NLB to launch new website for submission of heritage material in digital formats

Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo at NLB's Donors' Appreciation Night at the National Library Building on Sept 14. PHOTO: NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD

SINGAPORE - The National Library Board (NLB) will be expanding its Citizen Archivist project next year with the launch of a new website that will allow people to submit materials about Singapore in digital formats such as images and videos.

Called Documenting Singapore Together, the online platform will also allow members of the public to improve access to NLB's collections by lending their expertise in transcribing, translating and transliterating heritage material.

Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo announced this at NLB's Donors' Appreciation Night at the National Library Building in Victoria Street on Wednesday.

The move will extend NLB's collections by getting more people to be part of documenting Singapore's history, she said.

More details on this initiative will be shared when ready, NLB said.

Mrs Teo highlighted the role played by donors in preserving the Republic's heritage.

She said one of NLB's roles under the Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025 - a five-year plan launched last year to reimagine the future of libraries and archives - is to nurture a stronger appreciation and understanding of Singapore's heritage and identity.

Sixty-eight donors contributed more than 3,000 items - including manuscripts by literary pioneers and art prints relating to the Japanese Occupation - to the NLB between April last year and March this year.

The Singapore Chinese Medical Union gave items such as minutes of its founding meetings and records of member physicians dating back to 1929. Also donated are handwritten manuscripts and typescripts of Tamil short stories and radio plays written by literary pioneer Se Ve Shanmugam in the 1970s and 1980s.

"By sharing your treasured artefacts, you have enriched our collections, enabling Singaporeans to discover new aspects of our shared history," said Mrs Teo.

NLB chief executive officer Ng Cher Pong said its collection was "vast and rich, due to the generosity of its donors over the years".

"We are truly grateful for their unwavering support and partnership," he added.

The National Library and the National Archives of Singapore have made concerted efforts to digitise collections, Mrs Teo said, pointing to the Singapore Online Arts Repository, a collaboration between the library and the National Arts Council to digitise the works of Cultural Medallion recipients as well as longstanding arts and culture groups.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.