Site: University of Library and Information Science (ULIS)
1-2 Kasuga, Tsukuba
Ibaraki 305, Japan

Date Visited: 23 March 1998

WTEC Attendess: R. Larsen (report author), R. Chellappa, B. Davis-Brown, J.Mendel, H. Morishita



The point of contact at ULIS was Prof. Takeo Yamamoto, Vice President ofULIS. Prof. Yamamoto was an early pioneer in the development of informationretrieval systems for chemical publications in Japan; his work ultimately ledto the development of the current system in place at NACSIS. Prof. Yamamotointroduced the team to Dr. Masayuki Yoshida, the President of ULIS, and toYukio Fujino, the Vice President and Library Director of ULIS.

ULIS was created in 1979 and admitted its first students in 1980; itspredecessor was in Tokyo and was responsible for library training. ULIScurrently has approximately 700 students. Its 70-member faculty includescomputer scientists (20), information professionals (30 "conventional" libraryscience faculty), and scientific/technical experts (20) in the informatics ofapplication areas, or the study of content-oriented systems. ULIS was presentedas having a strong tradition of conventional library science in thefaculty.

Approximately 160 new freshman, 30 additional undergraduate transferstudents, and 16 new masters students are admitted to ULIS each year. ULIS istrying to develop a doctorate-level program. Other Japanese universitiesworking in this area include Keio and Aichi Shukotoken, which offer doctorateprograms in Library Information Science (LIS), but these programs are offeredout of humanities and literature departments. Tokyo University has only oneprofessor in this area, and Kyoto University only has one associate professorworking in LIS. Japan currently has no "genuine" doctorate LIS program.

ULIS has greater focus on LIS specifically and the largest organizedfaculty/student body in this area. The one-year program focuses on core culturecoursework. Then the program bifurcates into information processing(systems-oriented) or information management (conventional libraryscience).

ULIS has 6 formal research groups composed of 10 faculty each, plus 3centers (P.E./Health Care; Foreign Language, Information Processing). Prof.Tabata is the director of the Information Processing Center. This is reportedlythe only national university that has only one department. Actual researchteams are put together as crosscuts on the 6 research groups.

Profs. Tabata, Sugimoto, Sakaguchi were present to describe their digitallibrary work.

Prof. Tabata received his education at Kyoto University with Takeo Kanade ofCMU; he developed an early multimedia network in 1973, while a graduatestudent. The network operated at 1 Mb/s and was used to link PCs together overa network. Prof. Tabata has also done work in voice recognition. He came toULIS in 1982, working on concurrent LISP and, later, digital libraries. He iscurrently widely engaged in digital library developments throughout Asia.

Prof. Masunaga conducts research on object-oriented database systems.

Prof. Ishizuka was in attendance from the National Institute for JapaneseLiterature, representing ULIS research on information retrieval. He has donework on SGML with Japanese chemistry publishers and was subsequently involvedwith XML.

ULIS students started a student Web site in the fall of 1993. They taughtthemselves, and then reportedly went on to teach the faculty. ULIS hasreportedly always been heavily involved in networking.

Profs. Ishikawa and Harada are involved with the Ariadne project (Prof.Nagao's digital library project) at Kyoto University.

Other faculty are involved in the sociological aspects of digital libraries:Prof. Sekiguchi (education), Prof. Matsumura (policy), and Prof. Matsui(history).


ULIS faculty members reported that their current research involves smallamounts of data, perhaps appropriate for a testbed, but not representative of alibrary. Their objective is less that of creating the data than of providingservices around the data, to get it into the hands of people. They view digitallibraries as the back-end function to more user-oriented front-ends.

Critical issues cited include contracting, funding, charging (e.g.,pay-per-view, microcharges), privacy, and security. WTEC's hosts noted thatconventional libraries routinely deal with these issues for physical media forlocal users (those physically in the library). Digital library services,however, are not limited to local users. In fact, digital libraries turn thetraditional views of libraries inside out. Whereas a traditional library bringsthe world of information to local users, digital libraries bring local (e.g.,university) information to a global constituency.

Challenges noted included charging for service and output quality(resolution, dealing effectively with a large number of open documents,physical size and scope of display).

Why Digital Libraries? Prof. Ishikawa stated that he was particularlyinterested in building a desktop library (with all the incumbent issues ofnetwork speed, size of displays, multiple windowing, convenience of operation,navigation, and the need for digital reference librarians).

Prof. Yamanoto expressed the opinion that the economic success of digitallibraries will depend on appropriate involvement of and engagement with theentertainment industry.

Prof. Tabata is working on multilingual HTML (MHTML) for multilingualdisplay of correct fonts without the user needing to explicitly load foreignlanguage fonts. The approach is currently user driven, in terms of identifyingthe language to be displayed. Prof. Tabata's group also has interest inmultilingual information retrieval and is beginning some work in this area.

Prof. Ishizuka is heavily involved in SGML developments in Japan,particularly in working with Japanese scholarly publishers on the electronicdelivery of SGML publications to digital libraries. This work appears toparallel work in the United States at UIUC, but Prof. Ishizuka noted that asignificant difference was that Japanese publishers were behind their U.S.counterparts in the deployment of SGML, making it potentially easier to workwith them towards a common interpretation.


Four demonstration systems were shown to the WTEC team:

  1. Iconic query formulation for search of children's literature in theNational Diet Library. The demonstration system currently supports about 100terms through iconic representations (people, places and things) and enables achild user to construct a multi-term query into the collection. Thedemonstration system included bibliographic citations for approximately 300books. At least some of the books were recorded. Selecting their bibliographicrecord brought up a playback control window of a reading of the book. Multiplelanguage support was also present.
  2. The Java-based MHTML browser for font mapping.
  3. A prototype multilingual retrieval system using the Open Text search enginefor constructing foreign language queries.
  4. Concurrent display of full translations (manually generated) of children'sstories in multiple languages (selected from French, Japanese, English, andSpanish) as a language training aid for children.


Dartois, Myriam, et al. 1997. Building a multilingualelectronic text collection of folk tales as a set of encapsulated documentobjects: an approach for casual users to browse multilingual documents on thefly. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 1324, Research and Advanced Technologyfor Digital Libraries. In Proceedings of the First European Conference,ECDL'97. Pisa, Italy, September.

Dartois, Myriam. 1997. A multilingual electronic textcollection of folk tales for casual users using off-the-shelf browsers. D-Lib Magazine. October.

Electronic Library Research Group and Fujitsu. 1994.Ariadne, an Electronic Library. 1994. Sept.

Hasebe, Kigen, et al. 1995. An information retrievalsystem on Internet for languages without obvious word delimiters. ISDL'95.

Kawate, Futoshi and Tetsuya Ishikawa. 1997. A mutualreference retrieval system for Japan/China-MARC using NDC and CLC. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Terminology,Standardization, and Technology Transfer (TSTT'97). Beijing, China.August.

Masunaga, Yoshifumi. 1997. A unified approach torepresentation, synchronization and storage of temporal multimedia objectsbased on time interval logic. In Proceedings of the Fifth InternationalConference on Database Systems for Advanced Applications (DASFAA'97).Melbourne, Australia. April.

Masunaga, Yoshifumi. 1998. The block-world data model fora collaborative virtual environment. Second International Conference onWorldwide Computing and Its Applications-WWCA'98. Tsukuba, Japan.March.

Outline of the University of Library andInformation Science, July 1997. (Brochure.)

Proceedings of International Symposium onDigital Libraries 1995. 1995. Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan, August 22-25, 1995.

Proceedings of International Symposium onResearch, Development and Practice in Digital Libraries 1997 (ISDL '97). 1997.Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. November 18-21.

Professor Masunaga's profile, 3/17/98.

Sakaguchi, Tetsuo, et al. 1996. A browsing tool formulti-lingual documents for users without multi-lingual fonts. DigitalLibraries '96 Proceedings. Bethesda, Maryland. April.

Sekiguchi, Von Reiko. 1998. Wandel der Bildungspraktikenin der Informationsgesellschaft am Beispiel Japans. Symposium zum Thema Medien formen kulturelle Praktiken-kulturelle Praktiken formen Medien.Hamburg, Germany. March.

Sugimoto, Shigeo, et al. 1995. Enhancing usability ofnetwork-based library information system-Experimental studies of a userinterface for OPAC and of a collaboration tool for library services. DigitalLibraries '95 Proceedings. June.

Sugimoto, Shigeo, et al. 1997. Experimental studies onsoftware tools to enhance accessibility to information in digital libraries.Journal of Network and Computer Applications. 20: 25-43.

University of Library and Information Science InformationProcessing Center, June 1996.

Yamamoto, Takeo. 1997. Conditions for viable scholarlyelectronic journals: The role of digital libraries. ISDL'97.

Notes distributed to team members:

Ishizuka, Hidehiro. 1998. Commitments in software CALS:One of the Japanese CALS projects. March 23.

Ishizuka, Hidehiro. 1998. SGML-based electronic publishingfor academic journals in Japan. March 23.

Sample experimental service Web page from the Bulletinof the Chemical Society of Japan.

Tabata, Koichi, et al. 1998. Social activities andresearch activities on digital libraries. March 23.

Yamada, Yasunori, et al. 1998. Electronic transitions ofternary copper (II) naphthalenediolate complexes. Bulletin of the ChemicalSociety of Japan. Vol. 71, No. 2: 305-313. Sample of experimentalpublication of the Chemical Society of Japan.

Yamanoto, Takeo. 1998. Introducing ULIS faculty toITRI/WTEC mission. March 23.

Published: February 1999; WTECHyper-Librarian