National Library Digital Fellowship

The National Library Digital Fellowship is a programme to support research in the emerging field of digital humanities using the collections of the National Library, Singapore and the National Archives of Singapore.

About the National Library Digital Fellowship

The National Library Digital Fellowship is a programme to support research in the emerging field of digital humanities using the collections of the National Library, Singapore (NLS) and the National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

We are keen to collaborate with scholars and researchers on projects that apply digital technologies and computational methods to yield fresh insights into the history, arts and culture of Singapore and Southeast Asia.


The NLS is the custodian of Singapore’s documentary and published heritage.

Housed at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library (Levels 10-13, National Library building, 100 Victoria Street), our core collections offer a wealth of information for studying the contemporary and historical developments of Singapore and the region.

The Singapore & Southeast Asian Collection comprises over 400,000 items in a range of formats including microfilms, maps, audio-visual materials, ephemera, and posters. Numbering more than 15,000 items, our Rare Collection features titles published in Singapore and Malaya before 1945, as well as other overseas titles containing information on Singapore and Southeast Asia published before 1900. We also have special collections such as the Raffles Library Collection, Dr Carl Alexander Gibson-Hill Collection, and various donated collections.

Apart from on-site access, our collections and content are also available online:

Selected datasets are available on Data.gov.sg and NLB Labs.

The National Archives of Singapore holds records of national or historical significance acquired from public agencies, private sources, and overseas institutions and archives. Explore the NAS collections at Archives Online.



The Digital Fellowship is open to both local and foreign applicants.

Applicants may be individuals or collectives (two persons making a joint application). Only one application is accepted per individual/collective.

The Library welcomes applications from librarians, curators, historians, academics or independent researchers with established records of achievement in their chosen fields of research. Applicants pursuing doctoral, postdoctoral or advanced research are also encouraged to apply.

Applicants should have the requisite digital skills to carry out and complete the project.



We welcome applicants to propose projects that make effective and meaningful use of digital tools and methods to demonstrate the possibilities of learning and researching with our collections. This could involve text, visual and/or audio analysis, data visualisation, mapping, digital storytelling and so on.

Applicants are encouraged to propose ways of using both our digital collections and physical collections.

Projects could explore and map the connections between collection items and content to reveal new insights on a topic, for example, an event, time period, individual(s) and/or social group(s), in Singapore history.

Projects could also enrich information about collection items, e.g. crowdsourced annotation, image processing, and/or enable the community to discover and interact with collection items in new ways.

 

Areas of research include but are not limited to the following:

  • Place histories in Singapore
  • History and networks of early communities in Singapore
  • Analysis of Singapore newspapers
  • Comparative study of early Singapore/Malayan publications, e.g. patterns of language use and/or themes in literature
  • Social history through photographs, oral histories and other relevant collections


The award of the Fellowship is for a period of six months. Fellows may not hold a concurrent employment (sabbatical is allowed), fellowship or propose a research area which he has already completed for a masters or a doctoral thesis. Awarded Fellows must commence their Fellowship undertaking within 3 months of the award, unless otherwise agreed upon.

A stipend of S$3,000 per month will be provided to help Fellows meet their living expenses, local transportation and photocopying expenses.

In addition to the stipend, overseas Fellows will be provided with a one-time relocation package of $1,500, a one-time return airfare of up to $1500 (reimbursement basis), and monthly accommodation allowance of up to $2,500 (reimbursement basis).

Fellows will be provided with up to $1,500 (on reimbursement basis) for the purchase of software and content that are directly related to the project and/or used for the duration of the fellowship. The Fellowship does not support the purchase of equipment, for example, computer hardware and electronic devices.

Fellows shall be responsible for obtaining all required licenses, permits, permissions, and other authorisation to use any photographs, copyright materials or other property or other rights belonging to third parties that are used for the project.

All Fellows will also be provided with the following:

  • A research space at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library including a computer with internet access.
  • Access to digitised materials and collection metadata (subject to conditions governing reproduction and use).
  • Access to the library’s rare book collections (accompanied by library staff) and closed stacks.
  • Access to other library collections through interlibrary loans.
  • Introductions to library staff who can provide recommendations on relevant collections and resources


All Fellows are required to sign a Fellowship agreement abiding to the following:

  • Spend at least 75% of their work time during their Fellowship at the Library.
  • Give at least one public presentation to staff, and another to members of the public based on their fellowship research.
  • Provide a midpoint update on the project to the National Library Board.
  • Deliver a working prototype. Depending on the proposal, this can be, but not limited to, a website, a mobile app, software scripts or codes (e.g., python codes, R scripts) for machine learning and visualization. All prototypes will be archived by the National Library Board, where possible.
  • Complete a research report (4,000 – 6,000 words) within three months of the end of their fellowship.
  • Deposit any code and data used in the fellowship, together with appropriate documentation, with the National Library Board, which may make the files available for public re-use at its discretion.
  • Give the National Library Board the right to publish the results of their research, where appropriate, including repackaging of content in different formats. All papers submitted for publishing will be subjected to editorial changes where necessary.
  • Send the National Library Board a written analysis of the Fellowship experience within one month of the end of the Fellowship period.
  • Assist the Library to promote the Fellowship as and when required. This could involve video interviews, social media posts, and other forms of publicity.
  • Research Fellows will also serve as mentors to staff of the National Library Board and provide advice on collection gaps to help build research competency within the National Library.
  • Present the Library with a copy of any published work resulting from research done during the course of the fellowship. The published work must acknowledge the support of the National Library of Singapore.
  • The dataset and content provided to the Research Fellow can only be used for the Fellowship. Due care shall be taken to safeguard the dataset and content from unauthorized access. The dataset and content shall be fully removed from all storage media at the end of the Fellowship.

Failure to fulfil any of the obligations will result in the recipient having to forfeit the monthly stipend as well as other expenses incurred in the course of the Fellowship. The final instalment of the monthly stipend will be paid on completion of the obligation.



The National Library Board will have publishing rights to all research conducted under the Digital Fellowship. Fellows must agree to assign such rights that will allow the National Library Board to publish the research both in digital and physical format as well as to repackage the materials.

The National Library Board will reserve the right to publish a research report series resulting from the Fellowship. 

The research report series will have its own unique branding as determined by the National Library Board.



Fellowship applicants will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Research should be original.
  • Research uses the library and archives’ collections.
  • Project can be completed within 6 months.
  • Applicant possesses high level of competency as indicated by referees, transcripts, research experience and other academic achievements.
  • Application should show a good understanding of proposed research topic in the proposal.
  • Applicant has the digital skills to carry out and complete the proposed project.


Each application must include:

  1. A completed application form. In providing information about education, exams and previous experience, photocopies of testimonies and documents are acceptable and must be attached at the time of application. But if you are selected for the award, the original or certified copy bearing the university/company seal must be presented for verification.

  2. A Curriculum Vitae that includes the following information:
    • Details of research awards previously and concurrently held.
    • Details of professional seminars/conference papers/public lectures presented.
    • A list of major publications.
    • Details of past and current involvement on digital humanities projects

     

  3. A detailed proposal (not exceeding 10 pages; page count excludes references and annexes) that contains the following:
    • Provides a comprehensive outline of the proposed topic of research, including details of the NLS and/or NAS collections and resources that would be used and how they are crucial to the research objectives. Please also specify if you would be using datasets from other sources.
    • Anticipated outcomes and significance of the proposed research.
    • Audiences for the intended project.
    • How the proposed project will promote NLS and/or NAS collections.
    • Key project milestones and estimated time needed for completion.
    •  Description of the main technologies and software to be used (e.g. visualisation, text analysis, natural language processing, machine learning, artificial intelligence) and your level of expertise for each (beginner, proficient, expert).
    • Details of proprietary software and/or copyright material to be purchased/licensed and their cost estimates (refer to Terms of Award). Research proposals must be submitted in English but research can be undertaken in other languages.

     

  4. References from two academic referees that should address the following selection criteria:
    • The applicant’s qualifications, ability and experience.
    • The quality of the applicant’s previous research and publications.
    • The applicant’s demonstrated capacity to complete research projects within a reasonable time frame.
    • The applicant’s awareness of relevant available sources in NLS and/or NAS and an assessment of whether these sources are likely to support the research proposed.
    • The feasibility of the project in terms of available resources and time or other constraints.
    • Whether the project will make a substantial contribution to knowledge in the field.
    • How the project will promote NLS and/or NAS and its special collections.
    • Contact details (telephone, fax number and email address).

     

  5. Applicants must nominate a Subject Reviewer of their paper, and contact details of the Reviewer. Successful Fellows will send their articles to their Subject Reviewer for comments and make the necessary amendments before submitting their final reports. The following credentials of the Reviewer will apply:
    • Reviewer is affiliated with a leading research institution/academia, and/or has published extensively in the applicant's proposed subject topic.  

 

Applications should be emailed to NL_Digital_Fellowship@nlb.gov.sg by 31 May 2022.

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. Shortlisted candidates may be invited for an interview. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be made known within 3 months of the closing date.

For further information about the Fellowship, please contact:

The Administrator,
National Library Digital Fellowship
Email: NL_Digital_Fellowship@nlb.gov.sg



As an awarded overseas candidate, here’s what you need to consider:

  1. Sign your Fellowship Agreement
  2. Apply for an Employment Pass
  3. Book your air ticket
  4. Get your Employment Pass Issued
  5. Look for Accommodation
  6. Start a Bank Account
  7. Telecommunications & Internet Plans
  8. Find Us

 

Sign your Fellowship Agreement
The Fellowship Administrator will send a draft Fellowship Agreement contract to you. Please go through the agreement and seek clarifications when necessary. Upon your acceptance of the agreement terms, please provide the following personal details for insertion into the document.

  1. Name of Witness*
  2. Passport Number of Witness

You are required to print two copies of the Agreement, sign them (together with your witness) and courier the originals back to the Fellowship Administrator at 100 Victoria Street, #14-01, National Library Building, Singapore 188064.

Your agreement is subject to the successful application of your Employment Pass.

* The role of the Witness is to witness your signing of the Agreement document. The witness is not required to be a surety or guarantor should you default on the Fellowship’s obligations. The Witness should be a non-NLB staff.

 

Apply for an Employment Pass 
The Employment Pass is required in order for you to fulfil your Fellowship obligations in Singapore.

Please fill out the Employment Pass Application form. Along with the form, please send the certified true copies of the following documents to the Fellowship Administrator at 100 Victoria Street, #14-01, National Library Building, Singapore 188064.

  1. Your academic certificates
  2. Personal particulars page of your passport.
  3. A passport size photograph of yourself

Please click here to download the application form. The application for the Employment Pass may take up to five weeks.

 

Book your Air Ticket 
You may book your air ticket to Singapore after the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) issues an In-principle approval (IPA) letter for your Employment Pass. The Fellowship Administrator will email the IPA to you. The IPA serves as a pre-approved, single-entry visa for you to enter Singapore. The IPA is valid for six months upon date of issue. The in-principle-approval letter and your disembarkation/embarkation (white) card are sufficient for you to enter Singapore without the need for a short-term visit pass.

 

Get your Employment Pass issued upon Arrival 
You need to make an appointment with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to issue your pass after arriving in Singapore.

A fee of SGD $150 will be required, and NLB will reimburse this fee after you produce the receipt for it.

You will need to produce these documents when you go to MOM to get your pass issued.

  1. Your IPA letter
  2. Your disembarkation (white) card
  3. Completed declaration form attached with the candidate's IPA letter.
  4. Completed medical examination form or health declaration form (the form will also be attached with your IPA letter)
  5. A copy of your passport (i.e. the page with your personal details)
  6. A copy of your certificates

Before you arrive, it is advised that you make an appointment in advance for your medical check-up in Singapore (this is if you have not done your health check with a registered doctor in your home country). For more information on issuing your Pass, please go to the Ministry of Manpower website.

 

Look for Accommodation 
Do start looking for accommodation before you arrive in Singapore. This webpage may be useful for understanding property rental in Singapore. After you have obtained your Employment Pass, you may proceed to sign your Tenancy Agreement. Please note that usually a deposit (refundable) and 1 month’s advance rental is required.

NLB will disburse the accommodation allowance equivalent to the actual cost of renting accommodation, and subject to the accommodation allowance cap. To illustrate, the Fellowship awards a monthly accommodation allowance of up to a maximum of S$2,500. If a Fellow rents an apartment of S$2,000, he or she shall be reimbursed S$2,000.

 

Start a Bank Account
Once you have obtained your Employment Pass, you may want to open a bank account in Singapore. You may choose from a wide range of local and overseas banks. Please note that different banks have different types of accounts which require different minimum sums. After you have opened your account, please get the bank to endorse our Direct Credit Authorisation form. This will enable NLB to credit your monthly stipend and allowances into your bank account. Other options include telegraphic transfer and cheque payment.

 

Telecommunications & Internet Plans
To apply for a mobile phone line in Singapore, you may choose either a pre-paid or post-paid plan from any of these companies in Singapore – Singtel, M1, Circles of Life or Starhub. If you want a post-paid plan, you can only apply for one after you have obtained your Employment Pass. You may also apply for your Internet plan from SingTel and Starhub.

 

Find Us
The library is conveniently and centrally located in the city. Depending on your place of residence, you may get to the library by MRT (train) or bus. It is useful to get an ez-link card when you arrive in Singapore. This pre-paid card can be used for both the bus and train. The nearest MRT stations to the library are Bugis, City Hall and Bras Basah. Please refer to this link for directions to the library.



Recipients of the National Library Digital Fellowship 2022

The National Library Board is pleased to announce the recipients of the National Library Digital Fellowship 2022

  • Bryan Wee
  • Brian Page
  • Amy DePierre