Murao Yuko
The National Diet Library. Humanities Division. Reference Librarian

How to search for information on the humanities in Japan

This presentation will introduce a variety of tools for utilizing information resources on the Internet as well as some important techniques for conducting research on the humanities in Japan by presenting examples of our reference services offered by the reference librarians who specialize in the humanities at the National Diet Library (NDL).

Although the number of inquiries that cannot be answered using only printed reference books continues to increase, so too does the volume of useful digital information resources available, which makes it crucial to put both to the best use possible. In response to the changing characteristics of both reference services and the information environment, the NDL continues to create tools such as Humanities Links and Search Guides. Tools created by institutions other than the NDL are also important, and this paper presents the salient characteristics of major databases in Japan.

Additionally, this presentation will provide the audience with some points to bear in mind when providing reference services in the humanities, including some prerequisite knowledge for responding to reference queries, selecting tools, or handling Japanese-language materials in the humanities as well as an overview of the major characteristics of the institutions that archive such materials.

I hope that the presentation of real-life examples to illustrate this prerequisite knowledge will help listeners to enhance their understanding of how to choose and utilize tools effectively when responding to reference queries.