- The Introduction of Reference Work to Japanese Libraries in Pre-War Period
- No.44, p.1-26
It is often said that reference work started in Japanese libraries after the World War II, so that reference work is “A post-war product”.
But we can indeed find literature in the pre-war period which discussed theories and practices in reference work. There are a few previous studies on the development of reference work in Pre-war Japan. However, they limit their areas of study only to a particular type of libraries as well as to a particular period, and none covers the pre-war development comprehensively. This paper tries to supplement the previous studies by the examination of pre-war literature on reference work and draw the outline of the development of reference work in pre-war Japanese libraries.
The number of articles on reference work, which appeared in Toshokanzasshi (The Library Journal) from 1907 (the first issue) to 1944 (the last issue in pre-war period) does not increase over the years, showing that there was no considerable development of reference work after its introduction to Japanese libraries in the late Meiji Era. However, the close examination of related literature shows some development of theories by pioneers, practices of reference work in eight public and university libraries, and establishment of a class in professional education.
It is concluded that, although reference work did not become a standard library service in pre-war Japanese libraries, some development of theory and steady growth of practice along with the inception of training class show the beginning of real development and diffusion of service.
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