Site: University of Tsukuba Library
1-1 Tennodai 1 chome, Tsukuba-shi
Ibaraki-ken 305-8577, Japan
Tel: 0298-53-2347
Fax: 0298-53-6052

Date Visited: 23 March 1998

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



Ms. Akane Mori gave the WTEC panel a tour of the University of TsukubaLibrary on March 23, 1998. She was accompanied by Dr. Ukawa and Mr. Naito. Ahighlight of the visit was enjoying lunch with Leo Esaki, President of theUniversity and a Nobel Prize winner.

The University of Tsukuba was founded in 1973. Its predecessor educationalinstitutions began in 1872 with the Normal School, and its name before 1973 wasthe Tokyo University of Education. The library holdings include 1.9 milliontotal volumes and over 17,000 serial titles. The centralized library systemincludes three branches in addition to the Central Library: The Art andPhysical Education Library, the Medical Library, and the Otsuka campus libraryin Tokyo. Automation of library cataloging and holdings began 20 years ago asdid the university. Currently, 60% of the 1.9 million volumes are catalogedonline.

The library utilizes two computing systems. One system uses what are called"Educational Computer terminals." These are networked to the InformationProcessing Center of the University, which students can use for math andcomputer science problems. Each floor has these as well as the OPAC (OnlinePublic Access Catalog) system terminals for Tsukuba University Librarydigitized Information Public Service (TULIPS). The library classifies materialsusing the Nippon Decimal Classification (NDC) scheme. It is a revised versionof the dewey decimal classification scheme, and the panel was told it is thestandard Japanese cataloging classification system. Universities under theMinistry of Education get their cataloging data from NACSIS, which seems toprovide cooperative bibliographic data to participants much as OCLC does in theUnited States. (See related NACSIS site report.) Books are arranged on shelvesmulti-lingually by subject. Commencement was being held on the day of ourvisit, but the library generally averages 2,000 users per day.

TULIPS is the library's interface for its online offerings. In the PublicAccess Computing System (PACS) Corner, 10 Fujitsu terminals on each floor ofthe library make available Web access, the library catalog, online journals,and 20 CD-ROM titles. Ms. Mori is also providing special terminals forhandicapped and blind library users. While the CD-ROM and online journal titlesare not available off-site, the rest of TULIPS is open to the world. The systemuses Limedio software, which was created for Tsukuba in collaboration withRicoh Corporation.

The nature of collaboration between the university and Ricoh is that "Ricohsupplies an already established technique for a system that works." Ricoh hadcreated Tsukuba's cataloging system before the digital library system. Ricohwas selected by bid for a one-year contract having already held a three-yearcontract with the university. Ricoh also worked with NAIST for three years, andthere developed the full-text digital library system. Ricoh has experience withlarge amounts of full text. At Tsukuba, Ricoh has integrated digital texts withthe OPAC and developed its own search engine.

A prototype video-on-demand system is on the hard drive of a single computerin the library. There is only one video available, which is a film of a studentrobotics contest at the university. The next challenge is to put thisvideo-on-demand function online. The MPEG2 format is used for the video file,and cataloging data are added to a file header. Metadata are generated manuallyat the title level.

For digital conversion of rare materials, the librarians have worked on some100 year old textbooks, which are duplicates of wood block prints on Japanesepaper. The engineering and physics titles that we saw featured an old style ofJapanese lettering that librarians must translate for users. We saw a number ofrare materials in an area that is a new cedar-lined vault that still awaits"curing" so that materials published or printed before 1600 can be storedthere. A four-volume set of a first edition of Emile by Rousseau is themost valuable treasure. Many of the library's rare books have been preservedvia microfiche, and the oldest scroll is dated AD 734.

The Minolta PS 3000 scanner is used in-house to scan bound volumes at 400dpi grayscale. The library house staff creates the TIFF image, and it thenautomatically creates a corresponding GIF image. At the time of scanning, somecataloging and necessary metadata are input for each image.


Ms. Mori prefaced by saying that some options are not yet available in thedigital library as it had just "opened" the previous week. Seven years havebeen spent preparing data. Ms. Mori spoke of the center of the system as theuniversity's LAN. The OPAC is the most important point of the library. Fulltext search in and of itself is not enough information, because the user cannotknow where the material is located. The idea of the OPAC with the digitallibrary must be transformed. Before, there was just a cataloging database. Allcatalogs were put into an OPAC. Users can find only through the OPAC where thebooks are located (through holdings information).

OPAC does full text or index search. For seven years, the librarians havebeen putting data from indexes and abstracts into the OPAC. They can dofull-text search of materials produced in the University of Tsukuba. They hopeto digitize materials they have collected that are rare and unique. As theyprepare more content for the digital library, they plan to scan microfilm tocapture images of rare materials.

Faculty members are able to submit reports to be published digitally via aform in the copyright report that we were given in English translation. Theyare also able to clear issues for copyright through this form. Professors bringtheir books or reports to the library and decide how much of the documents theywish to make available online. Recently, a faculty member submitted textalready in HTML format. The library is considering the adoption of StandardGeneralized Markup Language (SGML) but has not yet. Soon, the university willask for every thesis in the library to be submitted in digital format, and if aproject is supported by the university, the project will be required to be madeavailable electronically. Also, many students from other parts of Asia come tothe university, and apparently they are supposed to pay for copies of theirdissertations. If they are able to submit these publications electronically,they will no longer have to pay for the cost of printing and binding which isan economic hardship for some of them.

Eight hundred titles have been scanned from the rare books collection. Theseare available as CD-ROM products. In terms of staffing, no new dedicated staffhas been added to the digital library project at Tsukuba. The library haschanged portions of its production system and added some part-time help.Librarians have been doing HTML markup for four years.

The library management's vision for the project five years from now is thatof the role of digital library providing information generated at TsukubaUniversity. Other digital libraries are not transmitting original data but aremaking collections. At Tsukuba, librarians feel strongly that they want tocontribute original data. They feel that what they are trying to do at Tsukubais for people all over the world. They want to provide good quality data, andthe type of digital content made available in the next five years will set animportant tone for digital libraries for years to come.

The librarians cited issues of assuring data redundancy, data storage, anddata preservation as concerns. The Ministry of Education supports their workand one third of money received is for content creation. They have not studiedtheir costs in detail at this point, although someone had calculated a cost of•150 per page image, including overhead costs. They stated that for a pageimage only the cost is •40.

In response to a question concerning the use of tools and techniques andresearch on how digital libraries will be used, Ms. Mori reiterated that thegoal at Tsukuba was to provide outgoing information from rare books and resultsof faculty and student work at Tsukuba. In response to the idea that selectionof content is important and that the definition of a digital library impliesremote access, Ms. Mori said that currently there was no such research oncontent selection.

NACSIS, Kyoto University, NAIST and Tsukuba University are members of ajoint committee as they are all funded by the Ministry of Education. The TokyoInstitute of Technology will join them next year to discuss these issues aswell. In terms of funding, it is estimated that there will be governmentfunding of approximately •104 million (which includes rental fees for computersof approximately •69 million).


What Are the Major Issues That Came Out of the Digital LibrariesInitiative?

Raj Reddy detailed other digital library issues under consideration, such ashow to pay for content; scanning from microfilm; intellectual property issues;and electronic reprints for out of print articles.


Steering Committee for the University of Tsukuba Library.1997. Copyright in the University of Tsukuba Digital Library System (atentative translation). December.

Materials Produced in the University of Tsukuba.(Brochure.)

Outline of the University of Tsukuba, 1997-1998.(Brochure.)

TULIPS. March, 1998. (Flyer.)

The University of Tsukuba Library. (Brochure.)

The University of Tsukuba Library System.(Brochure.)

Published: February 1999; WTECHyper-Librarian