Resource: North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources (NCC)

Today we are introducing a site and organization that offers a variety of resources useful to academics, writers, researchers, and various other professionals: the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources (NCC).

From their website:

Founded in 1991, NCC works closely with librarians, faculty, and funding agencies to strengthen Japanese language collections and to promote access to information in all forms and formats. NCC works in partnership with Japanese institutions, leading organizations in North America, and globally throughout the fields of Japanese studies to create and disseminate services.

NCC serves as a vocal advocate for broader access to Japanese information for all users and stands ready to work with librarians, faculty, students, and others to develop new initiatives to meet emerging library and information resource needs to advance Japanese studies scholarship and to benefit understanding internationally.

NCC collaborates with the National Museum of Japanese History, National Institute of Japanese Literature, National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, and National Museum of Ethnology, and is supported by The Japan-US Friendship Commission and The Toshiba International Foundation—its resources therefore have a very wide reach, and NCC resources seek to support all kinds of folks who work with Japanese and within Japanese Studies.

With this in mind, the main navigation of the site is divided into four sections for Researchers, Teachers, Librarians, and JETs, although there is substantial overlap within each category and each section’s subsections have subsections (!). Below I’ll highlight a couple of resources that are particularly useful.

For researchers, educators, and other Japan enthusiasts there is information on museums, libraries, and archives in Japan, North America, and Europe, with the institutions listed alphabetically under each location. Once you click on a particular institution, you can find guides on general information (such as its origins, founding date, and location) as well as specifics on collections held therein, databases available through the organization, and even access information for visitors traveling to use their services:

In addition to site-specific information, the research access section also contains a tab on affiliating with Japanese institutions that includes templates for letters of introduction and library materials request forms, which anyone who has been through the bureaucratic procedures of a library or archive will know is immensely useful. For those unfamiliar with the common terms one might encounter in research settings, there is a glossary with English and Japanese.

NCC’s inclusion of a full curriculum aimed at undergraduates on Japanese research and bibliographic methods is also a significant contribution to online resources related to Japan. Given that few colleges and universities offer this type of instruction anymore and this guide can double as a general introduction for people interested in Japanese language materials regardless of professional track, this is an incredibly helpful portfolio of information. It offers a syllabus, the basics of topics like word processing and dictionaries, classwork and exams, supplemental readings, and much more!

The site also provides information on Japanese institutions that participate in interlibrary loan and document delivery; information on how to conduct searches for Japanese language materials in different databases; a subject guide portal for a wide variety of disciplines (art, literature, history, social sciences, business, and more); protocols for image use for Japanese sources (along with explanations of copyright, templates for making requests in Japanese are included!); a guide to resources for digital scholarship such as online databases and newspapers; information on projects to develop overseas multi-volume set collections in Japanese; and surveys to support their outreach working groups for smaller institutions in need of library resources.

It would be difficult to try to cover in this brief introduction the sheer volume of information available on NCC’s site. Each of the subsections are filled with numerous tabs leading to further resources, guides, and templates that respond to many of the anxieties experienced by people interacting with Japanese scholars, institutions, and businesses. It is a truly amazing volume of information and tools that are exceedingly practical. The one downside of the site is that because there is substantial overlap between the targeted sections and each subsection contains a plethora of information, it can be easy to get lost or, alternatively, discover a gem of information or tools buried somewhere that you wished you had found much more easily. Nevertheless, NCC’s teams have created a truly marvelous collection of guides and resources for the public to use.

In addition to their website, NCC Japan also has a Youtube channel with videos from presentations at various conferences and maintains an active Facebook group (and slightly less active Twitter account). Be sure to spend some time perusing their site and seeing what goodies might be helpful for your own work!

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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