Provision of Bibliographic Data in the NDL: the Development of the Electronic Library Plan

1. Introduction
In step with the development of Internet technology, the National Diet Library (NDL) has improved and extended its provision of bibliographic information on the NDL Online Public Access Catalog (NDL-OPAC) and the corresponding services. It is also becoming important as a digital library to provide services which ensure access to materials themselves (primary information).

In this paper, I will describe the current state of provision of bibliographic information on the NDL-OPAC and, as one of the new trends, the relation between bibliographic information and a digital archive portal that has been developed under the “National Diet Library Digital Library Medium Term Plan for 2004.”

2. Provision of bibliographic information
The former online catalog, Web-OPAC, was first offered through the Internet in 2000 with some two million bibliographic data of Japanese books published since the Meiji era and 200,000 data of Western language books acquired since 1986.

In October 2002, timed with the opening of the Kansai-kan of the NDL, we started to offer the present NDL-OPAC to the public and have significantly extended its coverage of bibliographic information, including 6.5 million bibliographic data in the Japanese Periodicals Index.


Through the NDL-OPAC, users are able not only to view bibliographic information, but also to consult holding information of materials and to request remote copying services. These functions enable users to order photocopies of, for example, articles listed on the Japanese Periodicals Index without visiting the NDL in person.

In addition, we formulated the “Plan for Retrospective Conversion 2002” in 2002 and have promoted a retrospective conversion project with the purpose of encouraging the wide use of the library’s collections. As of March 2006, the total bibliographic data searchable in the NDL-OPAC is 14.9 million.

3. Electronic library projects and the digital archive portal
a. Promotion of electronic library projects
The expanding provision of bibliographic information was kept in step with the “National Diet Library Electronic Library Concept” (formulated in 1998) which aimed to make both primary information and secondary information accessible and available broadly via the Internet.

As for the digitization project to provide primary information, the “Rare Books Image Database” was launched in 2000, followed by the “Digital Library from the Meiji Era” in 2002, on which users are able to search bibliographic data and table of contents of the books published in the Meiji era and view full-text digital images of them.

We announced the “National Diet Library Digital Library Medium Term Plan for 2004” in 2004 as the next action plan. On the basis of the plan, the NDL has been working for creation of a digital archive portal as a navigation tool that gives integral access to digital archives inside and outside the NDL, in addition to promoting construction of digital archives.

b. Digital archive portal and bibliographic information
The digital archive portal aims to enable users to search and access primary information they want, to the utmost extent, out of search results by entering a keyword in one search box without being aware of the presence of other digital archives.

Each NDL electronic library content has been sequentially included in the digital archive portal since 2005. All bibliographic data of the Japanese books and periodicals recorded in the NDL-OPAC and one-year data from the Japanese Periodicals Index were added to the portal, and it has become possible to display search results of the NDL-OPAC on the portal.

In July this year we enhanced the capability of the digital archive portal to give access to primary information by adding the function of linking each search result of bibliographic information of Japanese books to the corresponding material in the “Digital Library from the Meiji Era.”

Furthermore, users can search archives other than the NDL’s by various techniques including a cross-resource search and harvesting of metadata.

In an age when people are relying more on digital information than on paper-form materials as a way of obtaining information, it can be said that the digital archive portal is an attempt to explore information resources in Japan. In this regard, however, the present portal is no more than a prototype whose main goal is to examine necessary techniques such as across-resource search. The issue is how to extend cooperative relationships with other institutions for a full-fledged operation system in future.

With regard to bibliographic information, we are facing issues including how to create bibliographic data (metadata) of networking information resources. The digital library division and the bibliographic division of the NDL have cooperatively carried out examinations on metadata standards.