National Archives of Singapore



The National Archives of Singapore (NAS) is responsible for the collection and management of records pertaining to the nation’s political, social and economic history. Apart from public records, it also identifies and collects records of historical significance from private sources, both locally and overseas.1 In August 1993, NAS was brought under the administration of the National Heritage Board together with the National Museum and the Oral History Department.2 On 28 March 2013, NAS was officially transferred to the National Library Board (NLB). This was due to a restructure of ministries and the synergy between the NLB and NAS.3

History
The NAS was established in 1968 for the preservation and administration of the archives. This treasure house has records dating as far back as 1800, 19 years before the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles. The Oral History Centre, which supports the functions of the NAS, records documents, and preserves and disseminates information pertaining to the history of Singapore through the oral history methodology.4


Role and responsibilities
The NAS aims to build a comprehensive documentary heritage of Singapore and become a leading resource centre for the research and dissemination of information on the history of Singapore.5 It has a selection of archival materials available for viewing by the public, including public records, building plans, oral history recordings, photographs, electronic records and an audio-visual collection of microfilms, films, videotapes, colour slides, negatives and maps.6


The Oral History Centre, administered by the NAS, sets out to interview and record historical reminiscences of individuals. Its role is to record, document, preserve and disseminate information on subjects of significance to nation-building.7

The Historic Sites Unit of the NAS, formed on 1 October 1996, identifies and commemorates buildings and sites where historic events took place.8 The Unit plans, coordinates and implements the marking of economic, cultural and educational sites, as well as military sites.9

Achieving a role in nation-building
The NAS has, since its inception, been the custodian of Singapore’s corporate and institutional memory. Its role has grown over the years, beyond that of just preserving materials for posterity. It is positioning itself to play a greater role in nation-building through a concerted programme of exhibitions and publicity, through which it seeks to educate the public on the shared heritage of the people of Singapore.10 By providing free and more efficient electronic access for the consultation of records, NAS is taking significant steps towards fostering the national identity of Singaporeans, by promoting the awareness of and research into Singapore’s history.11




Author

Tan Lay Yuen



References
1. Singapore. (1998). Singapore. (1998). Singapore: Ministry of Information and The Arts, p. 306. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN-[HIS])
2. Lim Chee Onn named head of National Heritage Board. (1993, June 25). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore. Parliament. Parliamentary debates: Official report. (1993, April 13). Considered in committee, reported and third reading of the National Heritage Board Bill (Vol. 61). Singapore: Govt. Printer, cols. 137, 140. (Call no.: RSING 328.5957 SIN)
3. National Archives of Singapore. (2014, September 10). History. Retrieved 2016, November 30 from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline; Goh, C. L. (2012, August 5). Cabinet changes sharpen focus on key tasks, says Yaacob. The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Singapore. (1998). Singapore. Singapore: Ministry of Information and The Arts, p. 306. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN-[HIS])
5. Singapore. (1998). Singapore. Singapore: Ministry of Information and The Arts, p. 306. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN–[HIS])
6. National Archives of Singapore. (2014, September 10). Our roles. Retrieved 2016, November 30 from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline
7. Singapore. (1998). Singapore. (1998). Singapore: Ministry of Information and The Arts, p. 306. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN-[HIS]) 
8. Singapore. (1998). Singapore. Singapore: Ministry of Information and The Arts, p. 306. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN–[HIS])
9. Sites reflect diverse history. (1998, November 27). The Straits Times, p. 78. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. National Archives of Singapore. (2014, September 10). Our roles. Retrieved 2016, November 30 from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline
11. National Archives of Singapore. (2016). Archives online – Are there admission fees for the Archives Reading room (ARR) at the National Archives of Singapore (NAS)? Retrieved 2016, November 30 from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/



Further resources
National Archives (Singapore). (1977). Guidelines for the selection and disposition of public records. Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RSING 651.51 NAT)

What records management can do for you?. (1985). Singapore: Ministry of Community Development, National Archives.
(Call no.: RSING 651.5 WHA)



The information in this article is valid as at 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
 

Subject
Science and technology>>Library and information science>>Library, archive and information management
Politics and Government
Law and government>>Culture and community>>Heritage
Archives--Singapore