This week’s interview is with Noriko Ohtaki, a research fellow who is at the Law Library of Congress from March until the end of May. She is at the Library of Congress to learn more about Congress.gov, including how updates are scheduled, metrics, and challenges. Her purpose in studying the U.S. approach for online publication of legal and legislative information is to support the open data strategy and promote publication in Japan.
I moved to Tokyo, the capital of Japan, in 1997 to go to the university. Since then, I have spent most of my time in Tokyo.
What is your academic/professional history?
I earned a master’s degree in history, but what I do now is quite different from my degree.
I’ve worked for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) of the Government of Japan for nine years providing efficient and high-quality public administration.
For the first five years, I was responsible for administrative evaluation and inspection, which is the investigation on how the tasks of each ministry are conducted in terms of necessity, effectiveness, efficiency and other factors.
During the past four years, I have worked on promoting e-Government policy. It is the effort to develop and optimize the use of ICT (information communication technology) at government organizations in order to deliver better service to citizens and prioritize tasks of government organizations.
For example, MIC provides the government portal site “e-Gov” to make it easier for citizens to get government information and access services on the web.
Through e-Gov, citizens can use some online services, search for Japanese laws, see proposed regulations and submit comments on them, and so on.
How would you describe your job to other people?
My team in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications provides searchable Japanese law texts to citizens at “e-Gov.”
Law is one of the most basic and important government information, so I’m proud of doing my job.
And I also enjoy working on a wide range of tasks, such as developing and operating the search system, promoting the use of the search, receiving questions and feedback from users, and finding ways to provide better service.
Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
Providing legislative information contains many difficulties, especially when we are striving to increase usability, agility and accuracy. My team in Japan is always trying to find better ways to provide legislative information.
Here at the Library of Congress, there is a great project to develop and enhance Congress.gov, the new site to provide U.S. legislative information.
I’m sure I have many things to learn from Congress.gov, and hope we can help each other by sharing our experiences.
What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?
Many services units within the Library of Congress, such as the Law Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, and the Office of Strategic Initiatives are collaborating to develop Congress.gov. I think that is the key to its success.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I love traveling. I’m looking forward to visiting many places in the United States.