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.


Apply for the National Library’s Digital Fellowship by 14 June 2024.

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

Its 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 500,000 items in a range of formats including microfilms, maps, audio-visual materials, ephemera, and posters. 

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

Selected datasets are available on 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 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$3,500 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 $3,500 (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).
  • 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 by 14 June 2024.

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 email us at

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

  1. Sign your fellowship agreement
  2. Apply for the relevant work pass (assisted by NLS) 
  3. Book your air ticket
  4. Look for accommodation
  5. Get your work pass issued
  6. Start a bank account
  7. Get telecommunication & internet plans
  8. Getting to NLS

Candidates will be furnished with more information upon awarding.

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