ISEAS Library Annual Review FY 2016


In addition to the annual subscription of 110 journals and magazines, the Library acquired 1,912 new publications, representing a 38% increase in collection, year-on-year. Our international exchange partners and external members further contributed 68 serial titles and 168 books to the collection.

The Library also subscribed to 17 international newspapers, with 14 from the region. The volume of physical newspapers continues to decrease (from last year’s 20) as more titles are available online, some of them freely accessible. Through subscribed databases, the Library has access to another 124 e-newspapers, in total, it represents a 55% increase in news sources.

As of 31 Mar 2017, the Library has 247,847 titles in its print collection, 69 per cent are Southeast Asian countries focused. Non-English (vernacular languages of the region) made up 51 per cent of this collection. Figure 1 shows the language profile of our publication collection. The breakdown of collection by language profile of library print collection (as at 31 March 2017) is shown in the pie chart below:


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. Altogether, our users have access to 9,909 e-journal titles. Renewal of these databases also took into account users’ feedback and usage.

Overseas Public Records 

During the year, the Library copied 96 file records (approx. 10,150 pages) from the UK National Archives to meet researchers’ information needs.

Private Papers Collection

To date, 29 prominent individuals from the region, mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia have deposited their private papers to the Library. The collection highlights for the year under review include the following four newly added personalities: Wong Ah Fook (19th century Chinese entrepreneur, and philanthropist in British Malaya), K. G. Tregonning (prominent scholar and history professor in University of Malaya) Mary Somers Heidhues (veteran anthropologist on Chinese in Indonesia, now resides in Germany) and Toshio Egawa (Japan industrialist who helped established the pioneer industry in Jurong in the 1960s, the Minebea Corporation).

For easy access and handling, ISEAS Library progressively and selectively digitises the collection. Todate, almost 76% of the collection are available for online or nearline access.

(Top left) Delivery of Toshio Egawa Private Archive Collection; (Top right) Fumigation treatment for Toshio Egawa Private Archive Collection; (Bottom left) Dr Koji Nakajima, Visiting Professor, Meiji Gakuin University, Japan, viewing one of letters from the Collection; (Bottom right)  Dr Koji Nakajima viewing an oil painting of Inoue Takeko, wife of Inoue Kaoru, statesman in Japan, from the Collection.  


The Library registered 384 new members this year, the ratio between internal and external users remains 1 to 4 as shown in Figure 2 below. The percentage of foreign academics shows an increase of 8%, reflecting a positive level of awareness of the Library and its collection. Majority of the new members also visited Yusof Ishak Gallery and NSC Archaeology Gallery, which allow users to learn the association between President Yusof Ishak and the Institute as well as Singapore history.

The following are feedback received from visitors who visited the Yusof Ishak Gallery:

“May we renew this legacy of President Yusof Ishak.”

“Very inspiring. An awesome display of a man what he stood for.”

“This is a great opportunity for us to understand about Singapore history from the beginning.”

Figure 2: New Library Members by Affiliation

Library Visitors

The Library recorded a total visitorship of 5,714 this year. About 30% visitors are external users, among them are scholars from Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences (China), King Prajadhipok’s Institute (Thailand), Nagoya University (Japan), Airlangga University (Indonesia), etc. The Library also received U Ko Ko Gyi, General Secretary of the 88 Generation (Peace and Open Society), Myanmar, and U Zaw Thein, Chairman of the Lower House International Relations Committee and Member of Parliament (National League for Democracy), Pyithu Hluttaw, Myanmar.

Highlights of Library visits. (Top left) U Zaw Thein, Chairman of the Lower House International Relations Committee and Member of Parliament (National League for Democracy), Pyithu Hluttaw, Myanmar, receving ISEAS Library membership card from Mr Pitt Kuan Wah, Head Library;  (Top right)  Delegation from 2016 Asian Graduate Students Fellowship Programme, Asian Research Institute, National University of Singapore;  (Bottom left)  Delegation from 2016 Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre Archeological Field School; (Bottom right) Delegation from King Prajadhipok’s Institute, Thailand being briefed by Head Library on the Library collection and services.

Collection Usage

The Loan transactions and in-house usages represent a moderate but steady increase over the past three years. The loan transactions increased 16% year-on-year, while in-house consultation saw an increase of 15% as shown in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3 Collection Usage

In addition to the collection usage through borrowing and in-house consultation, Library users also made copies of 13,686 page materials through photocopy, printing and scanning services provided by the Library.


Work Experience Program 

The Library conducted its 4th run of Work Experience Programme with Raffles Girls School (RGS). Five RGS students participated this year’s programme from 21 Nov–2 Dec 2016. The students assisted in the processing private papers of Dr K. G. Tregonning and Professor Chan Heng Chee, RFID tagging, stocktaking using RFID scanner and microfilm scanning. They also toured the Yusof Ishak Gallery and read the book Yusof Ishak: Singapore’s First President to get a better understanding of the President. In the group presentation, all students shared the work at ISEAS Library was beneficial and they learnt not only the professional role of librarians in supporting research, but also the Southeast Asian and Singapore history from the unique collection here.

Highlights of WEP with RGS students. (Top left) Student performing RFID tagging; (Top right) Students scanning microfilm; (Bottom left) Students processing private paper of Dr K. G. Tregonning; (Bottom right) Students sharing the learning journey at ISEAS Library.

The Library also offered a slightly longer internship to seven NTU Master of Science students during the Dec school break. More complex tasks were assigned to them in the information management and collection cataloguing areas.

Highlights of WEP with NTU students. (Left) Students being briefed on the microfilm scanning; (Right) Students cataloguing and describing Toshio Egawa collection photographs and uploading to online database- SealionPLUS.

Library Space and Facilities

The Library received 78 location filming requests (44 in FY 2015/2016) from local and foreign media. Majority are interviews with ISEAS researchers.

Highlights of Media Filmings. (Top left) Interview with Dr Ooi Kee Beng at Library Level 2; (Top right) Interview with Dr Le Hong Hiep at Yusof Ishak Gallery; (Middle left) Filming for Channel News Asia current affairs programme, Between The Lines, with ISEAS researchers Dr Charlotte Setijiadi, Dr Johanes Herlijanto, and Dr Leo Suryadinata at Library Level 2; (Middle right) Interview with Dr Francis Hutchinson at Wang Gungwu Corner; (Bottom left & right) Media filming with Ms Chun Guek Lay, the anchor for current affairs program “Focus”.