Site: Kyoto University Library
Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-01 Japan
Date Visited: 26 March 1998
WTEC Attendess: B. Davis-Brown (report author), T. Ager, R. Chellappa, B.Croft, L. Goldberg, R. Larsen, J. Mendel, H. Morishita, R. Reddy, M. Shamos,R.D. Shelton
Kyoto University Library was established in 1889, two years after thefounding of Kyoto University, and now consists of a Central Library as well asover 60 branch libraries. The total holdings comprise approximately 5,500,000volumes, and about 66,600 periodicals. Service at the Central Library is gearedprimarily to undergraduate students while the branches serve the staff andgraduate students of the faculties and research institutes. The Central Librarycollection is arranged by the University Library Classification Table(pre-1982) and the National Diet Library Classification Table (post-1983). Thebranch library collections are organized according to a variety ofclassification schemes. The Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) is availablevia the Internet at http://www.kulib.kyoto-u.ac.jp/. Presently, approximately 700,000 items arerepresented in the OPAC. Plans include having bibliographic data available for1,000,000 items by the year 2000 as well as tables of contents of booksavailable for searching.
The mission of the digital library at Kyoto is similar to the one expressedat Tsukuba University Library. Indeed, both projects are supported by a grantfrom the Ministry of Education. The digital library project at Kyoto Universityis currently called a "vacant bookshelf" as no data are available, but twoprojects are currently planned. The "Encyclopedia of Kyoto University" isconceived as a body of digital material, which will answer any questions aboutKyoto University and its activities. It will cover the historical materialsheld by the University as well as reports of research activities carried out atKyoto University. The second facet of the system is the digital publishingsupport system, which will set up a procedure for producing such reportsonline.
The library has digitized several historical materials over the years andplans to digitize 170 volumes of important cultural properties as well astreasure books, pictures and maps. The research reports will come from thedissertation abstracts of Kyoto University, which number some 800 titlesannually. The digitized materials, the OPAC, the circulation system, andretrieval management functions are all run under KUINS-the Kyoto UniversityIntegrated Information Network System.
Under the earlier guidance of Prof. Makoto Nagao, a prototype digitallibrary system called Ariadne investigated advanced aspects of support forelectronic reading and information retrieval. One of the promising areas was astudy of conducting retrieval based on table of contents information. "Factretrieval function" utilizing natural language processing techniques has beenexplored, as has the topic of user friendly interfaces to large bodies ofdigitized text.
Government funding for the library is similar to that of Tsukuba UniversityLibrary. For the FY 1998 funding was about ¥40 million for database creationand ¥70 million for the rental fee of the digital library system and thecomputer.
Japanese materials produced more than 50 years ago are in a script that mostpeople no longer read. Thus, conversion of large numbers of these materials isdifficult, and it is not known what utility there is to making them available.In terms of digitizing the important cultural properties 500 years of age andolder, it is very difficult to read the text from the image, if it can be readat all.
According to the WTEC panel's hosts, original images are taken in 2,048 x3,072 pixels (Kodak Pro-Photo CD, 16BASE), but with the limitations of thenetwork speed and the resolution of the CRT display, they are currentlydistributing the reduced images (1,024 x 1,536 with JPG compression). However,with the progress of the technology, they plan to distribute more preciseimages with closer resolution to the original images.
There is some feeling that the job of a university library is to collectdata, not to be charged with producing it. The library administratorsacknowledged that there is tension between balancing traditional libraryacquisitions and producing digital collections, especially in light of a 15percent budget cut planned for the next few years.
Science and engineering students and faculty have different needs fordigital information than do those in fields such as history and literature.Current technical information is required from all over the world, and this isan area in particular where the university personnel feel they should collectdigital materials via online journals and database services.
The administrators also acknowledged that there is no national coordinationbetween projects financed by the Ministry of Education and those supported byMITI and the IPA. For example, the idea of the National Diet Library (funded byMITI and IPA) sharing information about its effort to scan 10 million pages ofdocuments with the universities at Tsukuba or Kyoto is not seen as a topic ofmutual interest. Rather, the Japanese government gives similar or identicalthemes to different ministries (and agencies) and lets them compete. In thisway, it is felt that the best output quality of a new technology willresult.
Digital Library = Desktop Library.(Brochure.)
Kurohashi, Sadao and Makoto Nagao. 1997. Digital librarysystem at Kyoto University. Department of Electronics and Communication, KyotoUniversity. Conference Proceedings of ISDL '97.
Kyoto University Bulletin 1996/1997 "KyotoUniversity Libraries."
Outline of the Kyoto University Library,1997/1998. http://www.kulib.kyoto-u.ac.jp.