ST: Local blogs being added to S'pore's historical archives (Jan 7)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Local blogs being added to S'pore's historical archives
by Keith Lin, Straits Times, Jan 7, 2008

HOME-GROWN blogs are making history, literally.

The National Library Board (NLB) is adding blogs to Singapore's historical archives as part of its efforts to retain a comprehensive record of online content.

In all, the library aims to archive some 100 blogs by the end of the year.

Eleven have been selected so far, ranging from offerings such as Air-Conditioned Nation (http:// cherian.blogspot. com) by media academic Cherian George, to the satirical Mr Brown (

Mr Raju Buddharaju, the library's director of digital resources and services, described blogs as an 'invaluable' source of news and social commentary for
the present and future generations of Singaporeans.

'Content from blogs often offers views which would otherwise not be accessible from mainstream media,' he said.

Even so, the library is selective when it comes to deciding which blogs to archive.

Only those produced by individuals who are recognised experts in their respective fields of knowledge, famous personalities or award-winning blogs will be considered, Mr Raju said.

The library will take digital snapshots of the selected blogs at least once a year and post their contents on its web archive - available at sg. Access is open and free to the public.

Assistant Professor Lim Sun Sun, who teaches new media studies at the National University of Singapore, described the NLB's efforts as 'far-sighted' .

'This affirms the importance of blogs in adding to the public sphere and contributing to the growth of public discussion,' she said.

The move towards an official repository of blogs marks the second phase of the NLB's efforts to document online media.

Its web archiving project, which began in October 2006, targeted websites initially. So far, around 25,000 local websites of social and historical value have been recorded.

The NLB's eventual goal is to archive most, if not all, websites in the .sg domain - which are those registered here - by 2010.

Archiving of online material is not unique to Singapore. China and Japan have similar archives, and popular search engines Google and Yahoo also archive selected free online news articles.

Yawningbread. org, a prominent blog championing gay rights, is also being archived by the NLB. The blog's founder Alex Au said he is 'honoured' to be included.

'It shows that the Government considers even blogs known for their dissenting articles as valuable material for our future generations, ' he said.

Said Dr George, who has three blogs looking at various aspects of Singapore media and politics in the archives: 'This is not about the authorities giving legitimacy to individual blogs.

'It is part of a welcome movement in Singapore to recognise the value of multiple perspectives in telling the Singapore story.'