to prevent the spread of damage.
    7. Take appropriate measures to protect items in the NDL Collections that are easily lost or damaged.
    8. Recognize the distinctive features of digital information and take appropriate measures for its preservation.
  • (2)Media conversion
    1. Help preserve original materials by converting them to another media for use by patrons.
    2. Handle original materials carefully during conversion and take appropriate measures to restrict access to and preserve the originals after conversion.
    3. Monitor carefully the condition of microforms even after they have been digitized.
  • (3)Conservation and restoration measures
    1. Take conservation and restoration measures as necessary to prevent further damage or deterioration of NDL Collections.
    2. The original shape and style of the library materials should be maintained during restoration. Reversible methods of restoration should be used whenever possible, the restoration process should be thoroughly documented, and priority should be given to preserving the safety and quality of materials used for restoration.
  • (4)Disaster preparedness
    The National Diet Library Disaster Preparedness Guideline (2010) has been implemented in conjunction with the National Diet Library Business Continuity Plan (2012) and the NDL Fire Protection Plan to mitigate damage to the NDL Collections in the event of a fire, earthquake, or other natural disaster.
  • (5)Investigation and research on preservation measures
    The NDL proactively conducts investigations of and research on up-to-date techniques for preserving the materials in its collections, with a particular emphasis of the latest technology for digital preservation.

5 Internal coordination

  • (1)All members of the library staff must be aware of and participate in preservation activities through training and other means of sharing knowledge of and expertise in preservation.
  • (2)Prioritize the use of limited resources in promoting preservation.
  • (3)Review every aspect of library operations with regard to preservation.
  • (4)Train library staff to enhance their professional expertise in preservation and to promote the sharing of knowledge on conservation and restoration. Also, promote continued professional development through exchange programs with other professional from Japan and around the world.

6 Cooperation with other organizations

The NDL promotes cooperation in the field of preservation with other organizations to help ensure both current and future access to cultural heritage in Japan and around the world.

  • (1)Provide information on preservation, promote activities that enhance awareness of and share expertise on conservation and restoration with other libraries and related institutions in Japan. The NDL also participates in international activities as the IFLA/PAC Regional Centre for Asia.
  • (2)Share knowledge and experience in the field of preservation with partners in Japan and around the world as well as promote cooperative relationships with related organizations in Japan and international organizations such as the IFLA. Place special importance on cooperation in the field of disaster preparedness.

7 Implementation and evaluation of preservation measures

The NDL formulates basic plans and implementation plans as necessary for preservation measures. Evaluation of such plans is carried out within the framework of the National Diet Library's Activity Performance Evaluation.

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