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CDNLAO Newsletter

No. 95, February 2020

Special topic: Research in library and information service

Research in Information Service and Client Research Services at the National Library, Singapore

By Anasuya Soundararajan, Manager (Research) and Darren Seow, Senior Librarian (Research), National Library Board, Singapore

The National Library, Singapore is the custodian of Singapore's documentary heritage that also provides reference and research services to its users, including students, businesses, researchers and the general public. In addition to these user groups, the National Library, Singapore also embarks on research for its own library community as well as for government ministries, statutory boards and other government agencies.

Research for the Library Community

In order to help library management staff and librarians keep abreast of trends and the latest developments in libraries and librarianship, the research arm of the National Library, Singapore works beyond the perennial topics of digital humanities, digital curation and librarianship. Its varying research topics include digital privacy, digitisation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, gamification, connected learning, experiential retail, fast casual and the global information economy.

The team is currently focusing their research on digital marketing strategy comprising the best practices and archetypes of digital marketing arising from digital natives and legacy pipeline firms. Other areas examined include digital marketing maturity, digital customer orientation, omni-channel marketing, social media marketing and digital transformation.

In the digital age, consumers expect engagement, instant fulfilment and personalised experiences. Libraries can learn from digital natives who leverage on digital technologies and resources, such as web analytics, social media and mobile platforms, to create differentiated and sustainable value for customers. As customers want integrated solutions and a seamless experience, libraries can adopt a "customer journey" mentality throughout the entire organisation to meet their needs. Libraries can also learn from omni-channel businesses who integrate their digital and physical spaces seamlessly.

Research Service for Government Agencies

Besides internal research needs, the research team at National Library, Singapore has also been offering a customised research service to government agencies since 1999. The research service seeks to provide relevant and timely information to help government agencies:

  • Formulate policies
  • Make informed decisions
  • Discover or identify new trends or developments
  • Identify best practices
  • Conduct benchmarking
  • Carry out scenario planning

The research service not only saves time and effort for government agencies, but also offers access to accurate, relevant and easily accessible information. The subscription service, where clients pay an annual fee, offers research reports, on-demand searches, industry trend alerts and industry digests, based on the topics requested by the individual government agency.

One of the flagship products of the team is the Industry Trend Alert. A team of researchers report on the latest trends and new developments in specific subject areas of interest to the respective organisations that subscribe to the service, as well as point them to essential literature and resources.

Trend Alert Sources

The team draws from a rich array of print and non-print resources to provide clients and the library community with the most relevant and timely information. These resources include electronic versions of books, journals, newspaper articles, databases, as well as online information from authoritative web sources. Web sources include government publications, reports from think tanks, as well as online journals. Database articles are selected from the National Library Board's eResources 1, which comprise around 150 databases on the arts, humanities, sciences, technology and business. Researchers then narrow in on relevant databases based on the information needs of the client.


< The eResources website >

The team continues to engage with its clients and internal users to obtain regular feedback on the relevance and usefulness of the trend alerts as well as to keep up with changing information needs.

1 National Library Board (NLB) provides access to eResources such as journals, newspapers, magazines and eBooks through a one-stop platform that is free to all NLB members.


Copyright (C) 2020 National Library Board, Singapore