National Library of Australia to Cut Asia-Related Resources
This page is designed to keep Japan-related scholars in Australia informed of developments to the National Library of Australia’s collection policy which may affect their ability to conduct research locally. Updates will be added as new information becomes available.
June 21, 2020
The Australian published an article featuring an interview with Mayumi Shinozaki, former senior librarian and head of the Japanese collection at the NLA.
Read the article (paywalled)
June 18, 2020
The Lowy Institute’s online bulletin, The Interpreter, published an article by the Hon. James Spiegelman AC, former Chief Justice of NSW and a former Chair of the National Library of Australia.
June 3, 2020
The Sydney Morning Herald published an article citing comments by federal senator Penny Wong.
May 31, 2020
The Canberra Times published an opinion piece by Professor Edward Aspinall (Australian National University), President of the Asian Studies Association of Australia.
May 27, 2020
The Sydney Morning Herald published an opinion piece by Dr Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Professor Emerita of Japanese History at the Australian National University.
May 25, 2020
The Asian Studies Association of Australia president, Professor Edward Aspinall (Australian National University), has lodged a final submission to the National Library of Australia on behalf of members and other concerned signatories.
May 21, 2020
Asian Studies Association of Australia member Professor Jon von Kowallis (UNSW Sydney) created an online petition addressed to the director of the National Library of Australia requesting that the cuts to the Asian Collection be reconsidered.
May 14, 2020
The National Library of Australia (NLA) has recently approved a new policy which shifts the institution’s collecting priorities from “China, Japan, Korea and, within South-East Asia: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia and East Timor” to the substantially decreased remit of “Indonesia, China, and the Pacific (including Timor-Leste)”.
This decision comes despite ongoing advocacy by the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA), which has been actively opposing the changes.
The NLA has offered a short window for comment on the new policy prior to finalisation, and the ASAA is preparing to lodge a submission by the deadline of Friday, May 22. Should you wish to view the draft strategy and add a comment, please email us via the address on this page or contact the ASAA president directly.
January 9, 2020
In late 2019, The National Library of Australia (NLA) announced its intention to close its Asian Reading Rooms and discontinue collecting Asian material (with the exception of material from Indonesia, China and the Pacific Islands). Many Japan-related resources will be affected. More information is available via this Canberra Times article.
In line with this development, the NLA has been reviewing its subscriptions and has decided to cancel numerous services.
Which services will be cut?
20 electronic subscriptions will be cancelled, including:
- Asia Studies Full-Text Online
- Asian & European Business Collection
- JapanKnowledge Library
- Kikuzo II (菊蔵II; Asahi Shimbun database)
- Yomidasu rekishikan (ヨミダス歴史館; Yomiuri online database)
- Zasshi kiji sakuin shūsei dētabēsu (雑誌記事索引集成データベース; Japanese periodicals index)
523 print subscriptions will be cancelled, including 135 Japan-related titles such as:
- Aera (アエラ; business and current affairs magazine)
- Kinema Junpō (キネマ旬報; film magazine)
- Monumenta Nipponica
- Nihon Keizai Shimbun (日本経済新聞; business & finance newspaper)
See the full list of cancelled print subscriptions. Note that electronic subscriptions to some titles may still be available.
The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) has released a statement in response to this news and is in the process of establishing a working party. Please see the ASAA Statement on National Library of Australia for details on how to become involved.
The Japan Foundation, Sydney understands that these changes will affect Japan-related researchers in Australia and aims to keep scholars informed about developments. Subscribe to our J-Studies newsletter for updates.
Japan’s National Diet Library has recently introduced a free subscription service which allows access to its digital archive via registered overseas institutions. University libraries in Australia are eligible to apply.
Local uptake of this service could go some way toward filling the gap as the NLA’s Asian collections are downscaled.
Contact us on (02) 8239 0055 or via
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