3. Document search methods

When writing a report or thesis, it must be based on prior research and objective facts, but you must also develop your claim based on a clear basis. A bibliographic search is extremely important to achieve this. It is essential to carefully read through the materials gathered during your bibliographic search, and then investigate them to establish your claim. This introduction focuses on a search for materials in the Japanese language.

Use information in steps!

Types of media

Useful media for writing reports or theses include: (1) books, (2) magazines, (3) newspapers, (4) reference books (dictionaries, encyclopedias, statistical data, handbooks, glossaries), (5) electronic media (online databases, e-journals, Internet information), etc.

Divide up information for use by type

The volume of information and promptness in reporting differ for each of the following types of media. For example, let's say various types of information are being collected to write a report on the exchange rate between the Japanese yen and the US dollar. When you want the most recent, up to date information, you can use the newspaper or Internet. When you want to research about overall patterns and history between the two currencies, books related to the subject would be well-suited. If you want to check long-term fluctuations in the market value, statistical data can be used. When you want to know influence, pros, and cons, review of articles in newspapers and feature of articles in economy magazines can be useful for reference.
By narrowing down exactly what you want to look for, and what type of information you want to obtain just as demonstrated here, and then selecting media based on those criteria, you can skillfully collect the information you need. By further sorting out the information you have obtained, you can then incorporate your own opinions and thoughts into a report.

* Things to note when using information from the Internet

The Internet is an invaluable tool enabling anyone to quickly and easily obtain information. However, it is important to pay close attention to the quality of information you obtain from it. After all, the Internet does have its share of distorted and malicious information.
When obtaining information from the Internet, it is important to always verify the sources. Websites created by university research institutes, social institutions such as government offices, and online databases under contract with universities offer highly-reliable sources, and are good for academic use.

Using information in steps to write a report

Even with access to a wealth of information, it doesn't mean you can always find what you are looking for. By using information media according to each step in the thesis or report creation process, you can skillfully find the references and materials that you need.

During the step to obtain leads on your thesis/report, it is good to develop a rough overview through a summary of the theme/topic, and an understanding of specific terminology. It would be most effective to check newspaper/magazine articles, reference books, etc. at that time. Such research will enable you to develop a specific theme on what you want to write about. Once you have established that theme, think about the perspective in which you want to discuss your topic, and gather information accordingly. The most effective information to gather at this stage would be technical books, monographs, academic magazines/journals, and technical journals. Once you have gathered an ample amount of the information you need, start writing the report.

Step for getting leads - Reference books (dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, etc.) - Online databases (dictionaries, encyclodepias, etc.) Step for increasing your expertise in the subject - Books (technical books, research books, paperbacks, new books, etc. with compact information on each theme) - Magazines (academic magazines, bulletins, technical journals, etc.) - Newspapers

Search for materials

OPAC (materials available at Rikkyo University)

OPAC (our library online public access catalog) allows you to search for information using keywords such as book name, author name, publisher name, etc.
* Instead of just entering a theme, try entering various relevant keywords for an efficient search. This method enables you to find materials related to your theme, so that you can expand the amount of content in your thesis/report.

Rikkyo University OPAC
Computer URL: http://opac.rikkyo.ac.jp/opac/
Mobile device URL: http://www.rikkyo.ac.jp/sp/library/

QR code

Simple Search
To perform a quick search using keywords, select "Simple Search." (*) OPAC offers two main search methods: Simple Search and Advanced Search. Advanced Search allows you to enter various individual search conditions including book name, author name, year of publication, language, etc. By switching tabs, you can also search external databases such as CiNii Articles.

Checking search results

(1) List of search results

A list of documents found that match the search conditions is indicated along with location information. When you want to display details, click the desired material from the list of search results. When searching on-campus materials, you can also display a summary, table of contents, and author affiliation.
You can filter your search results by selecting categories and keywords such as book/magazine material classification or year of publication.

(2) Bibliography details a) For books

The Bibliography Details screen for books displays a summary, table of contents, author affiliation (on-campus only), and data classification title at the top, an indication of where the book is stored at the middle , and bibliography details at the bottom.
The indication of where the book is stored, shown at the middle, includes the following details on the selected book: request memo, location on shelf, volume number, call number, registration number, status, comment, ISBN, and reservation.
For this example, the book searched for is available at the Niiza Library “NDC” and Ikebukuro Library B1F East, under "General B."
* The call number indicates how books are ordered on the shelf (Refer to page 11).
* The registration number is a unique number that every piece of material in the library has.
* A delivery button is displayed, but only for automatic book vault materials searched for at the Ikebukuro Campus and Niiza Library.

b) For magazines


The Bibliography Details screen for magazines displays a summary at the top, an indication of where the magazine is stored in the middle, and bibliography details at the bottom. The indication of where the magazine is stored, shown in the middle of the screen, includes the location on the shelf, volume number, year, and comments.
For this example, the magazine is shown to be stored at the Ikebukuro Library and Niiza Library. When clicking the volume number link for either of the libraries, detailed location information is displayed for the selected material.


Details include: request memo, location on shelf, volume number, year/date of publication, call number, registration number, status, comment, and reservation.
* Bound magazines stored at the Niiza Repository Library can be requested for use at either library.
* A delivery button is displayed, but only for automatic book vault materials searched for at the Ikebukuro Campus and Niiza Library.

- Unbound magazine display (recently published items)

Unbound magazines do not include a call number or registration number. For this example, the magazine searched for is available at the Ikebukuro Library B1F East, under "New Magazines (Japanese)." It is stored as Volume 79 Number 3 (November 2013 issue). * Unbound magazines: Magazines that remain just as when published.

- Bound magazines Display

Bound magazines include a call number and registration number. For this example, the "Ikebukuro Library B2F East 2nd Level, Bound Japanese Magazines" section has a bound magazine with a registration number of 61084436, Volume 76, Issues 1 through 4 (2010-2011) available.
* Bound magazine: Multiple unbound magazines are combined and bound into a large single volume with a hard cover. Often times a fixed period has passed since they were first issued.

Call number

A call number indicates where certain library materials are located. A location column is displayed on the Bibliography Details screen, and the same number shown on the book's back label is shown here. Library books are organized in order by call number, so it is very useful to know when searching for books.
Each call number is made up of three parts as shown below.

Classification number This number follows a certain standard to classify books by subject. To see the subject that each number represents, refer to the
Nippon Decimal Classification (NDC) chart available in the library.
Author mark This mark shows the author's name, affiliated group, and book name in encoded format.
Volume number Usually if there is a series of books available, the number of volumes and years produced are indicated by the volume number.

Searching for materials not available at the Rikkyo University Library
* Yamanote Line Railway Private University Libraries Consortium Search URL http://opac.rikkyo.ac.jp/hybrid/
 This feature enables you to search for materials available at eight private university libraries located along the Yamanote Line Railway.
* CiNii Books URL http://ci.nii.ac.jp/books/
 This feature enables you to search for materials available at various university libraries and research institutes throughout Japan.

Magazine articles

Rikkyo University's OPAC system allows you to check book/magazine availability, but it does not include a function for finding magazine articles or theses. To find articles or theses, you must take the following steps.

(1) Use the Magazine Article Index Database to search for magazine article and thesis information (such as title, magazine name, volume, etc.) (2) Check which magazine the article/thesis you need is published in (3) Use OPAC to check whether or not the magazine you need is available at the Rikkyo University; Library Available - Use the issue you need at the area it is located - View the issue you need on campus in e-journal format; Not available - Check for off-campus availability, and consult with a member of staff at the library Reference counter

Newspaper articles

Using articles published online by newspaper companies is a quick and convenient way to obtain information, but they don't always have what you are looking for. Library contains a collection of newspapers(original paper edition) for a long term.Also, newspaper reports can be searched for by cover layout. Commercials etc. are also a good way to grasp the historical background of a particular article. This section covers how to find newspaper articles using online databases, compact editions, and reprints.

* Using an online database to search

When you don't know the date of publication etc., and you want to perform a comprehensive search, online databases are a useful way to do so, because you can search by keywords. Collection period differs for each newspaper database, so you will have to confirm that before use.

Refer directly to compact editions or reprints

 Our library contains a collection of compact editions and reprints of major newspapers, as well as discontinued newspapers (some are preserved as microfilm). Online databases are an efficient way to search for newspaper articles, but some newspapers have not been converted to database, and some past articles are not available (for example, Nihon Keizai Shimbun articles predating 1980). For these types of articles, you will need to refer to compact editions and reprints.
* Compact edition: A newspaper that has been shrunken smaller than its original size, and printed that way
  Reprint: An accurate copy/reissue of the original newspaper

List of databases

So far we have covered a portion of the general resources available, but there are also databases containing materials for more specific fields of study. To find a database tailored to your theme of research, we recommend that you ask senior students at seminars or research laboratories. In addition, cycling through various tabs available in the Rikkyo University OPAC system enables you to display search results for CiNii Books. CiNii Articles, and JAIRO.

Items featuring an online database mark: With  this mark databases are under contract with the Rikkyo University Library system, and can be used on-campus.Some databases can even be accessed from home using a remote access function via the university intranet.

Rikkyo University Library also holds an online database workshop. Those in attendance will be able to more efficiently utilize our databases. Course dates and information can be found on the library website or posted at the library.

General fields

KIKUZO II Visual (Asahi Shimbun) Alternate text

Search period: 1879 and later
     Clipping images: November 2005 and later

Yomidasu Rekishikan (Yomiuri Shimbun) Alternate text

Search period: 1874 and later
     Clipping images: December 2008 and later

Maisaku (Mainichi Shimbun) Alternate text

Search period: 1872 and later (headlines only)
     1987 and later (all text)

Nikkei Telecom 21 (Nihon Keizai Shimbun) Alternate text

Search period: 1975 and later (headlines only)
     1981 and later (all text)

The Sankei Archives (Sankei Shimbun) Alternate text

Search period: September 1992 and later (Tokyo HQ Version)
     December 1998 and later (Osaka HQ Version)

JapanKnowledge+ Alternate text

A database specializing in encyclopedias and dictionaries. Includes Encyclopedia Nipponica, Encyclopedia of Japan, etc.

KOD Kenkyusha Online Dictionary Alternate text

A database specializing in English language related information. Available materials include: Readers Plus, Kenkyusha New English-Japanese Dictionary, English-Japanese Dictionary of Physics and Chemistry, etc.

CiNii Articles Alternate text

National Institute of Informatics (NII) Database of Academic Papers. Some papers can be viewed in their entirety.

JAIRO Alternate text

URL http://jairo.nii.ac.jp/
This database can be cross-searched for a wealth of academic information stored in a repository of academic institutes throughout Japan

magazineplus Alternate text

A database presented by Nichigai Associates for finding annual association reports and other magazines/theses

Oya Soichi Library's Index Database for Finding Magazine Articles Alternate text

A database presented by Oya Soichi Library, featuring an index database of articles from weekly periodicals, womens' magazines, and other popular magazines

Zassaku Plus Index Database of Magazine Articles Alternate text

A database for finding magazine articles issued in Japan (including former colonies) from the Meji period on

CiNii Books

URL http://ci.nii.ac.jp/books/
A database presented by the National Institute of Informatics (NII), featuring books and magazines available at university libraries throughout Japan

Webcat Plus

URL http://webcatplus.nii.ac.jp/
This database features an association search function for finding publications related to particular themes

Shinsho Map

URL http://shinshomap.info/
This database features an association search function for finding new and select titles

NDL Search

URL http://iss.ndl.go.jp/
A searchable database of digital information from the National Diet Library, public archives, art museums, and academic research institutes

Google Scholar

URL http://scholar.google.co.jp/
A search service for finding academic materials from among various fields and publishers, such as academic publishing companies, technical institutes, and universities

National Diet Library Digital Collections

URL http://dl.ndl.go.jp/
A searchable database of information converted to digital format, collected at the National Diet Library. Available materials include books, magazines, classical documents, historical sound sources, constitutional government materials, and Internet data.

Academic Research Database Repository

URL http://dbr.nii.ac.jp/
A portal site of cross-searchable databases for various academic fields, doctoral dissertations/theses, classical literature, etc.

Research Navi

URL http://rnavi.ndl.go.jp/rnavi/
A database that brings together useful sources of information from specific themes, and materials classified into various groups


URL http://dnavi.ndl.go.jp/
This website was set up by the National Diet Library and features various databases on the Internet from around Japan.


International Research Center for Japanese Studies

URL http://www.nichibun.ac.jp/
This portal site features research data on Japanese culture, including rare books available at Nichibunken, material databases, research support databases, etc.

National Institute of Japanese Literature Database

URL http://www.nijl.ac.jp/pages/database/
This portal site features a wealth of Japanese literature databases, including theses on Japanese literature, a comprehensive database of historical Japanese literature, etc.

The Online Museum of Modern Japanese Literature Alternate text

A database featuring various Japanese works essential to research of modern Japanese literature, including Taiyo, Bungei Kurabu (Meiji edition), and the Daiichi Kotogakko(First High School in Japan's alumni magazine in digital format

Digital Library from the Meiji Era

URL http://kindai.ndl.go.jp/
This database allows users to search for and view materials put into digital format, which have received copyright clearance, including books and magazines published from the Meiji era onward

PsycINFO Alternate text Niiza Campus only

This database features secondary information from the American Psychological Association (APA), such as magazines, books, academic papers, and technical reports

NIER Database

URL http://www.nier.go.jp/database/
A database created by the National Institute for Education Policy Research (NIER)

Social Sciences

LLI Comprehensive Law Information System Alternate text Ikebukoro Library only

A database specifically featuring materials for the study of law, including entire judicial precedent texts, as well as comments, theses, annotations, and articles from major law periodicals


URL http://www.courts.go.jp/
A website featuring precedent information and judiciary statistics. Some precedent information may not be available.

National Archives of Japan: Digital Archives

URL http://www.digital.archives.go.jp/
This service allows users to search for and view materials (records and images) related to historical documents, etc. in the National Archives.

Portal Site for Official Statistics of Japan

URL http://www.e-stat.go.jp/
A portal Site allowing users to search for and use various governmental statistical data

Bank of Japan Statistics

URL http://www.boj.or.jp/statistics/
A website enabling users to acquire useful data for understanding trends in the monetary economy, such as Bank of Japan related statistics and market-related statistics.

Public Opinion Surveys (from the Cabinet Office)

URL http://www8.cao.go.jp/survey/
A website enabling users to view the results of public opinion surveys performed by research officers via interview.
Examples: "Public Survey on Life as a Japanese Citizen," "Public Survey on Foreign Diplomacy"

Natural Sciences


URL http://scienceportal.jp/
A portal site of scientific and technical information, including an introduction to recommended databases, governmental statistics, white paper data, domestic and international trends, etc.


URL http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
A database containing secondary information, such as academic papers on medicine and biology, from the United States National Library of Medicine's National Center for Biotechnology Information. Full text can be read in some cases.


URL http://www.ams.org/mathscinet/
A database of academic documents from the American Mathematical Society. Features academic information on fields of mathematics from around the world.

Nature Asia-Pacific

URL http://www.natureasia.com/ja-jp/
A science information portal site managed by the publisher of Britain's academic periodical "Nature." Includes a lot of current events and interdisciplinary data.

Rikanenpyo Premium Alternate text

An online version of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan's "Rikanenpyo (Chronological Science Tables)" data book (first published in 1925). Covers a wide range of scientific fields, including astronomy, meteorology, physics, chemistry, and biology.

Document search methods - Here is another way to do it!

Using a reference list ;The "daisy chain" search method

Other than using OPAC or databases to search for reading materials, you can also utilize reference lists at the end of books or theses, or cited sources shown as footnotes to search for documents that seem useful as references for your thesis or report. If you find anything that looks even a little useful on the list, go ahead and refer to it. Even if it's not a topic directly related to your thesis or report, you can use the "daisy chain" search method to find documents on fields that might be indirectly related to your topic. By referencing more materials for your thesis or report, you can further enrich the overall content, using description to solidify your claims.
When actually writing your thesis or report, make sure to check the reference lists and cited sources of the books and papers that you read.

Back to Top