Research Data Management – Workshop in Japan

Posted on January 5, 2015 | in Featured, Library | by

In November I was privileged to be invited to Japan by the National Committee for the Promotion of Institutional Repositories, to speak at their meeting being held as part of the annual Library Fair and Forum in Yokohama.  The subject of the workshop was the role of libraries in Research Data Management.

While visiting Japan, I was lucky to be looked after by many wonderful hosts, and was able to have tours of other university libraries.  The first was Tokyo University, where I met the University Librarian (Kousuke Okabe), their Digital Library Manager, and several other senior support staff:

The General Library, which serves students and the faculty of all campuses, has roughly 1.2 million books and 1,144 seats, making it the largest library in the system. The present building was constructed in 1928 with a donation from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. after the old building was completely destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake. A red-carpeted grand stairway, sculpted arches, and other striking accoutrements lend the library a stately atmosphere. From: http://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/about/library.html

Their collections amount to over 9 million books (almost three times as many as the University of Edinburgh!), and at present they are starting to build a new underground automated store which will be about 50 metres deep and will contain 48 kilometres of shelving.  On top of this will be built a new Library Commons.

Following the tour I was taken to the University of Tsukuba by Professor Itsumura, and Ui Ikeuchi (PhD candidate at Graduate School of Library, Information and Media Studies) where we met Dr Mizuki Oka and Dr Kazutsuna Yamaj.  The University of Tsukuba is a campus University, 4km long with four libraries.  We visited the Main Library and met with the Deputy Librarian, and were given a tour by the Help Services Supervisor.  Following this various library staff, along with staff from the Graduate School of Library, Information and Media Studies met to discuss issues relating to repositories, research data management, and open access publishing.

The next day consisted of a meeting with the workshop’s organising committee, including a rehearsal of my presentation. This was particularly important, as the talk was delivered simultaneously in English and Japanese and Keiko Matsuo, my interpreter, needed to make sure she understood the intricacies of some of the library-specific terminology.  This was followed by a meal with the committee members.  They used the meal to announce that two members will be able to attend the IDCC 2015 conference in London, where Research Data Management will be a major topic of the conference.

The following day was the conference itself, held in the Pacifico Yokohama conference facility.  The presentations all centred around themes of Open Access and Research Data Management.  My presentation described the RDM programme at the University of Edinburgh, the systems we use and have developed, and some of the lessons we have learned along the way.  The was followed by a post-conference celebration, including an ‘escape quiz’ and drinking the present of a bottle of Talisker whiskey that I took as a present for the committee.

Overall the experience of visiting Japan and learning about their libraries, research data management, and open access was excellent.  I am very grateful to the committee for inviting me (in particular Yui Nishizono and Shiori Nakamura for helping to arrange the trip), for everyone who hosted me and arranged visits (in particular Hiroshi Itsumura and Ui Ikeuchi who kindly drove me between Tokyo, Tsukuba, and Yokohama) and for the many people I met who made me feel very welcome!

Stuart Lewis, Research & Learning Services

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