Notice: The Japanese Red Cross Society materials are temporarily unavailable as we prepare for exciting, new updates to the archive.



Q. What is the Digital Archive of Japan's 2011 Disasters? Where do the materials in the archive come from?

A. The JDA is an online portal offering access to a wide range of digital materials collected by various digital archiving projects. These include websites archived by Internet Archive, photographs archived by Yahoo! Japan, tweets collected by Hypercities, testimonials from visitors to the site, and much more. You can see the list of JDA partners here

Q. Does the Digital Archive store all the items that it lists?

A. The archive interface that you are using does not store copies of the items provided by its partners; it instead links as seamlessly as possible to digital materials archived by one of these partner projects, allowing you to search, view, and sort items across these separate archives. Only items that are stored in the archive are user-contributed testimonials, documents, images as well as users' collections. 

Q. Can I contribute materials to the Archive?

A. The archive is a participatory project, which seeks to break down the barrier between archive creators and users. To contribute, use the “Contribution” function (at the top of the home page), which allows any user to submit a testimonial about personal experience during or after the disaster, or suggest additional websites that should be harvested and preserved by the Internet Archive. More information about how to contribute to the archive can be viewed here

Q. How can I use the archive to teach the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami for my class? 

A. The archive has been used at several universities to teach not only about the disasters in Japan but also on digital research methods that incorporate multimedia contents. You can visit the page here to see how others have used the archive in their classes. 

Q. How long will the archive last?

A. The archive aims to be a permanent repository for digital records of the disasters.

Q. The website is not functioning properly, what can I do? 

A. JDA is optimized for Google Chrome browser. Please make sure you are using the most recent version of Chrome. Also you can try clearning your browser's caches. If the issue persists, please contact the JDA team (  



Q. I only want to search testimonials. How do I limit my search to a certain category of material?

A. You can select categories from the drop-down list to the right of the search bar, "More Filters" to limit your search.

Q. Can I search through the full text of websites?

A. Not for websites. For all items except the testimonials, tweets, and Asahi Shimbun English articles, the search engine will search through the title, description, and tags that were provided by JDA staff, volunteers, and contributors. This makes it important to provide a thorough description if you are contributing new items to the archive – the more information, the more likely it will be to turn up in a search. For more information about how you can help us enrich archived contents visit here

Q. Will searching in English turn up Japanese links, or vice-versa?

A. This depends on whether the item descriptions are written in both languages. The Archive makes an effort to make sure the information is provided in both Japanese and English, as well as Chinese or Korean if the source is in any of those languages.

Q. How do I use the map?

A. The map displays items that have geographical information included in their descriptions. You can limit the items by a keyword search in the search bar, or by date and time by using the scroll bar below. To add map layers, click on the gray icon on the right of the map. The “layers” tab will let you select additional types of information that you would like to display on the map. 

Q. I found a particularly interesting collection, and would like to talk to the person who put it together. Is there a way of getting in touch?

A. At present there is no means of directly contacting the creator of an individual collection. However, we are investigating the possibility of adding this functionality in the future.

Q. What if I find a link that is not active anymore?

A. To report dead links (or any other bugs or errors) you can either send an e-mail directly to When reporting, please include the URL of the broken link. 

Q. I would like to reference a source in an academic paper. How do I cite sources in the archive?

A. Cite the original source of the items in the same way you would for any website, document, image, etc. To include the archive in your citation, include the title of the archive, the archive URL, and the date accessed, as follows: “Japan Disasters Digital Archive. Accessed Month XX, 20XX.”

For testimonials or public collections, please include the name of the person who submitted the testimonial, the permanent link (click on the “link” button in the upper left), and the citation for the archive itself as described above.




Q. Who is allowed to add materials to the archive?

A. Only registered users can add materials to the archive using the "contribution" feature. However, anyone can contribute tags and traslations to archived materials. 

Q. How can I add tweets to the archive? Should I add re-tweets?

A. You can use the contribution form here and select Media Type as "tweet." 

Q. What should I not add to the archive?

A. Any material that is not related to disasters in Japan or your collection theme should not be submitted. After you contribute a website or testimonial, the archive staff review them to make sure that they are relevant material and have not been previously submitted.

Q. I would like to add a website, and am filling in the description form. Is there a specific vocabulary for the tags, or could I think of my own terms?

A. When tagging an item, consider what keywords you or others would use to discover the item. List as many different ways to describe an item as you can. Even similar terms should be included to make the item more likely to show up in different search results (for example: Fukushima Daiichi, nuclear plant, Fukushima nuclear power plant). You do not need to add dates to the tags.

Q. Is there a deadline for adding websites and testimonials to the archive?

A. There is no deadline. The archive will always be open to new contributions. The harvesting of websites is particularly urgent, as they are ephemeral material and may disappear quickly.




Q. What are collections and how should I use them?

A. The “My Collection” feature allows users to organize materials discovered in the archive and/or outside the archive into a miniature “exhibition” of materials under a certain topic or theme. By curating a collection, you are establishing connections between the items according your own criteria, and offering others a new perspective on the disasters. You might organize items by theme, place, time, or any other criteria you can imagine. You can also use the function to save items of personal interest to make it easier for you to access them later on. You can view other users' collections here.

Q. I want my collection to be searchable by other people. Are collections public or private?

A. You can set your own collection(s) to “Public” or “Private.” Choosing the “Public” setting means that other users will be able to see your collection. Choosing “Private” means your collection will not show up in search results or be publicly viewable unless you change the settings. You can change the privacy setting of your collection any time. See more information about the My Collection feature, visit here

Q. How do I create a collection? How long will it stay up?

A. Only registered users can make collections, so make sure you have signed into the site using the “Sign in” link in the upper right. Search for and/or contribute items of interest, then drop any item to the "my collection" box on the right. If you click “Go to Collection,” you will be able to edit the title and description of your collection to make it searchable. Your collection will stay up permanently, until such time as you choose to delete it.

Q. How do I edit or delete a collection?

A. You can delete a collection by accessing to "My Collections" page (To access your My Collections page, you can click on your account name on the top right corner of the archive and click on "My Collections."). In order to delete a collection, click on the gray icon next to the "My Collections." Once you click the icon, you will see the red x on the top right corner of your exisisitng collection. Please note that once you delete a collection, you cannot retrive it back so be careful when you delete a collection. 

Q. Can I create multiple collections?

A. Yes. You can make multiple collections using the "My Collection" feature in the following two ways. 

1. The easiest way to create a new collection is to search for items of interest, then drag any item to the "my collection" box on the right, or check a small box next to a specific collection(s) you want to add an item in the item pop-up view.

2. You can also create a new collection by clicking on the right side window in the search page. On the very left corner of the windown, under "More Filter" you can see the orange "+" icon. Clicking on the + icon opens up a pop-up window where you can make a new collection.