National Library Board Singapore

National Library Board Singapore

Last updated on 2 August 2021

This post was written by the team at the National Library Board, Singapore

The National Library Board, Singapore (NLB) is the official custodian of Singapore's published and documentary heritage, archival materials of national and historical significance, government records and broadcast archives. As part of NLB’s Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025, which outlines our evolving roles and priorities over the next five years, we are committed to an ongoing effort to collect, preserve, and make accessible digital content on Singapore.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the significance of technology and inspired greater interest in digital content. With the volume of digital materials growing exponentially, NLB strives to preserve our collections for the long term, and to build on our role as an enduring source of knowledge on Singapore.

Joining the Digital Preservation Coalition

As part of NLB’s digital preservation journey, we joined the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) on 1 April 2021 to connect with leading digital preservation specialists and exchange knowledge on good practices. We are excited to be on this journey with the DPC and our colleagues from across the globe. Connecting with like-minded colleagues in the international community on digital preservation has not only given us a vital sense of perspective on industry standards, but has also been invaluable in keeping us updated with the latest developments in the field.

On 20 May 2021, NLB had participated in the DPC’s “Unbroken records: A briefing day on Digital Preservation and Electronic Document and Records Management System”. It was an eye-opening event that presented some interesting ideas that we can benefit from as we continue to obtain and preserve records produced by government agencies. 

Working towards becoming a Trusted Digital Repository

NLB hopes that our work in digital preservation contributes to securing the future of our nation's heritage for posterity. By building our capabilities on this front, NLB aspires towards becoming a Trusted Digital Repository and an authority on digital preservation for the nation. To this end, NLB has formed a Digital Preservation Planning team comprising members from various divisions in NLB to accelerate the development of our digital preservation capability.

Part of NLB’s efforts in the past year includes developing a digital preservation policy as well as establishing a set of internal guidelines on file formats for the transfer and long-term preservation of NLB’s digital content. At the same time, we would like to grow the knowledge and skillsets of our librarians and archivists in digital preservation know-how.

Besides preserving our digital collections for future generations, NLB also strives to provide the public with access to these materials. Currently, NLB’s digital collections are available to the public through various online portals such as:

  • BookSG for digitised rare books and documents;

  • NewspaperSG, a digital archive of newspapers published in Singapore since 1831;

  • Archives Online, archival records of different media like photographs, posters, speeches, cartographic records, oral history interviews and audio-visual recordings.

NLB also engages the public through publications and exhibitions, as well as signature public programmes curated by our librarians and archivists such as:

  • From the Stacks, a web series featuring rare materials of historical significance in our collection;

  • Archives Unlocked, a talk series highlighting the stories of our nation that allows us, as well as the generations that follow, to understand, explore and appreciate our common heritage.

  • A Librarian’s World, where our librarians share highlights of their work from the National Library’s collections.

As we move forward on our digital preservation journey with the DPC and strive to keep our rich collections preserved, we aim to foster a greater appreciation for Singapore’s history and culture for all.

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