A- A A+

Annual Review

ISEAS Library Annual Review FY 2015


The ISEAS Library invested close to a quarter million dollars on collection building for the period under review (1 April 2015-31 March 2016). 

1,385 new publications were acquired over a 12-month period (9% increase year-on-year). The selection remains a joint effort with our in-house researchers. The Library also subscribed to 117 journals and magazines similar to the previous year. As of 31 March 2016, the Library has 61 exchange partners who contributed 66 serial titles and 42 publication titles to our collection. In return, the Library sent out 53 serial titles and 50 publication titles. One key exchange partner is ASEAN Secretariat which deposited 40 titles (101 volumes) of ASEAN publications. The breakdown of collection by language profile of library print collection (as at 31 March 2016) is shown in the pie chart below:

The Library subscribed to 20 regional and international newspapers, majority (18) from the region, about one-third of them are online access. In addition, the Library already has access to another 80 more e-newspapers through Proquest database.


Besides the print materials, the Library also subscribed to seven databases, namely Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS), Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), JSTOR, Project Muse, Proquest, Stratfor Premium Global Intelligence Brief and UN Comtrade, in total our users now have online access to 9,799 e-journal titles. The renewal of databases was reviewed annually according to users feedback and usage.

Overseas Public Records and Photographs

During the year, the Library copied 80 file records from UK National Archives and British Library to meet researchers’ information need and ISEAS’ book project. To build up its photographs collection, the Library also acquired photographs on the region. 88 photographs were copied from National Archives of Australia on ASEAN and Indonesia.


Replacement of Faded Call Number Labels

During the RFID and stocktaking exercises, an estimated number of 70,000 call number labels were found to have faded to a varying degree, affecting retrieval efficiency. With the help of two part-time staff, the Library has relabelled 33,558 volumes of books in this FY and the exercise is expected to complete by August 2016.

Conservation of Library Materials

411 damaged books were repaired by our part-time conservator, who also assisted in the housekeeping aspects of collection management such as cleaning of books affected by moulds and ensuring the exhibits displayed at Yusof Ishak Gallery are in good condition.

Repository Management

The Library periodically monitors the climate conditions of the Library repositories through remote sensing and the use of thermo-hygrometer which measures and records both the temperature and relative humidity level at 15-minute intervals. The findings were fed back to the Facility Management Team on a weekly basis for monitoring or corrective actions.


The outcome of Library’s continuous promoting awareness of its collection and refinement in access and loan policy since FY 2013 is reflected in a sharp rise of new members outside the Institute - 433 new members registered representing a 32% increase as compared to 327, year-on-year. This brings the total registered users to 1,193. The majority of the new users came from local and foreign academic institutions as shown in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2: New Library Members by Affiliation

The Library had a total visitorship of 5,828, which is a 23 percent increase from FY2014. Figure 3 shows the trend of visitorship over the last three years. 

Figure 3: Total Visitorship

Figure 4 shows that approximately one-quarter of our users are from outside ISEAS.

Figure 4 Visitorship by Categories


The Library conducted short briefing sessions and guided tours for 423 visitors from institutions worldwide notably Lemhanas, National Resilience Institute of the Republic of Indonesia; Kumamoto Gakuen University, Japan; Asian Graduate Student Fellowship; etc. The Library also received Professor Dr. Ir. Indroyono Soesilo, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Indonesia; His Excellency Say Samal, Minister of Environment, Cambodia and His Excellency Dr. AKP Mochtan, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN.

Highlights of Library visits. (Top left) H.E. Cambodian Minister of Environment, Say Samal, accompanied by Counsellor, Embassy of Cambodia, Mr Keam Sarat, reading a book titled Cambodge: Cahiers Intimes by Kusumo Mao, part of ISEAS Library’s collection; (Top right) Dr. Ir. Indroyono Soesilo signing on the Library’s visitor book; (Bottom left) H.E. Dr. AKP Mochtan touring the Yusof Ishak Gallery; (Bottom right) Students from NTU and S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. 

Collection Usage

  • Loans and In-house usage

Loan transactions increased quite noticeably, by 19%, year-on-year while in-house consultation remained quite constant – a small increase of 6.5% as shown in Figures 5 and 6. Among many loans is a special 6-month loan request from the National Gallery of Singapore for two journal magazines: The Indonesian TEMPO (two volumes of 1975 issue), and the Philippines Arts Monthly (1982 issue), for display at its Gallery featuring in two exhibition titled "Between Declarations and Dreams: Art of Southeast Asia since the 19th Century" and “A Fact Has No Appearance: Art Beyond the Object” respectively. 

 Journal magazines on loan from ISEAS Library on display in National Gallery of Singapore; (Top) Tempo 1975 journal magazines on display at the “Between Declarations and Dreams: Art of Southeast Asia since the 19th Century” exhibition; (Bottom) Arts Monthly 1982 journal magazine  on display at the “A Fact Has No Appearance: Art Beyond the Object” exhibition.

Figure 5 Number of Loans

Figure 6 In-house Consultation

  • Library Outreach at ISEAS Regional Outlook Forum 2016

At the ROF 2016, the Library in its 3rd consecutive year of involvement set up an information booth to promote its collections (48 titles related to the themes of the events were displayed) alongside with Library’s online catalogue. A total of 78 visitors visited the booth and 22 of them signed up as new users.  

Library information booth at ROF 2016


  • Work Experience Program for Raffles Girls School students

The ISEAS Library conducted the third internship programme for twelve Raffles Girls School (RGS) students from 16-27 November 2015. The activities included the research and processing of Dr Ronald Hill’s Photograph collection, processing of the Lim Keong Lay private papers collection, RFID tagging and collection stocktake, archiving of daily news articles to build up the Library’s collection, microfilm scanning, image processing, data entry and digital contents uploading and the replacement of faded labels. The students also attended one ISEAS in-house Lecture and had a guided tour of the Yusof Ishak Gallery, which they commented that they have learnt more about our first president. The programme ended with group presentations of their learning journey to both our staff and their teacher. Among others, they now have a better and deeper understanding of the professional role of librarians in supporting research and how the various departments of the Library interacted internally to provide a service to the end-users.