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2014-1-6 New Year Greetings for 2014: Steadily Fulfilling Our Mission

Portrait of Mr. Otaki, Librarian of the National Diet Library

Best wishes for a Happy New Year.

Allow me to take this opportunity at the beginning of 2014 to offer my cordial thanks for daily advice from Diet members and cooperation from all of you.

The National Diet Library (NDL) is responsible for providing library services to the National Diet in support of its legislative activities, to the executive and judicial branches of the national government, and to the people of Japan, using our extensive collection of materials and information acquired from a variety of sources in Japan and around the world. During 2012, we reaffirmed our commitment to this mission by announcing our Mission and Objectives 2012–2016 (M&O), which highlights the things we wish to accomplish over the short- and mid-term. In addition, during 2013, we formulated Strategic Goals as concrete milestones leading to our M&O. This year, we will continue to work steadily to achieve these objectives.

Now, I would like to introduce four priority issues on which we will focus this year.

First, in support of legislative activities, we will strive to provide prompt and reliable information on various national-policy targets in response to requests from Diet members. Anticipatory research on both foreign and domestic institutions, policy and legislation, and interdisciplinary research projects will be further bolstered. The NDL will also reinforce the link between the public and the Diet. In collaboration with secretariats of both houses of the Diet, we will enhance our capacity for disseminating information from the Diet about its legislative activities and surveillance of the executive branch.

Second, we will officially launch in January this year transmission service to libraries in Japan of out-of-print digitized items. For the time being, we are providing about 1.31 million of the 1.8 million volumes of materials digitized by the NDL, including books, periodicals, and doctoral dissertations previously available only within the NDL premises. This new service will allow users in Japan to browse and copy these materials at libraries authorized by the NDL.

Additionally, we will launch the transmission of DAISY data of academic literature produced by the NDL for persons with impaired vision or reading disabilities. I hope many users make the most of our service along with the Sapie Library, one of the options provided by Sapie, a membership system providing information for persons with reading disabilities.

Third, we will continue our efforts to acquire free and non-DRM (Digital Rights Management System) publications released on the Internet by the private sector. This acquisition project started in July 2013 based on the NDL Law (amended in 2012), and these publications have been available within our premises since October 2013. This year, we plan to launch a new system through which publishers of digital books and periodicals deposit their publications with the NDL.

In addition, an amendment of Academic Degree Regulations (per an Ordinance of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) in April 2013 enabled the publication of doctoral dissertations through the Internet. Accordingly, we will start collecting and providing these materials as digital contents.

As for paid or DRM-protected online publications, the Legal Deposit System Council, an advisory organ to the Librarian of the NDL, will continue to deliberate the establishment of an acquisition scheme. The establishment of this new scheme will require gradual acceptance by gaining the understanding of publishers and other concerned parties.

Fourth, we will continue our efforts to develop the NDL Great East Japan Earthquake Archive HINAGIKU, released in March last year. This nation-wide project, based on a shared preservation of all kinds of records relating to the earthquake, is designed to make these records available for use in the reconstruction of affected areas, in development of future disaster-prevention and damage-control policies, and in preserving the history of this unprecedented disaster to the future generations. A persistent effort coupled with the understanding and support of concerned parties is required to promote the project before too much time passes and we are faced with scatter and loss of disaster records as well as loss of interest by the public. We will enhance the HINAGIKU contents as well as promote cooperation with related institutions and organizations.

These are our four priorities to tackle during 2014. We will also make a conscientious effort to address each of the many other urgent issues that we face. Among these are initiatives to increase use by the general public and other libraries of our bibliographic data available through the NDL Search and NDL-OPAC, a review of rules for cataloging according to international trends, and an examination of extended secondary uses of bibliographic data and digitized materials held by the NDL.

We at the NDL enter the New Year with renewed determination to further our creative ingenuity in fulfilling the expectations of the public to serve as a keystone to the intellectual and cultural infrastructure of our information society.

Once again, I ask for your continued support and encouragement in the future.

Noritada Otaki, Librarian, National Diet Library

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