Southeast Asia Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (SARBICA) is the first Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (ICA). This year, the National Archives of Singapore (NAS) hosted the 2019 International Symposium with the theme of “Rethinking Archives: Reframing Boundaries, Imagining Possibilities”.
To trace back, NAS was established in 1968 and was called National Archives and Records Centre. In 1981, it merged with the Oral History Unit and formed the Archives and Oral History Department. It renamed as NAS in 1993 and together with the National Museum were managed by the National Heritage Board. After the amendment of the National Library Board Art, it became an institution of the National Library Board (NLB) in Nov 2012. The re-structuring reflected the emphasis on management of and access to knowledge and information. NAS is the second national archives which has successfully merged with national library after the Library and Archives Canada.
Taking place at the Oldham Theatre of the NAS, the 3-day symposium were packed with presentations on various topics, including oral history, digital preservation, web archiving, e-records management, archives services and archives legislation, etc. The pre-seminar workshop on digital preservation was very informative. Take a look at this interesting video "How Toy Story 2 Almost Got Deleted" about a disaster caused by human mistake.
|National Archives of Singapore|
A visit to the exhibition "Law of the Land: Highlights of Singapore's Constitutional Documents" was arranged in the first evening. This exhibition demonstrated a perfect example of cooperation among memory institutions. Held at the National Gallery and organised by the NAS and NLB, this exhibition explored the history of Singapore’s constitutional development from a British settlement in 1819 to its emergence as a sovereign republic in 1965. The rare documents from the NAS and NLB collections reflected Singapore's legal history and journey to independence.
|Exhibition: Law of the Land|
Symposium participants visited the NAS Reading Room and Conservation Lab on the third day. The concept of counter-less reading room was transformed from NLB's self-service experience. The self-service platform is facilitated by self-service borrowing machines, 24-hour book drop, automated payment of fees, NLB mobile app and reservation lockers. In NAS counter-less reading room, users may retrieve requested records from reservation locker even though there is no staff. Therefore, access hours are not restricted by staff service hours. Counter-less is not staff-less. There is a bell to alert staff in case need of assistance. After visiting the reading room, NAS staff also brought participants to the well facilitated Sound and Moving Image Lab and Archives Conservation Lab where historical video and audio recordings are digitized and paper records are conserved.
|Archives Reading Room|
|Archives Reading Room: Reservation lockers|
|Sound and Moving Image Lab: Digitization of video recordings|