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Spring Verdure Issue (May)


A Treasure of Knowledge: Waseda University Library

An evolving library. Partnerships between archive sections.

The Waseda University Library continues to pursue convenience from the perspective of our users. This article introduces the library from the perspectives of “evolution” and “partnerships.”

Evolving library services

Various projects for increasing the convenience of the library

Collection search system WINE (Waseda University Library Catalog)
A tool (OPAC: Online Public Access Catalog) for determining the location of materials (books, magazine, etc.) within Waseda University. In addition to locating materials, it is also possible to directly use electronic materials of Waseda University such as academic dissertations, electronic journals and images of the complete text for ancient/precious books. A computer is all that is needed to perform searches from outside of the university, allowing materials to be used at any time and in any place.

Database of Japanese and Chinese Classics
From 2005, the library's collection of approximately 300,000 ancient and valuable books has been entered into a database. The database enables public viewing of detailed color images for materials in various fields, including 2 National Treasures and 5 Important Cultural Assets.
The database is categorized into the following categories: “Western Studies Collection,” “Edo Literature Collection,” “Shigenobu Okuma Related Materials,” “Tracing Japanese History through Materials,” “Modern Japan and Waseda,” and “Chinese Folk Religion and Art.”

Academic Liaison that actively interacts with users

Tsutomu Suzuki
User Support Section, Waseda University Library

A university library contains a wide variety of academic materials, thus making it fundamentally different from the libraries of elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools, as well as public libraries. Firstly, I hope that students will understand the appeal of a university library. Then, I want to instruct students on methods for searching and using materials. In addition to searching for information, university students should also learn how to interpret the acquired information in order to solve problems. In order to support such learning, one of the major missions of our library is to increase literacy pertaining to library information.

In order to fulfill this mission, the General Viewing Section was changed to the User Support Section in the 2009 academic year. The position of Academic Liaison was also established. The work of an Academic Liaison is not limited to inside of the library. Instead, liaisons work together with each faculty and center in order to actively provide user services. For example, at the Fundamental Practical Exercises lecture for 1st year undergraduate students, liaisons explain how to use the library and services such as electronic journals. As well as supporting the users inside the library, we have enhanced various guidance such as “research NAVI” for users accessing from the internet.

In the future, I believe that it is our duty to create even more opportunities for students to recognize the wonderful resources offered by our library, and then to link that recognition to increased library information literacy.

The library as a link with the world

A link with overseas

Waseda University Repository
A system for the permanent digital storage and public internet display of various intellectual products created by researchers of Waseda University. The materials are displayed to the general public and can be viewed both in Japan and overseas. The system is operated by Waseda University Library.

Agreements with the libraries of foreign universities
The Waseda University Library has conducted agreements with Korea University (Korea), Yale University (America) and Columbia University (America). Materials are shared and personnel are exchanged as part of the agreement.

The Private and Public University Libraries Consortium: Seeking a win-win relationship between libraries and the rapidly increasing number publishers issuing electronic journals

Shoichi Imamura
Assistant Manager, Waseda University Library

In order to implement electronic journals(*1), databases and other electronic-medium material under more favorable conditions, multiple libraries have joined together to form “library consortiums” (hereafter referred to as “consortium”). Consortiums negotiate directly with publishing companies, thus making it possible to conduct contracts under more favorable conditions. Some advantages of such consortium contracts include discounts and lower costs than if negotiation was conducted by each individual library.

Consortiums are formed in response to the problem of an annual increase in the price of academic journals. This annual price increase can reach 10% or more. In order to solve this problem, libraries in Europe, America and other countries have formed consortiums.

In Japan, national universities took the lead in forming consortiums. Then, in 2003, Waseda University joined with 7 other universities to request participation in a consortium by affiliated organizations of Japan Association of Private University Libraries(*2). This consortium formed the basis for today's Private and Public University Libraries Consortium (PULC), which has a membership of private and public universities. Currently, a total of more than 360 private and public universities participate in the consortium, and it has grown into the largest consortium in the world.

Since the initial founding of the PULC, Waseda University has played a central role in the operation of the consortium by serving as an executive organization and bureau.

Furthermore, Waseda University has established an access environment for journals and databases that is in the top-class of domestic universities. This environment contributes greatly to education and research at our university.

*1: Journals containing academic dissertations are normally referred to as “academic journals.” However, in contrast to these printed academic journals, services which provide academic dissertations in an online format are referred to as “electronic journals” or “online journals.”
*2: http://www.jaspul.org/