National Library to digitally archive Singapore websites

SINGAPORE – The National Library Board (NLB) has taken on the enormous task of digitally archiving 180,000 online publications and Singapore websites ending with the .sg domain.

The annually-updated National Day Parade website and the ‘Fighting SARS Together!’ website launched during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 are among the 2,000 websites that have been archived so far.

The move is part of NLB’s effort to expand its legal deposit collection of materials published in Singapore, which, up until recently, only covered physical publications such as books and magazines.

In July this year, NLB was given the mandate to collect digital publications and archive publicly available Singapore websites. Websites ending with .sg will be archived at least once a year, it said.

Since 1958, the NLB legal deposit has been collecting and preserving published works in Singapore with over 1.3 million items in its collection so far.

Director of the National Library, Wai Yin Pryke, said it is important to preserve the literary and intellectual heritage of a nation as they document the development of Singapore in the last 60 years.

“We’re now able to capture our digital heritage as more publications move online. In this digital age, maybe more things will be published digitally as compared to hard copies,” said Mrs Pryke, who spoke at the launch of the NLB exhibition, Our Published Heritage, on Saturday (Nov 3).

The exhibition held at the National Library showcases out-of-print local children books, recipe books, fashion and entertainment magazines collected through the NLB’s legal deposit function.

Books on display include the inaugural issue of women’s magazine Her World published in July 1960 and supplementary textbook Federal Readers used in schools in the 1960s.

Housewife Jin Koh, 60, said the exhibition brought her on a trip down memory lane.

“I used to read some of these books and magazines but I’ve thrown them all away. The times are moving so fast, these things should be kept and remembered.”

Media executive Tan Chia Huee, 41, said: “It’s good that the library preserves these books so they can be saved for future generations to see.”

The exhibition will travel to three regional libraries: Woodlands Regional Library (Nov 7 to Dec 9), Tampines Regional Library (Dec 10 to Jan 6, 2019) and Jurong Regional Library (Jan 7, 2019 to Jan 27, 2019).

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