Reports on Conferences and Publications by Year

March 31, 2014

Publication of Survey and Analysis of the Database of Japanese Collections in the UK and Ireland

Editorial Supervision: Hiroshi Kurushima (NMJH)

Author: Yoshihiro Miki (NMJH)

Publisher: National Museum of Japanese History, National Institutes for the Humanities Inter-University Research Institute Corporation

Publication Date: March 31, 2014


In fall 2013, current approaches for building and providing access to Japan collection databases were surveyed in the UK and Ireland. The report on the survey was published by NIHU in March.

The survey focused on the construction of databases for Japan collection materials, their current status, methods for providing general access to data on the materials, and future planning.  The survey was based mainly on conversations with curators and questionnaires.  Questionnaires were sent to 86 institutions in the UK and Ireland, with responses received from 68.

The high response rate is a reflection of the value placed on Japan collections. Of these institutions, only three had curators with expertise on Japan. As this shows, although there are more than 150 institutions with Japan collections, they are managed for the most part by curators with specializations outside Japan. During conversations, respondents repeatedly stressed the lack of concrete information on their Japanese materials and hoped to improve that situation. It also became clear from curators involved in exhibits and education that they needed different kinds of information. The range of information needed also depended on differences in where and how materials were presented (i.e. differences in scale and locality, museums versus residences, etc.).

Unlike national museums in the capital London, regional museums continue to face cuts in budgets and personnel. As the numerical data showed, there is relatively low awareness of Japan collections at such museums and the construction of databases is a low priority. Hence there was great interest in NIHU's efforts to build Japan collection databases. The report was published simultaneously in Japanese and English and distributed to institutions in the UK and Ireland. The report was also discussed during the seminar later held at Durham University in June.

(Text: Miki)

Survey and Analysis of the Database of Japanese Collections in the UK and Ireland (cover)