Home > Publications > NDL Newsletter > No. 216, February 2018

National Diet Library Newsletter

No. 216, February 2018

The NDL Online and its new services

Reader Services and Collections Department

Contents

1. Introduction

The National Diet Library, Japan (NDL) is pleased to announce the launch on January 5, 2018, of a new system for online searches and requests. The National Diet Library Online Search and Request Service (NDL Online) has replaced the NDL-OPAC, which was in service for six years, from January 2012 to December 2017.

The NDL Online now provides patrons with a means to search for library materials and digital content available at the NDL, including the NDL Digital Collections, e-books, and e-journals. It also enables patrons to request a wide variety of NDL services that were formerly available only via disparate request forms and systems from a single, convenient system.


<<Image 1: Top page (simple search)>>

2. Features of the NDL Online

2.1. Online User Registration

Anyone eighteen years of age or older is eligible to become a registered user of the NDL by registering a valid email address. The following online services are available to online registered users.

* Patrons must obtain a Registration Card to use materials at the NDL. A driver's license or other proof of identity is required. For application procedures, please refer to the 9. Login/Online User Registration.

2.2. Search

While the search function of NDL-OPAC was limited to NDL holdings, the NDL Online enables patrons to search for other electronic resources that are available from the NDL (either through subscription or open-access) and materials digitized by the NDL. The scope of searchable materials has been enlarged through the addition of metadata of the table of contents of materials included in the NDL Digital Collections, and the quantity of retrievable data has been dramatically increased. A major feature of the NDL Online is an integrated search function that now encompasses the NDL Digital Collections and the Research Navi.

<<Table: Materials searchable via the NDL Online (as of January 2018)>>
Publications held by the NDL
Printed materials (books, periodicals, materials on the Allied Occupation of Japan, standard and technical reports, etc.) Approx. 12 million items
Periodicals indexApprox. 12.7 million items
Digital materials including those collected from other institutions
Electronic journalsApprox. 220,000 items
Digitized materials included in the NDL Digital CollectionsApprox. 2.7 million items
Online materials included in the NDL Digital CollectionsApprox. 1 million items
Subject information
Index databaseApprox. 90,000 items

Two types of search function are available: simple search by keywords and advanced search using filters. The simple search permits cross-searching all material types, whereas advanced search permits the use of filters to look for specific types of material. For example, if you are searching for maps, you can filter them by scales.

Keywords are hlighted in yellow in the search result screen. A variety of search filter categories and subcategories are shown in the left margin, including accessibility, type of material, or material format. Results include a link to digital content for material that is available online, which allows patrons to access the NDL Digital Collections and browse the text directly.1


<<Image 2: Search result screen>>

Selecting a material from the search results will display the bibliographic record. After briefly displaying a summary of the bibliographic record at the top of the screen,2 information on the library material is shown below. To the right of each item, a request button is displayed for each available service, such as browsing, lending, or remote photoduplication. At the bottom of the page, a table of contents, summary, abstract, or other detailed information is shown.

2.3. Request

A Shopping Cart function has been newly introduced to the NDL Online to enable patrons to request browsing, lending, remote photoduplication, reference service, or other available services from a single convenient interface.

The Cart screen displays information about the kind of service you requested. The maximum number of requests which could be made and the availability are also shown. The system automatically references information about the number of requests already made, condition of the material, terms of use, and other data to determine whether the patron is allowed to proceed to the request procedure. Application for reference services via libraries, which formerly was only available via a separate system, is now available via the Cart function.3


<<Image 3: Cart>>

The Cart function provides a fast and simple means for requesting a variety of our services available at the NDL.

2.4. Other

Introduced below are other new functions of the NDL Online.

  1. Compatibility with smartphones
    • To serve a wider range of patrons with differing needs, the NDL Online features a responsive design to provide access from smartphones.
  2. English request screen
    • The entire NDL Online, including request screens and FAQs, is available in English.
  3. Simplified individual user registration
    • Online user registration is available for remote services only. Once completed, patrons can request remote photoduplication online.
  4. Article search service for requesting remote photoduplication (Available to individual patrons)
    • Patrons who know which library material the article they wish to have copied is in but do not know which pages the article is on may request this service via the NDL Online to obtain the information necessary for making a request for remote photoduplication.

We recommend using the NDL Search rather than the NDL Online to search the databases and digital contents of libraries, archives, and museums throughout Japan. The National Diet Library Bibliographic Records Service (NDL-Bib), which was also launched on January 5, 2018, provides a search and download service for bibliographic information created by the NDL.4

3. Conclusion

It has not been long since the launch of the NDL Online, and we are keenly interested in hearing feedback from our patrons about the new system. The upcoming March 2018 issue of Reference Service and Bibliography Vol. 79 will feature an article in Japanese about the design concept, functionality, and services of the NDL Online.

Patrons can easily access the NDL Online from the search bar at the top of the NDL website. We hope our patrons will enjoy using the NDL Online at least as much if not more than they did the NDL-OPAC throughout its years of operation.


  1. The National Union Catalog of Braille & Recorded Books in Japan, which was searchable via the NDL-OPAC, is now included in the NDL Search, where integrated search of materials and data are available.
  2. Initially, the minimum information necessary to identify the material is shown. Click the Details link to display additional information.
  3. Previously, inter-site requests for individual users had to be made from the NDL website, but now can be requested from the NDL Online.
  4. Bibliographic information may be downloaded via the NDL Online in TSV or BibTex format.