The NLB welcomes your help to enrich Singapore’s collective documentary and published heritage by contributing to our collection of materials about Singapore and her people. Besides contributing fresh materials, we also have records that have not yet been adequately described to be included in our online catalogue. We welcome your help to make these records more accessible by describing, transcribing, translating, and transliterating the materials. That in turn could improve search results for others looking for such material.
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We are interested in materials which cover the nation’s documentary heritage and captures the diverse experiences of living in Singapore. Materials must be from Singapore for post-1965 items and for materials from Malaya, before 1965. These could include documents such as photographs and ephemera; films and videos captured by private individuals; audio recordings of local soundscapes; translated works, works by any authors or publishers, in all languages, at any audience levels and editions. Works published in Singapore are also collected as part of our nation’s publishing history.
We also actively acquire records that serve as the social memory of our people. This memory allows current and future generations of Singaporeans to understand our different cultures, explore our common heritage and appreciate who we are and how we became a nation.
At the same time, we are also keen to collect materials on Singapore’s current social and cultural landscape for future generations to have access to a broad range of materials that reflect the current culture and society. NLB’s new Contemporary Collecting initiative emphasises the importance of collecting not only the distant past but also the nearer past, including online material. This is with a view that much of our contemporary collective experience is lived online and digitally.
Examples include materials that tell us about our living experiences in present Singapore:
By contributing based on the collecting scope, you agree that NLB can archive all or a selection of the Digital Works as part of the NLB’s permanent collections if so decided by NLB. (Note: Digital Works not archived may not be retained by NLB so you should keep your own copy as needed by you.)
Please send us more information through <Link to ‘Contact Us’ Form on crowdsourcing website> and we will be in touch.
You may wish to convert your physical materials into a digital format first by scanning and then contributing the digital format via the Singapore Memories: Documenting Our Stories Together portal. If you are keen to donate physical materials, please find out more at Donate to our Collections.
Start by submitting what you know. Part of the beauty of crowdsourcing is that even if you do not know something, someone else might. Perhaps you know the location of the image and someone else will know who the person in the photo is, or the year it was taken.
Description about the image should contain factual information (such as when, where, who, what). You can also imagine what words you would use if you were searching for this image and put these in your description. If you do not have any knowledge about our Singapore collections, you can find out more at Archives Online and the National Library Online.
What we are looking for: ‘Lim Nang Seng (left) with his Merlion sculpture’
What we are not looking for: ‘Men with a statue’
The former contains useful factual information that enhances historical knowledge pertaining to the image; the latter has no factual information and does not help someone who may be looking for this image.
Transcribing may take time over several sessions, so the “Save As In-Progress” button lets you save your work. After you have saved and left the page, you or anyone else can come back later to continue transcribing the page.
You should only click the “Submit for Review” button when all the text on the page have been transcribed (barring perhaps a few words that may be difficult to decipher). Clicking on “Submit for Review” temporarily closes the page to any further contributions until a NLB staff has reviewed the page. If the transcription is completed, the page will be permanently closed. If there are still parts of the page pending transcription, the page will be made editable again for public contributions.
The information that we have is dependent on the extent of accuracy provided by the record sources.
Selection of tasks is subject to suitability and availability of materials, among many other factors for consideration. If you do not see what you are looking for under a particular task, feel free to browse through the other tasks under Improve, or check out Contribute as there may be other areas that may suit your interest and expertise!
You could also check out this portal periodically to see if there is new content uploaded which may suit your interest areas.
Submitted tasks will be reviewed by NLB periodically and made accessible on the Archives Online database and the National Library Online when appropriate. NLB reserves the right to select, modify or remove any content based on suitability and accuracy.
The Archives Online database and the National Library Online can offer more clues about the records. For example, if you know the name of the event but are unsure which year it was in, try searching the NewspaperSG database to see which year it took place.
We do not track the number of hours of your participation and are unable to create a report to document volunteer hours. We regret that we are also unable to sign off on your hours or act as a supervisor for your participation.
As each record differs in length and complexity, there is no formulae to calculate the pages transcribed or records translated to a quantity of hours. However, you could keep track of your own hours, include the URLs or screenshots of each record you worked on during this time as a submission to your school or organisation.
For those who are seeking volunteering opportunities with contributions credited as volunteering hours, please visit the NLB volunteers portal and register as a NLB volunteer to sign up for other volunteering opportunities, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
These are thematic calls based on subjects or topics for contributions to help enrich the national collection.
Please get in touch through our Contact Us form if you have any comments about Singapore Memories – Documenting Our Stories Together initiative.