Welcome Address by Mrs Elaine Ng, Chief Executive Officer, National Library Board at the Opening of the International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects on Wednesday, 2 November 2011, 9.05am at the Possibility Room, National Library Building

Release Date : 02 Nov 2011

RADM (NS) Sim Gim Guan

Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts

Professor Schubert Foo

Associate Dean, College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences,

Nanyang Technological University

Associate Professor Christopher Khoo

Wee Kim Wee School of Communication & Information,

Nanyang Technological University

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Good morning and a warm welcome to the 8th International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects, IPRES 2011. We are also honoured to have RADM(NS) Sim Gim Guan, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, to grace this event.

IPRES 2011

2. Over 50 distinguished speakers from various parts of the world are gathered here with a common goal. The goal is to share and connect with their counterparts, including librarians, archivists, curators, researchers and information managers from different disciplines and organisations on the preservation of digital objects.

3. As digital technologies advance, we face different issues each time. At IPRES 2011, we re-emphasise overcoming the challenges in digital preservation with the integration of activities and research across institutional and disciplinary boundaries when preserving our scientific and cultural digital heritage. There is a need to strengthen the link between digital preservation research and practitioners in memory institutions and scientific research data centres.

Importance of preservation and curation of digital objects

4. Moreover, with the growth in online engagements and communities via social media in this current age, digital information from digital libraries, online repositories, e-learning and social media, has become the primary and integral part of research, education and work.

5. In this regard, NLB had embarked on the digitisation of information and heritage for many years including the digitisation of donated items such as those of Singapore's literary pioneers, and providing access to the digitised collection through the Donors Gallery webpage. One of the more recent initiatives is NewspaperSG we launched in 2010. It is an online resource that provides library patrons access to selected full text archived news content conveniently from the comfort of their homes. Before this initiative was introduced, library patrons could only access archived newspaper articles by searching through reels of microfilms manually.

6. There are currently 24 newspaper titles available in English, Chinese and Malay with issues starting from as early as 1831. NLB will also be looking into digitising the Tamil newspapers next year and these local newspapers will provide easy access to Singaporeans and users abroad who are interested to find out more about Singapore's history. By preserving digital content, Singaporeans, users abroad and researchers will be able to access Singapore's rich knowledge resources as well as preserve the nation's memory.

7. Digital preservation and curation of heritage ensure that our cultural roots are preserved as the information is easily accessible by everyone regardless of time and age. MusicSG, the result of a partnership between NLB and the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore, known as COMPASS, is Singapore's first digital archive for local musical works that allows music lovers access to an online collection of musical works in the various genres that are unique to Singapore. The digitisation of musical culture and heritage enriches our lives and fosters a sense of national identity as our heritage is preserved for our future generations.


8. Finally, NLB is very pleased to collaborate with the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on the organisation of IPRES 2011. We are grateful for their academic rigour and support in validating and finalising the IPRES 2011 programme that has been lined up for you. We hope that our collaboration with NTU also allows us to share with and learn from our colleagues on the latest trends, policies and practices as well as discuss solutions to overcome challenges in digital preservation of information and heritage.

9. On this note, I would like to thank DS for taking the time to grace this event and NTU for our partnership in this meaningful event. I am also grateful to our sponsors Tessella, Fotohub, Planman Technologies and Infocom Corporation for their generosity and support.

10. Thank you very much for coming to the conference and I wish you a memorable stay in Singapore and a fruitful conference.