Just as in the United States, digital-library-related efforts are beingpursued by Japanese universities, governmental institutions and industrialorganizations, with strong interactions among these three sectors. In the DIVLarea, industry is much more active, as the area is closely tied to multimediatechnology. The WTEC panelists feel that Japanese researchers and engineers arequite aware of related research and technology efforts underway in the UnitedStates. Largely due to the World Wide Web and exchanges of scholars, gaps inalgorithm software/technology development are narrowing. Japanese industryappears to be quite aggressive in converting technology into marketableproducts. The companies also have a long-term view in many areas of DIVL. Theconcept of kansei computing, which the panel heard about at severalsites, looks at making computing personal, with applications to HCI.

In terms of acquisition of digital content, the United States and Japan areabout even. The Japanese seem to be more willing to subject their rarecollections to repeated digitization than are Americans. However, this is not atechnology-related issue. For years, the Japanese have enjoyed a significantlead in display devices. The panel was impressed with several VR tours builtusing superior display technologies. The impact of this technology on smallportable display devices is debatable.

Published: February 1999; WTECHyper-Librarian