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Reference Service

Qualification for Reference Service

The NDL's international reference service is available to overseas institutions of Japanese studies and individuals who study subjects related to Japan.

* For residents of Japan
A resident of Japan requiring a reference service is advised first to consult a nearby public library or a university library. If answers cannot be found at the local library, you can ask them to send your reference to the NDL. The NDL does not accept online requests from people residing in Japan.

Scope of Reference Service

The NDL offers reference services in the following six areas, all related to Japan:

  1. Searching for specific items in the NDL collections
  2. Searching for the location of items held by other institutions
  3. Providing bibliographic data for specific documents, including title, author, date and place of publication, volume no., publisher, or relevant page numbers
  4. Referring to documents on specific topics
  5. Researching simple facts in reference books
  6. Referring to other institutions regarding specific subjects

When providing bibliographic data for specific documents, we try to select documents that are useful for researching a specific subject, but we do not search the content of each document. When researching simple facts, we search the indexes of reference books, but do not search the content of each reference book.

The NDL does not offer reference services in the following areas:

  1. Appraising old books, writings, or works of art, including market prices
  2. Recommending books that are good to read, responding to questions that require guesswork, conjecture, or judgment by the NDL staff, such as predicting the future
  3. Conducting research for school assignments, reports, graduation theses, or finding answers to quizzes
  4. Providing private counseling, legal advice, medical advice, or similar consultations
  5. Interpreting, commenting on, translating, or summarizing books and articles
  6. Conducting research that infringes on individual privacy
  7. Conducting research that requires significant expenditures of time or money
  8. Conducting research on behalf of specific individuals or organizations
  9. Searching for material with no adequate means of searching
  10. Conducting research that interferes with other reference services

Preliminary Search by Requesters

Ask a Librarian

* Please note that we may register your request or inquiry and our reply in the Collaborative Reference Database. It will be edited so that you cannot be identified as the requester.
(Note: Requests must be made in English or in Japanese.)


Log onto the NDL Search and go to your Cart. In your Cart, click the Proceed to the Application for Reference button shown below the cart and make a request. If we could answer in Japanese, please indicate so in the "Questions". We will answer faster than if we translate to English.
Reference services are available to individuals as well as to libraries and other institutions overseas. Patrons living in Japan cannot request reference services via this form.




Reference Section, Public Services Division, Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library, 8-1-3 Seikadai. Seika-cho. Soraku-gun. Kyoto 619-0287 Japan

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