June 2014 Editorial

Hi all,

Our apologies for missing out on the May 2014 Editorial, but it was great to see our members continue to contribute to 2 articles for SLB in the month of May (covering LAS visits to places of interest). In the month of June, we need to make an important announcement with regards to the ISSN of our journal the Singapore Journal of Library and Information Management (SJLIM).

It was brought to our attention that our ISSN should have been changed when we change the title of our journal from Singapore Libraries to SJLIM in 1999. And in 2009 we moved SJLIM onto the e-version, we have also been advised to apply for a new ISSN as well.

As such, to clarify what ISSN we should be using for our publications (for the purpose of our member libraries who have records for our journals), please take note of the following:

ISSN: 0085-6118 refers to the publication – Singapore Libraries

ISSN: 2382-5626 refers to the publication – Singapore Journal of Library and Information Management (Physical copies 1st issue 1999 vol. 28 up till 2008 vol. 37).

ISSN 2382-5634 refers to the publication – Singapore Journal of Library and Information Management (e-periodical, 1st issue 2009 vol. 38 and onwards)

Once again our apologies for this oversight and kudos to the feedback we had received highlighting this needing our action.

regards
Yit

LAS visit to Library of Botany and Horticulture and the Singapore Herbarium

Date of visit: 9 May 2014

Time: 3-5 pm

Most of us would agree that the Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) is the long standing iconic garden of the country. But did we know that in its early years, it was also home to animals, such as rhinoceros, leopards, monkeys, birds, etc?

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Really? You may have asked, or laughed it off like some of us did in our LAS visit to the Botanic Gardens. When Christina, one of the NParks guides showed us an archived photograph, we realize that this was more truth than naysay. In fact, some of us found out later during our LAS visit that the SBG maintains a zoological status for more than 40 years from its founding years before it was abolished in 1903. Most of the animals became part of the collection from donation and their population was maintained through exchanges with overseas zoos. Today, one of the visible hints of its early history is the stone animal artifacts that greet visitors as one walks through the Green Pavilion.

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A quick walk through the history of SBG. The SBG was established in 1859 in the Tanglin area, by the Agri-Horticultural Society, through a government grant of a piece of land obtained from the merchant Mr Hoo Ah Kay, more famously known as Whampoa. Through SBG’s 155 years of history, 2 SBG directors notably spearheaded the proliferation of rubber cultivation in Malaya from 1890s and pioneered orchid hybridization, placing Singapore as a leading centre for commercial orchid growing. The SBG has also survived the Japanese Occupation from 1942 to 1945 and had a Japanese director during this period.

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Our 2-hour LAS visit by 28 librarians covers mainly the Library of Botany and Horticulture and the Singapore Herbarium, which are located at the Botany Centre. The Library consists of the Public Reference Library and the Reference Library. The Public library showcases herbarium specimens of plants common in Singapore and also has a self-service pictorial compilation for plant enthusiasts and students alike. The Reference Library, together with the Herbarium existed since SBG was established, and is one of the oldest botany library in Southeast Asia. The Reference Library collection has about 30,000 journals, books (including more than 4,000 rare books and botanical illustrations) and other media. Access is restricted only to NPark staff, visiting researchers and authorized users. We were privileged to be able to see some rare historical books and photographs of SBG in the backroom of the Reference Library.

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The Herbarium has a huge collection of 750,000 herbarium specimens from the Malesian region, Southeast Asia region and has a strong collection from Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia dating from the 1880s. Botanists from the Herbarium actively collect plant specimens sans seeds from these targeted regions from frequent field trips. Serena, our guide, gave us an introduction of the specimen-making process and the filing method of the Herbarium’s filing system. We also learned that multiple specimens were made for the same plant for exchanges with other herbariums. The Herbarium is also taking photos of plants to document 3D images and colors of real plants collected. It is also transcribing old specimen records which were hand-written.

All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2007.

All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2007.

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In the last 15 minute of our visit, we were taken for bonus visits to the Heritage Museum and the CDL Green Gallery. Qiu Xian and Christina walked us to the Museum which is in the Holttum Hall building, currently a conserved building. The Holttum Hall was built in 1920 and was once a laboratory and office of Professor Eric Holttum, the SBG director who pioneered orchid hybridization. The 2-storeyed museum has interactive and multimedia exhibits, which details SBG’s early history and heritage, including its past and present directors. There were old specimens, paintings and replicates of botanical books which are too fragile as real displays. Beakers and equipment used in laboratories lined the display at second level, and the staircase landing is also decorated by a magnificent chandelier made from beakers and test-tubes. Old pictures of the Holttum building often shows it pictured with an old kapok (silk-cotton) tree. Though not the flowering season yet, some of us were still thrilled to see the real giant tree and catch cotton fluff floating down from its crown.

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The walk through the CDL Green Gallery was a quick one, and was preceded with a 5-min video of Singapore’s greening history. The current theme of the Gallery is “Living in a Garden” and will be changed once every five to nine months. A quick search from the Internet showed that the Gallery is designed to be an eco-friendly building with solar roof panels capable of supplying all the electricity required to operate the building. It also has Green Walls and energy efficient interior fittings. For its zero-energy effort, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has awarded it with the BCA Green Mark Platinum status, highest tier for green buildings in Singapore.

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The LAS Social and Programmes committee will like to thank NParks staff, Christina, Qiu Xian and Serena for allocating their time to host the event and making the educational trip a rewarding one. There was much to explore in the 2 hour visit and we will be back personally again, to learn of the rich history and explore the botany diversity of the SBG.

Reported by: Quek Tze Guek

LAS visit to Hong San See Temple

Date of visit: 23 April 2014 (Wednesday)

Time: 3.00pm to 5.00pm

Reported by: Steven Chow and Quek Tze Guek

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Hong San See, the “Temple on Phoenix Hill” was originally built in Tanjong Pagar in 1829. Established by the Hokkien people of the Lam Ann clan, this temple is dedicated to Guang Ze Zun Wang (广泽尊王), the God of Fortune. It was relocated to Mohamed Sultan Road between 1908 and 1913. The temple currently draws worshippers from different dialect groups.

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Built in a distinctive Min-nan (闽南) style, the temple is a showpiece of traditional architecture and art. The temple, with its axial planning, courtyards and walled enclosures, depicts a southern Chinese traditional temple. The facade of the temple is decorated with intricate artefacts and guarded by double-leafed lacquered timber doors with paintings of door gods. The roof ridges and eaves have Chien Nien or Jian Nian (剪粘) ornamentation (a special method of cutting and pasting mosaic tiles) and plaster relief work. On the center of the roof ridge are two dragons each holding a blazing pearl. The temple has four carved granite columns, with entwined dragons and other figurines. Some columns are adorned with figures of flowers and magpies.

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The temple at Mohamed Sultan Road was built by Mr. Lim Loh, who is a well-known contractor originating from Lam Ann county of Fujian, China, and the father of World War II Singapore hero, Mr. Lim Bo Seng. The temple was gazetted as a National Monument in 1978. Between 2006 and 2009, a major restoration process was carried out for the ageing temple after a corner of the temple’s roof collapsed.

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This restoration cost about 3 million dollars, and part of the sponsorship was from the Lee Foundation, whose founder, Mr. Lee Kong Chian (1893-1967), was a strong supporter of the temple’s affairs during his lifetime. For the authenticity of the restoration, the temple became the first building in Singapore to be bestowed with the Award of Excellence in the 2010 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. In 2013, it was honoured with the Architectural Heritage Awards for Category A.

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This LAS visit was attended by 10 enthusiastic members. We had a short introduction of the temple’s history at its managing clan, the Lam Ann Clan Association, before moving up the hill to learn about the architecture and immerse in the splendour of the temple. We were delighted to have Mr. Ang Yik Han, a heritage cum archaelogoy enthusiast, guiding the visit. Mr. Ang has conducted guided walks to Singapore Chinese temples and the Bukit Brown cemetery. He has also been invited to speak on topics related to stone carvings of Bukit Brown and Chinese temples in Singapore.

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The itinerary was interrupted by an afternoon shower while we were in the temple. But thankfully, it was blue skies for all of us when it came time to leave. We were unable to have the guided walk around the Mohamed Sultan area, which had witnessed historical changes with its proximity to the Singapore River and Fort Canning Hill. There was, however, much to reminisce for some participants and the visit was very much a historical experience for all. We thank all the participants for their fervour discussions and their support.

Our next LAS visit will be to the Library of Botany and Horticulture and the Singapore Herbarium @ the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Please stay tuned on our next write up!

April 2014 Editorial

Hi all,

Welcome to the new Financial Year (for most of you) – and yeah, it’s April Fools’ day, there would be some pranks played throughout the day but we will survive them.

Some news from our libraries,  Temasek Polytechnic Library is now headed by Ms. Puspa Yeow, this was with effect from July 2013 last year.  My apologies for finding out late about this – here is where the publications team needs help from members, please keep us informed by dropping us an email to alert us of changes at your libraries!

NUS Libraries is now headed by Mrs. Lee Cheng Ean, with effect from March 2014.  We will be contacting Mrs. Lee to find out more about her role change and her vision and plans for NUS Libraries.

Congratulations to both Puspa and Mrs. Lee on their new roles!

In the mean time, at NLB, we were also informed of a huge change in terms of email address naming convention.  For those of you whom may have contacts with NLB Librarians, please remember to double check if their email addresses have been adjusted.  Take for example my email address has been updated from chinchuan@nlb.gov.sg to YIT_Chin_Chuan@nlb.gov.sg

This will take effect immediately, from 1 Apr 2014, although the old email addresses would be valid for some time still, it will be good for you to update the contact details of your friends from NLB.

Please also watch out for the news about our up-coming LFT 2014 event from the project team.  The selected theme for this year is “People, Places, Possibilities” – everyone is invited to put up papers relevant to the theme, you may submit them to publications@las.org.sg – we will make sure the organising team will get to review them.

A gentle reminder that next month, our AGM is coming up, so please watch out for the details from our Hon. Gen. Secretary!

Yit

LAS visit to library@chinatown cum walking tour at Chinatown area

Date: 16 January 2014, Thursday

Time: 3.00pm to 6.00pm

Coordinator for Library Tour at library@chinatown: Mr.Steven Chow

Coordinator for Walking Tour at Chinatown areas: Ms.Chia Wei Fun

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There were 19 participants to the first event organized by the Programmes and Social Committee for the year of 2014. We would like to thanky Mr.Chong Thong Yang, Librarian from NLB for taking us through the library. This was the second visit from LAS to library@chinatown since the official opening on 31 Jan 2013. Our previous visit was on 4 April 2013.

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library@chinatown is our first community supported
library in Singapore. With a total floor area of 1,000 square meters, it is the first themed library on Chinese arts and culture. library@chinatown offers a curated
collection that caters to both arts and cultural enthusiasts and the
general public, who are keen to learn more about Chinese arts and culture. More
than 60 per cent of the materials are in Chinese, around 40 per cent English and
there is a small collection of Malay and Tamil items.

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There is also a small selection of books and audio-visual materials in Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese and other commonly spoken Chinese dialects that will appeal to older citizens which is unique compared with other community libraries. Besides that, the library is also embracing a lot of advanced library tools, for example: self-check machines, self-service newspapers readers, customer service portal/station which impressed all of us.

We took about an hour for the library tour. After which, we started our exciting walking tour of Chinatown which was coordinated by Ms.Chia Wei Fun. The places that we had visited were:

  1. The Yue Wah Emporium (formerly Southern Hotel, the tallest hotel in Chinatown during the war years. The hotel served as a rest and recreation place for high ranking Japanese officers . Some of the “comfort ladies” operated from here).
  2. The Street Markets (@Mosque Street, Temple Street and Pagoda Street)
  3. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
  4. The Masjid Jamae (Chulia). The mosque was built by the Chulia Community from India in 1827.
  5. The Sri Mariamman Temple

She shared with the participants about the history of the development of Chinatown. The journey started at Chinatown Point. Here are some photos that we had taken during the walking tour:

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We spent 2 hours walking around the Chinatown area. Wei Fun really impressed us with her knowledge and background of Chinatown. There are so much more to learn about the history of Singapore than what can be found in the history textbooks. She brought all the participants on a journey to learn more about the rich heritage of Singapore. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the participants for helping to make this event a successful one. More exciting and interesting events will be coming soon, so stay tuned for more programmes from us!!

Reported by: Steven Chow and Chia Wei Fun

Members of Programmes and Social Committee (LAS)

March 2014 Editorial

Hi all,

It’s that time of year again for a lot of our institutions to handle financial closing as well as reviewing and tidying up our final year review of performances and start planning for the next FY.  So, I expect a lot of us to be kept rather busy.

2 quick things to update.  The latest issue of SJLIM Vol. 42 2013 is now officially published – we have 3 articles – hopefully, you will find them interesting and useful to you.  We are still tidying up the main access routes, but you may jump to the issue using this URL:

http://www.las.org.sg/wp/resources/publications/sjlim1/sjlim-vol-42-2013/

For those of you looking towards the coming LFT 2014 event, please rest assure that the project team tasked to organize this has begun working on this.  From what I have heard, they will be announcing details sometime in Apr 2014.  The rough detail is that we will be targeting an October 2014 date for the conference – so please make a mark on your diaries for this.  The theme that is proposed is: Libraries for Tomorrow – People, Places and Possibilities.

best wishes,

Yit

February 2014 Editorial

Hi all,

Happy Valentine’s Day, this year’s special occassion also coincided with the 15th day of the new Lunar Year for the Chinese – which traditionally, was an occassion for unmarried men and women to scout each other out before marriage proposals are brought up between families.  (At certain periods in China, ladies seldom/rarely have an opportunity to get out of the house to be seen, and the 15th day is often the only occassion whereby they can get out of the house to roam the streets – officially to view the lanterns on display, unofficially to look around for potential mates)!

Tomorrow (15 Feb 2014), LAS will have our annual party on a junk cruise around the Southern Isles of Singapore – for members who have already signed up, please remember to have fun!  For members, who have missed out, do watch out for more events being planned by our programs committee for this year.

We are in the midst of getting the 2013 SJLIM issue ready to be electronically published.  Members are reminded that we no longer do a physical publication of our journal.  Once it’s ready, we will highlight the links to the new issue, please watch out for it.

Yit

Challenges and Opportunities for Research Data Management

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Daniel Tsang gave a presentation on the role that librarians can play in research data management held at the Li Ka Shing Library, Singapore Management University on 7 January 2014. Daniel served as data librarian at the University of California, Irvine as a data librarian since 1986. He recently chaired a working group for OCLC which has released its report, Starting the Conversation: University-wide Research Data Management Policy.

At UCI, one of the findings of the Faculty Assessment of the State of Research Computing Report was that “long-term research data storage, and associated data management, is the single most critical research computing need not being met on campus.” The report provides the library with opportunities to provide support in this area. The library plans to recruit a new head of E-Research and Scholarly Communications. They are potentially implementing DataShare for deposit of and access to research data generated by UCI faculty and researchers. They are working on collaborating with faculty on archiving research conducted from and around Orange County, especially in the area of biodiversity. They intend to enhance their subject guides for data sources and data management.

On the researcher’s side, the challenges for data include: data sharing culture varies by discipline, need to protect their ideas, sensitivity of data, and lack of consent from respondents to share the data.

Some of the challenges to librarians supporting research data management include, lack of skill-set, lack of knowledge about faculty research or sub-disciplines. These factors are exacerbated by the already full work loads of existing librarians and the lack of experience in data stewardship or data curation.

He highlighted the training courses available from University of Edinburgh and Vanderbilt University on research data management as possible ways to address the lack of skills and knowledge.

The talk was attended by 53 people mostly from academic libraries with some from the special libraries. The presentation is available at http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/library_research/35/

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Reported by Yeo Pin Pin, Li Ka Shing Library, SMU

January 2014 Editorial

Hi all,

Firstly, LAS would like to wish all of you a very happy new year or as the Chinese say for the coming Chinese new year coming up at the end of the month – 马到成功 (success with the arrival of the Horse – the coming Chinese new year will be the Year of the Horse).

As some of you may have heard, we are doing away with the physical printing of the directory of Singapore libraries. In its place, we are setting up a website called the Directory of Libraries & Librarians in Singapore. What we have set up also includes an ability for you (as libraries and librarians in Singapore), to be able to update and maintain the entry relating to you or your library.

The publications team would like to appeal to your help to put in the details that you would like to share with the rest of the community (you have control of what you want to let others know about you). Our advice is not to repeat whatever content you may have already built on another webpage – in fact, we would encourage that you embed a link in your entry to re-direct visitors to your own library/librarian pages if that is simpler for you.

Please note that each entry (whether librarian/library) needs to be tied to a specific email account (for controlled access purposes) – this email account will therefore become visible to people who visit the web pages. For those of you interested – please contact me at publications@las.org.sg – please state in your subject line DLLS. Please note as this is a free service for all Libraries and Librarians in Singapore, we will give priority to LAS members first.

Yit

LAS Visit to John Wiley & Sons Singapore, 28 Nov 2013

On 28 Nov 2013, 24 LAS members visited John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd.  The previous visit that LAS members made to the Wiley office in Singapore was about a year ago.  Enthusiastic participants arrived at the Fusionopolis Solaris South Tower well ahead of the reporting time at 2.45 pm.

Our host, Ms Ira Tan (Director, Institutional Sales, Asia Pacific) welcomed us with an introduction of staff from Wiley, who each presented us on different aspects on the core business, operations, development plans and value proposition of Wiley.

Mr Robert Long (Vice President and Director of Sales, Asia) covered upcoming development plans of Wiley as it moves up the higher education value chain with its focus on knowledge.

Mr Erik Thrasher (General Manager and Marketing Director, Asia, Professional Development) covered Wiley’s content and services that help professional development throughout a person’s career life-cycle.

Mr Trevor Armstrong (General Manager, Asia, Global Education) shared the digital transformation of Wiley as it continue to fulfill its mission to “help teachers teach and students learn”.

Ms Thecla Teo (Director of Communities, Customer and Channel Marketing, APAC, Global Research) shared on Wiley’s efforts in partnering with librarians and some user engagement activities. This was followed by a walk-around tour of their office premise which occupied 3 floors of the Tower.

We were impressed with the warm hospitality and knowledge displayed by the Wiley staff. The event ran slightly beyond the scheduled hour as some LAS members stayed on for informal chats with Wiley staff during the networking session.

Cheers to our host for making this event possible and successful! Special thanks to Ms Tang Mei Ling (Market Development Manager, Relationship Marketing) for coordinating this event.

A photo for the occasion:

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By Edmund Lee (LAS Programmes & Social Committee)