Suzuki, Hiromune
National Diet Library. Modern Japanese Political Documents Division. Reference Librarian

Digitization of modern Japanese political documents: characteristics of personal papers

The National Diet Library is implementing a plan formulated in 2017 to digitize personal papers from its collection of modern Japanese political documents. We will report on this plan as well as the significance of systematic digitization.

We will present examples of the types and characteristics of documents found in personal papers that have recently been added to the National Diet Library Digital Collection.

Personal papers comprise materials such as letters, diaries, official documents, and photographs. Of these, letters and personal diaries are commonly transcribed in their entirety and published as historical material. In contrast to this, when official documents are transcribed and published, very often only excepts that illustrate a particular viewpoint are used. Since individuals generally record their thoughts and ideas as facts in letters and diaries, these types of documents interest scholars and researchers the most. On the other hand, since the authors of official documents and memos are generally unknown, only a small portion of them are ever transcribed or used in research. Yet the use such documents as primary resources would afford an opportunity to rethink the history and importance of their content, thereby deepening our understanding both of history itself and the individuals related to the documents.

The comprehensive digitization and publication on the Internet of the full corpus of such collections of personal papers can be expected to produce such a valuable effect.

憲政資料デジタル化の現況と計画: 個人文書の「書類」の特質を例として

国立国会図書館は2017 年に策定した「憲政資料デジタル化実施計画」に基づき、個人文書の単位で包括的かつ体系的なデジタル化を開始した。今後の計画とともに、体系的なデジタル化に着手することの意義について報告を行う。