Multi-Volume Sets Japanese Library Resource Acquisition Financial Support

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Call for Applications: 2014-15 Multi-Volume Set Grants for Japanese Library Collections


Save yourself time and work, submit titles for MVS Pre-screening


MVS Prescreening Deadline: November 1, 2014


Prescreening Process:  After completing the required full bibliographic search, applicants may submit titles for pre-screening by the MVS Committee. MVS will then conduct an extensive search of sets not yet cataloged, to double-check the uniqueness of submitted titles. While prescreening is not required for MVS applications, it helps prevent submission of multiple applications for the same title, and institutions that complete the prescreening process have priority over other institutions that may apply for the same title without prescreening.


Please use NCC’s downloadable online template to submit titles for prescreening, emailing their titles to MVS co-chair Daniel McKee by November 1, 2014.


Please note that an application for prescreening is NOT an MVS grant application.

A final application, with supporting letters, is required to receive an MVS grant.


MVS Final Application Deadline: January 9, 2015

MVS Grant Notification: March 1, 2015


Background to MVS: The NCC Multi-Volume Sets Grants Project (MVS) was created to cooperatively develop a national collection of unique and expensive Japanese research materials, held by institutions of all size and in all regions, circulating throughout the United States. Funded since 1992 by the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, MVS receives supplemental support from Japan Publications Trading Company, Ltd. (JPT), which manages the program in Japan. The MVS Collection is currently held in 36 public and private institutions in all parts of the US containing over 43,000 items. 

MVS makes grants for the purchase of expensive multi-volume sets of Japanese language materials (those costing more than ¥100,000 per set). The MVS committee considers each applicant institution's 1) areas of specialization, unique character, andcollection development traditions; 2) research, teaching and documented patron demand for the requested sets; and 3) readiness to freely share the funded sets locally and nationally. Special consideration is given as follows:

"Smaller Collection Grants:" are available to those institutions with a Japanese materials acquisitions budget of less than $10,000 per year. Such institutions may receive up to 80% of the purchase price for sets needed for research and undergraduate education on Japan. All the shipping and handling costs for small institutions are also fully covered by MVS. That means that a small institution can receive an MVS grant for as little as $200 in cost sharing from their home institution.  MVS allocates up to 40% of each year’s funds to qualified small collections.

Standard MVS Grants:” The majority of MVS grants are received by institutions building significant Japanese collections affording them the opportunity to purchase very expensive sets that would not otherwise fit within acquisitions budgets.  To help ensure that sets are not likely to be purchased by other institutions a 2-year waiting period following publication is imposed.  Applicants in this category are institutions with annual Japanese language acquisitions budgets of more than $10,000. Those institutions may receive 75% of the purchase cost of sets for which no others circulate in the US, or 50% for those which have only one circulating copy in the US. All shipping and handling costs must be covered by the institution in this category.


Other Ways to Thinkabout Applying for MVS:

"Faculty applicants:" Faculty members at institutions without Japanese studies librarians may submit an application on behalf of their library provided that they meet all criteria for MVS Applications.  Whenever possible the MVS committee will assist such faculty applicants in verifying holdings and by offering pre-screening advice. 

"Joint applications:" Multiple institutions may submit a joint application for very expensive titles. Joint applications are especially encouraged for acquisition of sets costing 5,000,000 yen or more, and will, within the constraints of MVS funds, be given somewhat higher priority for support.  MVS may fund up to 25% of the purchase cost for such very expensive sets.

Large sets published over time:” Many large Japanese sets are published over a period of years and released in sections (often called ki or yunitto).  Portions of such sets qualify for MVS applications if the applying institution commits to the purchase of subsequent sections of the set as they become available.  While the MVS committee makes no commitment to support reapplications for further sections of said sets, when possible favorable consideration will be made to such applications.

"Thematic collections:" With the expansion of MVS to include small collections it has become apparent that many small institutions also need supporting reference materials for use by their students.  The acquisition of such materials used to be covered by Japan Foundation’s Library Support Grants that are no longer available.  MVS will consider applications for a small number of MVS thematic collections to support smaller collections, as well as projects by faculty and graduate students that constitute emerging areas of scholarship in the field. An MVS thematic collection is defined as a combination that includes at least one eligible Multi-Volume Set, and may also include related individually published titles, and related reference works that supports specific research and teaching purposes.  Funding for thematic collections may be made with a combination of support from JUSFC and JPT. Institutions considering this option should discuss the suitability of their proposal in advance with the MVS librarian co-chair Dan McKee who will confer with MVS faculty members, and relevant scholars in the field, as needed. The committee will determine the level of support (50% or 75% for standard, and 80% for smaller institutions) based on overall uniqueness of the materials in the "thematic collection proposal."  All materials in such collections must comply with MVS guidelines, be strongly supported by patron demand, promptly cataloged, and circulate via ILL.

Visit the MVS Webpage at to learn about the required components of an MVS application. 

Online Application Assistance: Use NCC’s YouTube tutorial to easily understand the steps for conducting a full bibliographic search, required by MVS. To further assist potential applicants in locating eligible title’s NCC has compile a list of multi-volume set titles that have not yet been ordered by libraries in the US. The eligibility of second-hand copies has also made it possible for applicants to construct a set through a combination of used and new titles.


Please note that an application for prescreening is NOT an MVS grant application.

A final application, with supporting letters, is required to receive an MVS grant.


Final Application Process: A complete checklist of application criteria and supporting documents for a full application can be found on the MVS homepage at: Please use the final application template provided on the MVS homepage to submit a complete grant application packet by email attachment to: no later than midnight January 9, 2015.


The Japan-US Friendship Commission generously funds MVS with supplemental support from

Japan Publications Trading Company, Ltd.


Announcement of MVS Awards will be made by March 1, 2015