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Resources for Japanese Language Learners: Finding Books 本をさがす

This guide introduces students learning Japanese, at undergrad and graduate level, to resources at the library and online that will help them with their language study.

Japanese Books at Penn

Looking for books in our catalog Franklin can be a little tricky if you haven't yet learned how to romanize the titles to Library of Congress standards. But don't worry - it's not difficult. Molly recommends searching in romanized Japanese once you get the hang of it, because Franklin uses some non-standard characters that make searching in Japanese impossible at times. (For example, you can't search for 江戸 or 目録 but rather need to search "Edo" and "mokuroku"!) If all else fails, try searching for your book in Japanese in WorldCat, which will tell you if Penn owns it. You can copy and paste the romanization from WorldCat into Franklin to find it from there. (And if Penn doesn't display in the WorldCat record for the book, you know we don't own it!)

If you can't find a book in Franklin or it's checked out, please use the services below in the Inter-LIbrary Loan (ILL) box to get ahold of a copy from another library.

The location of each book is listed in its record, so use that to either find it in the library or request it from LIBRA (storage). Most of the time your book will be in East Asia Stacks (Van Pelt) or LIBRA (storage).

Inter-Library Loan (ILL)

If we don't own a book (or other item), or it's checked out from Penn, please use Inter-Library Loan and BorrowDirect+ to request your materials. You can do so directly here. Make sure you fill out all the information you can and only use romaji, not Japanese. The system cannot understand Japanese kana or kanji! The resource you request will come to the library you specify and be held for you at circulation (and you'll receive an email when it arrives.)

When you search BorrowDirect or E-ZBorrow, you'll need to type the book's information into their search systems to request it. It is a separate system from Penn's Franklin catalog.

Using Franklin

Our library catalog, Franklin, has two main components: Catalog (to find books and other media, including databases), and Articles (for finding individual journal articles).

To find Japanese materials, you'll want to click on the Catalog tab because we don't have access to any article PDFs in Japanese. From there, you can search for titles, authors, subjects, and more. If you're not sure what to do, just try a Keyword search. This searches all the information about the books and other resources, so you can combine title words with an author's name, for example, to do a very specific search.

Because of some strange characters in Japanese titles in our system, please use romaji to search if you're not getting the results you expect. For example, 江戸 and 目録 (and even 巻) are not searchable in Japanese in Franklin. Instead, you'd search for "edo", "mokuroku" and "kan" or "maki." When in doubt, send Molly an email and ask for help!

Where Are the Books?

In Franklin, the location of a book is always displayed in the book's record. There are SIX main locations (mostly in Van Pelt Library) where you can find books related to learning Japanese.

  • Van Pelt: These are generally on the 3rd or 5th floor (language/literature (PL) and history (DS), respectively). Books in this area are shelved with other Western-language materials and consist of translations, Western-language scholarship, and textbooks at least half in a Western language.
  • East Asia: The west end of Van Pelt 5th floor, these shelves hold books in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages. The shelves are near the East Asia Seminar Room.
  • East Asia Seminar: Room 526 Van Pelt, holds books that do not circulate (you can't check them out) as well as magazines.
  • East Asia COMICS: Books starting with the COMICS call number are shelved all the way at the end of the East Asia Stacks. Follow the signs from the elevators to find the section! They are separate from the main East Asia Stacks.
  • Fisher Fine Arts Library: Located across from Van Pelt, this library holds books that are either heavily illustrated (like exhibition catalogs or photo books), or contain parallel text in Japanese and a Western language like English or German.
  • LIBRA: Our storage facility, where you can't physically go. You can request the book from LIBRA by clicking "Request" after logging in to your PennKey Library Account, and it will arrive at the library of your choice in about a day.

East Asia Stacks