NUS Libraries - Central Library

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NUS Libraries

The Singapore/Malaysia Collection

The Singapore/Malaysia Collection is a valuable research collection of over 61,000 titles. The value of this collection lies in its broad and in-depth coverage of the economic, geographical, historical, political and social developments of Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as an entity.

The collection is unique in its possession of the rare, the educational and the artistic; the primary materials contained within trace the progression of Singapore and Malaysia from their founding, the periods of colonial governance, the World Wars, political upheavals, independence and the events after. These materials do not only serve to edify the history buff who delights in the obscure; researchers in several subjects can find valuable knowledge and insights from the information encompassed by the collection.

For many researchers, the collection may not only be the first, but possibly the only resort in their search for primary materials. Sea captain Thomas Bowrey's Dictionary, English and Malayo, Malayo and English of 1701, was the standard source for the language for over a century while the second edition of C. H. Thomsen and Munshi Abdullah’s A Vocabulary of the English and Malayan Languages in the collection is the only complete copy known to exist in the world, and was printed in 1827 in Singapore. Another rare item is a copy of anti-Allied cartoons with accompanying text in Chinese, Malay and English published in Japanese-occupied Penang in 1942 entitled The War As Our Cartoonist Sees It.

The collection's breadth also lies in its variety. The microfilms contain public records, government documents, rare serials and newspapers. Press clippings that date back to the 1960s were painstakingly extracted from local newspapers by the library to augment the collection. There are also dictionaries, directories and other official publications.

As part of the NUS Libraries, and thus to support the research needs and goals of the University, the collection also contains theses and academic exercises in the humanities and social sciences submitted to the University, and also its predecessors, Nanyang University and Singapore University. Foreign university theses are also in the collection if they are on topics that pertain to Singapore and Malaysia. This enables the collection to provide a well-rounded academic fundament upon which current and future researchers in NUS can draw and build upon.

The Singapore//Malaysia Collection is an excellent complement to the National Library's collection on Singapore and Southeast Asia, and together the two make for a magnificent resource for researchers interested in Singapore and the region, and forms an important part of our national heritage.

Content updated on 06 Sep 2011

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