bundle (chitsu 帙)
: The zokuzoku shū collection is broken into forty-seven bundles, each containing a number of scrolls. In addition, the term frequently appears in Shōsōin documents to refer to the wrappers that scrolls were bundled in, most typically in sets of ten.

dankan 断簡
: The original scrolls of the Shōsōin collection are now broken into numerous sections or fragments known as “dankan.” When the Shōsōin documents were rediscovered in the Edo period, scholars began peeling them apart and piecing them together in a new order based on their own research interests. This resulted in a reordering of individual fragments of the original documents into new scrolls that masked Nara-period configurations. The primary task of Shōsōin scholars in Japan is to figure out how these numerous fragments were once related to one another.

fukugen 復原
: This refers to the restoration of the fragments to the order they appeared in the Nara period. Since documents were reused in the Nara period as well, restoration actually has two meanings: a restoration to how the document appeared in its initial use and a restoration to how the document appeared after parts of it were reused on the other side. For example, if tax registries were cut into pieces in the Nara period and reassembled into several new scrolls at the Office of Sutra Transcription, restoration could refer to the original tax registries or to the documents from the Office of Sutra Transcription as they appeared before rediscovery in the Edo period.

Hoida Tadatomo 穂井田忠友
: Hoida Tadatomo (1791-1847), an early-modern nativist scholar, was one of the first individuals to examine and organize the Shōsōin documents after they were rediscovered in the 1830s. Hoida was primarily interested in government records and peeled the scrolls of the Shōsōin documents apart to take out the pieces that corresponded to his needs. In doing so, Hoida forever disrupted the arrangement of the scrolls, which had really been documents from a scriptorium connected to Tōdai-ji. This scriptorium had occasionally reused the paper from earlier government documents, which is how these materials ended up there. Hoida rearranged the documents based on the classical hierarchy of Nara-period ministries and provincial offices. He compiled the first of the six collections, which is known as the Seishū 正集. Although he altered the original arrangement of the collection in ways that have permanently complicated the study of Nara period documents, we must remember that his agenda was, of course, shaped by the concerns of late Tokugawa intellectuals.

Hokusō monjo 北倉文書
: There are seventeen scrolls from the northern section of the Shōsōin. This collection includes five scrolls recording the donation of treasures to Vairocana Buddha (the Buddha at Tōdai-ji), five scrolls related to the airings (bakuryō 曝涼) of the treasures that occurred in the eighth and ninth centuries, and seven scrolls on treasures being removed from and put into the collection.

ichiji monjo  一次文書 and Niji mono 二次文書
(cf. recto verso): Since paper was a valuable commodity, documents were often reused in the Nara period. The sections that were reused were basically considered trash, so there is virtually no relationship between the recto and verso of the document, although some information such as dating can be gleaned by paying attention to which side was copied first. In addition, there are occasionally memos or jottings on the verso related to the recto.

kobetsu shakyō jigyō 個別写経事業
: In the Nara period, sutras were often copied individually or as a set of multiple titles in a single sutra copying project. Each project would have had its own register (chōbo 帳簿) compiled by a scriptorium official. In putting together individual fragments (dankan 断簡), scholars aim to recreate the registers for each project. Much of the scholarship in Japanese is driven by uncovering all of the fragments related to a single sutra copying project.

Kosugi and Ōhashi editions 小杉・大橋本
: Two Meiji period bureaucrats named Kosugi Sugimura 小杉榲邨 and Ōhashi Nagayoshi 大橋長憙 copied many Shōsōin documents during the early years of compiling and editing the collection. Since the original documents were not always available during the publication of Dai Nihon komonjo, some of the print editions are based on these Meiji period hand copies. These are notoriously unreliable, so they need to be checked against photographic reproductions of the originals whenever possible.

kumon 公文
: Official documents distinct produced within bureaus and distinct from those from produced at the Office of Sutra Transcription are known as kumon. These include population registers (koseki 戸籍), tax registers (keichō 計帳), and tax accounting records (shōzeichō 正税帳). These documents were reused at the Office of Sutra Transcription and were preserved precisely because they were recycled. They attracted some of the earliest attention to Shōsōin documents from the time of Hoida Tadatomo.

mishū 未収
: Documents or lines of text that do not appear in Dai Nihon komonjo are labeled as uncollected mishū. In some cases, these sections were accidentally overlooked, but in other cases, the editors intentionally chose not include certain lines of text. This is particularly true of calligraphic practice and other doodlings by administrators in the Office of Sutra Transcription. The relatively frequent occurrence of these uncollected materials further necessitates consultation with the original photographs.

Moriya collection 守屋コレクション
: Moriya Kōzō 守屋孝藏 (1876-1953) collected a range of sutra manuscripts from China and Japan, including many Nara period examples. His son, Moriya Yoshitaka 守屋美孝, donated these sutras to the Kyoto National Museum in 1954. The collection contains 268 manuscripts, including a national treasure, as well as numerous other important cultural properties.

ryūshutsu monjo 流出文書
: A small number of documents left the Shōsōin through a variety of circumstances. As a policy to prevent forgery, documents that have left the collection are not allowed to reenter. But research has shown that many of these documents were indeed originally connected to existing fragments in the Shōsōin. Most of these documents have been published in Shōsōin monjo shūi 正倉院文書拾遺. Moreover, some of the documents referred to in the Kosugi and Ōhashi editions left the Shōsōin and are now in private collections, but do appear in Dai Nihon komonjo.

setsuzoku 接続
: Shōsōin scholars must determine whether individual fragments were once originally connected. The only way to do so is to examine the original manuscripts. Unfortunately, these manuscripts are not publicly available; only researchers from the Tokyo Historiographical Institute and the Shōsōin Office of the Imperial Household Agency can conduct research on the manuscripts. They have slowly published their research on the original configuration of these documents in Shōsōin monjo mokuroku. Much of the research is based on meticulous attention to features of the manuscript such as glue marks, damage from peeling the paper when it was first separated, dirt,  etc. Shōsōin monjo mokuroku labels documents that are relatively certain to have been connected as “setsuzoku su” 接続す and those that are likely to have been connected as “setsuzoku ka” 接続か.

six collections:
The current arrangement of documents into six groups: Seishū 正集, Zokushū 続修, Zokushū kōshū 続修後集, Zokushū besshū 続修別集, Jinkai 塵芥, and Zokuzokushū 続々修. These names are used when consulting photographic reproductions and catalogue entries. To understand these titles, it is necessary to briefly outline their history. When the Shōsōin documents were discovered in the late Edo period (1603-1868), they were configured as they had been arranged by administrators at the Office of Sutra Transcription, a Nara-period sutra copying bureau.  Beginning with Hoida Tadatomo, however, the documents came to be reorganized into six collections. Hoida began by removing (usually by peeling them apart, but occasionally by cutting them) official documents (kumon 公文) and documents with seals that he was interested in and reassembling them into new scrolls. These documents had originally been on the verso of scriptorium document, as they had been reused as recycled paper at the Office of Sutra Transcription. Altogether, he made forty five new scrolls, which are called the Seishū 正集. Similar work continued in the 1870s sponsored by government archivists, who also removed fragments they were interested in and reassembled the documents into three new collections: Zokushū (fifty scrolls), Zokushū kōshū (forty-three scrolls), Zokushu besshū (fifty scrolls). The fifth group of documents is known as scraps (jinkai; 39 scrolls, 3 books) and is unique in that it was not peeled apart and reassembled. These documents were severely damaged by moisture and were often in pieces to begin with. The final group, the Zokuzokushū, are the remains of what was picked apart by Hoida and later archivists.

white paper
: Pieces of white paper, referred to as shiroi kami 白い紙, shinpo hakushi 新補白紙, or hoshi 補紙, were added between fragments when the documents were cut apart and reassembled by Hoida Tadatomo and others in the early-modern and modern periods. These pieces of white paper, which are often visible in photographs, show that the current configuration differs from the original order of the document. They are a key source for identifying breaks between individual fragments. At the same time, they hide valuable information regarding how the sheets were joined in the Nara period. Since Hoida was interested primarily in official documents (kumon), he attached the white sheets to the side of the documents from the Office of Sutra Transcription to avoid covering the side he valued. Unfortunately, this strategy has made it difficult to assess how the documents were assembled in the scriptorium.