Historic Malay Manuscripts Available Online Through British Library, NLB Collaboration

Historic Malay Manuscripts Available Online Through British Library, NLB Collaboration

Date
Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Media Type
Bernama (Online)

SINGAPORE, Aug 20 (Bernama) -- The British Library and National Library Board of Singapore (NLB) have signed an agreement to put online an extensive range of materials of interest to Singapore.

The agreement was signed at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) 2013 meeting on Monday between Roly Keating, the British Library's chief executive and NLB chief executive officer Elaine Ng, NLB said in a statement.

The project will digitise the British Library's collection of Malay manuscripts together with early maps of Singapore and archival material relating to Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles - the British official responsible for the founding of the city of Singapore.

The project is possible thanks to the donation of 125,000 (US$195,540) from William and Judith Bollinger, which will fund the digitisation work for five years and is part of an on-going project between the British Library and the NLB.

The first stage of the project, now underway, will digitise over 100 Malay manuscripts and letters from 17th to 19th century resulting in over 16,000 high resolution images.

Rare materials are being digitised in the British Library and will be available on the Library's Digitised Manuscripts online as well as the NLB's BookSG website.

These items could only be previously viewed by visiting the British Library's reading rooms at St Pancras - this project will make them freely accessible online to people with an interest in Malay manuscripts across the world.

NLB director Gene Tan said: "This collaboration allows the National Library to explore the wealth of information in the British Library's Southeast Asian collection, especially materials of interest to Singapore.

"Our users will be able to easily access rarely seen documents relating to the rich history and culture of Singapore and the region."

Associate Professor Hadijah Rahmat, Deputy Head of Asian Languages and Culture Academic Group at National Institute of Education, Singapore, lauded the initiative to make historic Malay manuscripts more accessible.

"The project is a huge boost to researchers, academics and anyone with a keen interest in the history, culture and literature of the Malay Archipelago. With the digitised online materials, I am sure they will encourage more research on the rich heritage of the Malay world," she said.

 

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Source: Bernama (Online)