These reports, issued year-round, detail the systematic organization of recently studied and surveyed technologies. To date, these publications cover some 58 fields of scientific and technological endeavor. Compiled by seasoned engineers on the front lines of private-sector technological development, these histories of technology are a precious resource, offering a unified perspective on developments in fields that had formerly been scattered and separate. These publications are disseminated to public libraries throughout Japan, including the National Diet Library, and are widely read.
Over a five-year period, from the academic years 1997 to 2001, the National Museum of Nature and Science conducted a study called the Research on the Evaluation, Preservation and Publication of Materials on Industrial Technology.
The aim of this study was to determine where various original materials on the history of industrial technology are housed and the condition they are in, and also to consider how they should be evaluated and published for the purpose of organizing them. The study also made a trial effort at organizing these resources, investigating the whereabouts of materials in 40 fields of technology, and attempting a systematic organization of three fields. The results were published in a five-volume report.
The findings of this study provided the basis for the establishment of the Center of the History of Japanese Industrial Technology. The Center continues the research activities of the original study, evaluating, preserving and publishing materials on the history of industrial technology through a wide range of research activities. The results of a study from the academic years 2002 to 2005 on the whereabouts of various resources were published as a two-disc CD-ROM; later survey results are published in an online database with additional issues reports.
After the “Research on the Evaluation, Preservation and Publication of Materials on Industrial Technology” was completed between the academic years 1997 and 2001, the Center hosted two international symposiums, in the academic years 2001 and 2002. The purpose of these symposiums, entitled “Putting the History of Technology to Work for the Future,” was to learn about efforts in other countries to understand the history of industrial technology. Participants engaged in lively discussions about efforts to pass on knowledge of the history of industrial technology to future generations, not only at museums but also at universities and local government bodies. The proceedings of these symposiums are compiled in two reports, available from the Center of the History of Japanese Industrial Technology.
And additional reports are available from the web page.