Library Collection

Audio Visual Recordings


The audio-visual recordings mostly consist of folk tales (via story telling), documentaries, docudramas and feature movies.



Archives of ISEAS Publications


Archives of ISEAS Annual Reports


Oral History Interviews


In 1973, an oral history project was initiated in ISEAS as a means to generate primary source materials for scholarly uses. The subject of interest at that time was local history of the Japanese Occupation period and the immediate post-war Singapore. Subsequently, the scope of the interviews expanded to cover autobiographical memoirs of prominent personalities who were highly regarded in their respective fields such as business, education, and politics. Due to limited resources, the oral history programme became dormant after 1997. In early 2015, as part of its collection building efforts, the Library revived the programme on a smaller scale, thematically aligned with ISEAS’ current research direction.

Oral history interviews on Myanmar’s post-independence political development

With the help of ISEAS’s former Senior Visiting Fellow U Ye Htut, the Library has been building up a collection of oral history interviews since 2017, with 14 individuals to date who have given oral narratives, covering a wide range of subjects documenting not only their personal life experiences but also their involvement in various aspects of social and political development of post-war Myanmar and its nation building path.

These interviews comprise more than 70 hours of audio recordings, with 795 pages of transcripts in Burmese already completed for 6 of the interviews. Of the 14 interviews in this collection, 12 are available for immediate access by scholars and academics studying and writing about modern Myanmar history. Two interviews are embargoed until 31 Dec 2022. The metadata of these open access interviews may be viewed on-site, via Library’s SEALionPLUS database.

Interested researchers may enquire with ISEAS Library ( for more details and access to the available interviews. A short introduction to each of the interviewees is available below.


Photographs, Glass Plates and Slides



Ananda Rajah

Barbara Anello

Cecilia Ng

Dorothy Pelzer

Frederic Mason



Microform Collection


The ISEAS Library microform collection is comprised of about 118,000 sheets of 105mm microfiche and 18,000 microfilm reels. The collection includes regional newspapers, journals, theses, rare and antiquarian books and press clippings.

Microfilm readers are available in the ISEAS Library. Users can use the readers to view, print and scan images from microfilm/fiche.


Maps and Atlases Collection


The Library’s map collection is one of the unique collections of Southeast Asian cartographic materials in Singapore. It consists of approximately 1,200 titles ranging from the years 1768 to 2013.





Private Papers


As of 31 January 2021, the Library has in its custody over 30 private papers collections, including the papers of 27 prominent individuals from Singapore and Malaysia. These private collections provide historical perspectives on social, political and other aspects on Southeast Asia. Library users are welcome to refer to the papers with at least a week’s notice. Please complete and return (via email or fax) the Private Papers Usage Agreement form back to the Library prior to your visit.

In order to reduce the risk of damage to the originals, the Library is progressively digitising these collections. Where available, only the digital surrogates will be released for viewing.

Private Papers available for consultation at the Library are:

(Arranged in alphabetical order)

Alfred WongAlex Josey
Private Paper Index
Chan Heng Chee
David Saul Marshall
Private Paper Index
George William Skinner
Private Paper Index
Gerald de Cruz
Private Paper Index
Ian GloverIsmail Abdul Rahman
Private Paper Index
Ivan Polunin
James Puller Hannah
(J. P. Hannah)
Private Paper Index
John LeggeKennedy Gordon Phillip Tregonning
(K. G. Tregonning)
Private Paper Index
Kernial Singh Sandhu
(K. S. Sandhu)
Lee Hau Shik (H. S. Lee)
Private Paper Index
Lim Keong Lay
Lim Kim SanLim Phaik Gan (P. G. Lim)
Private Paper Index
Lim Swee Aun
Private Paper Index
Loke Wan ThoMary Somers HeidhuesMaurice Baker
Ronald David HillSinnathamby Rajaratnam
(S. Rajaratnam)
Private Paper Index
Syed Hussein Alatas
Tan Cheng Lock
Private Paper Index
Tan Chin Tuan
Private Paper Index
Tommy Koh
Toshio Egawa
• Private Paper Index
Vol 1, Vol 2
Wang Gungwu
E-Catalogue (Accessible via SeaLionPLUS)
Wong Ah Fook
Private Paper Index
Wong Pow NeeWong Siew Qui
(S. Q. Wong)
Private Paper Index


Rare and Antiquarian Books


Rare and Antiquarian Books in the ISEAS Library

The Library’s collection of rare and antiquarian books on the region has been acquired based on their high research value. Most have been converted into microform or digital format to facilitate user access. Users can refer to the microforms or digital copies by making a request at the Circulation Desk. The Library has compiled a list of rare and antiquarian books ranging from 1688-1930. Click here to access the list.


General Collection


The Library houses an extensive and unique range of over half a million physical items related to Southeast Asia in the area of economics, politics, international relations, culture, and social studies in multiple languages and formats, and provides access to more than 10,000 electronic resources including full text journal articles.

The Collection consists of Monographs, Annuals, Statistics, Reference tools, Maps, Print Journals, Newspapers, Conference Papers and Theses. Please use the SEALion catalogue to search and browse the collection.