November 19 (sat.) Invited Speech 1

> 日本語

Kinda Akihiro(President, National Institutes for Humanities)

NIHU’s Project to Promote Resource Sharing

      Digital technology has become both an integral tool and method for the humanities, not least because of the convenience gained from digitalizing resources. In particular, the digitalization of extremely rare documents – especially materials such as old maps that vary in shape and form, making them difficult to view, store, and organize – has proven invaluable for research and education.

      Digital technology has also opened up a wide variety of possibilities for the research process. In my own reconstructive work on ancient Heian-kyo, I manually organized and overlaid findings from historical and archeological materials onto a map. In addition, I was able to determine the old street patterns of Heian-kyo through the morphology of land allotments that remain visible on the surface of the ground and compare the two through traditional methods. But even with similar data, we can develop even more accurate and diverse research through digital technology. Professor Yano’s “Virtual Kyoto” research project is a prime example.
      In addition, digital technology has made it easier to accumulate, search, and make public all kinds of materials, research information, and research results. The National Institutes for Humanities, or NIHU, is an umbrella organization dedicated to implementing effective cooperative research through providing a wealth of materials and information to universities and research institutions both in and outside Japan. It is an inter-university research institute corporation made up of six institutes. Along with pursuing its own individual and joint interests, each research institute conducts projects that encourage comprehensive research consisting of the following: I. inter-institutional research; II. inter-institutional exhibitions; III. research resource sharing; IV. international collaborative research on Japan-related documents and artifacts overseas; V. international collaboration and cooperation in research; and VI. promotion of area studies.
      Digital technology is an indispensible tool for all of the above, but in particular for the sharing of research resources.
      The NIHU system for research resource sharing is composed of an “Integrated Retrieval System” (launched in April 2008) that cross-searches the 118 databases (as of March 2011) maintained by the six research institutes that form NIHU; the “nihu ONE System” (launched in December 2008), which allows researchers to easily create and launch small-scale databases; and a “Spatiotemporal Search System” (launched in September 2010) that provides information groups, such as time periods/eras and geographical locations/names, and software (GT-Map/GT-Time System).
      Furthermore, a two-way unified search system that links PORTA, the Digital Archives portal of the National Diet Library, with NIHU’s Integrated Retrieval System was introduced in July 2010.
      In addition to all of the above, NIHU has established the Study Group on Humanities Information Research Sharing in order to promote the creation of resource-sharing environments linked to academic institutions and scholars in the humanities (Report Collection I, March 2010; II, March 2011; Newsletter, published twice a year).