Current Situation of the JACAR Digital Database and its Future Perspective

JACAR was established in November 2001 with the purpose of creating a platform where historical records are made available for sharing between Japan and other countries, including its neighboring Asian countries.

Since its establishment, JACAR has already placed in the public domain more than 19 million images of historical documents via the internet. Other ongoing activities include the preparation of a total volume of 30 million images to be made available by the end of the fiscal 2012. Other primary undertakings involve ways of improving the quality of our database allowing users to search and review documents with greater ease and precision. Meanwhile, efforts to attract the younger generation as potential users are being made. In brief: (a) new web pages to introduce important historical episodes based on our database have been newly added with the kind cooperation of a famous actress, and promotion posters have also been distributed both in Japan and other countries; (b) new web contents are expected to be created to list up the most important documents on certain historical facts or incidents which are most frequently referred to by users; (c) regular meetings and exchanges of opinion have been held between JACAR and Japanese high school teachers to discuss the ways and means to utilize the JACAR database for school education.

We are currently engaged in a comprehensive review of our past and future activities to know how we should further develop our institution. In this light, identifying the scope of our database coverage is the most important issue. Up until now, we have tried to include all official documents of the Japanese government from the beginning of the Meiji era until the end of the Pacific War. We are now examining whether we should further extend the covered period of our database, and if so, questions are being asked as to how and to what extent. We are also very keen to enrich our database by including images of historical documents now located in many parts of the world.