Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Food For Thought But No Makan

Visit the PicturesSG site
I have discovered the PicturesSG web site which I would recommend to anyone with an interested in Singapore's social history.

The eleven categories in the collection give a good overview of the country's development and visitors are encouraged to tag images which will help reserachers compile more information on the image concerned.

I did a search using the tag 'Queenstown' to see what they had in their databases. There were 29 results, mainly architectural at this stage of the collections development. A search of 'makan' revealed nothing and given the national obsession with eating houses past and present I would have thought that at least a few& pictures would be tagged using this term?

The English term 'food' yielded what I expected for the above (see screenshot right) so I hope the National Library's metadata policy does not exclude local terminology.

One would have to hope though that they will also be able to pull in images from other sources and collections.

For example the Heritage Board's YesterdaySG site is an excellent reference point and draws contributions from bloggers with images and stories to tell about Singapore's past.

The Story of Lorong Mydin is one of a series in Pixels and Grains and Clarice Theo's contributions are first class, as are those by Noel Tan.

But there are other sources for images both contemporary and historical which should be captured or at the  very least integrated into the national Library's collection.

Here are a couple more.  HistoryPin promotes itself as a " a way for millions of people to come together, from across different generations, cultures and places, to share small glimpses of the past and to build up the huge story of human history"
It may not be loaded with Singapore information at the moment but I predict that it has that potential as it combines social media functionality with features such as a sliding timeline.

In a more contemporary vein is Woophy which has been up and running since 2004 and so has a wealth of imagery associated with a variety of countries, including a small portfolio of 700 plus photos of Singapore.

Of course one of the largest collections is that housed within the passworded boundaries of Flickr. In just two groups alone on this platform there are some 224,000 images some of which deserve to be filed for posterity. Another is Singapore Memories which shares 1,700 images of Singapore's social history.

Then of course there are blogs such as this one which record a snapshot of time.

Now somehow if the new PicturesSG could somehow harvest these images as well what a truly wonderful resource it would be. But at least its a good start and I congratulate the National Library Board for their initiative.
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