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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

The Current State of Diversifying "Library Materials Theory"

Ms. Noriko Taniike
5th Year Student at the School of Letters, Arts and Sciences II (Evening Division)

What is first imagined when the topic of library "materials" is mentioned? The items which first come to mind are probably books, magazines, newspapers, and pamphlets. However, materials other than printed materials are becoming increasingly important for modern libraries. A significant position is now occupied by "package-type material" such as FD, CR-ROM, and DVD, and by "network-type electronic materials" such as online databases, electronic journals, and electronic books.

For example, there are 134 types and 30,000 titles for databases registered as scholastic information at the Waseda University Library. However, while non-printed materials have many advantages, they also present a number of problems. Such problems include the short life-span of electronic materials when compared to paper, the tendency for technology to become obsolete quickly, and the issue of copyrights and security. In the course "Library Materials Theory", students study these types of digital contents in addition to printed materials. Students become able to utilize all library materials through class work and practical exercises.

Incidentally, there are nearly 300 students enrolled in this course, so the Waseda-net portal "Course N@vi" is used. Professor Yukishima provides detailed feedback to questions and comments entered by students on review sheets. Professor Yukishima carefully answers any question that students may have, so it is possible to think freely without focusing excessively on only the textbook or class contents. Also, the most recent current topics such as "library freedom" and copyright issues are included in the course on a timely basis while using news archives. Inclusion of these topics makes the course very interesting.

Of course, the course also includes lectures on the fundamentals of material concepts. These lectures cover the collecting, organization, provision, and storage of materials based on library services, as well as the systems of publication, distribution, and sales. Students also study a wide variety of other topics, such as the history of information media from papyrus to digital archives. I recommend this course not only to students interested in libraries and librarians, but also to students with an interest in information media itself.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)