Proposed Amendments to the National Library Board Act

National Library Board

National Library Board – National Library & Archives

Consultation Period: 13 Nov 2017 - 13 Dec 2017
Status: Closed - Summary of Responses
Consultation Outcome

Issued by the National Library Board

25 January 2018

1 The National Library Board (NLB) held a public consultation exercise on the proposed amendments to the NLB Act from 13 November to 13 December 2017.

2 The purpose of the consultation is to seek feedback on NLB’s proposed changes to the NLB Act, which would extend the scope of the National Library’s Legal Deposit function to include digital materials and web archiving. This is so that Singapore's digital published heritage can be collected, preserved and made accessible for present and future generations.

3 A total of three written submissions were received from this consultation exercise – two from publishing companies and one from a member of the public. 

4 NLB has reviewed the submissions received and provided our responses in the table below.


5 NLB has also consulted publishers, academics, researchers, writers and librarians in November 2017 and there was broad support for the proposed amendments. The feedback received included the need to strike a balance between publishers’ interests and researchers' needs in the provision of access to archived materials, as well as the need to consider archiving non .sg websites that also contain Singapore content.
6 NLB would like to thank all stakeholders and members of the public who provided feedback and comments on the proposed amendments to the NLB Act. We will take into consideration the feedback in the finalisation of the proposed amendments. The NLB Act is targeted to be tabled in Parliament in the first half of this year.

Detailed Description


1. The National Library Board (NLB) would like to invite members of the public to provide feedback on proposed amendments to the NLB Act; with corresponding amendments to the Copyright Act where necessary.


2. The National Library safeguards the published heritage of Singapore. This is carried out through the deposit of materials published in Singapore as set out under the NLB Act. Known as Legal Deposit, this function ensures that Singapore’s published heritage is collected, preserved for posterity and made accessible for present and future generations.

3. Legal Deposit is presently limited to materials in a physical form. However, as more materials are increasingly published only in a digital form, it is vital for NLB to expand the scope of Legal Deposit to collect and preserve Singapore’s digital published heritage as well. This has already been done by many national libraries around the world such as in New Zealand in 2003, Canada in 2004, France in 2006, South Korea in 2009, Japan in 2012, United Kingdom in 2013, Australia in 2015, and Spain in 2015.


4. The key revisions to the NLB Act with corresponding changes to the Copyright Act, where necessary, are listed below.

Extend the scope of Legal Deposit to include digital materials

5. Currently, any material published in Singapore for sale or public distribution such as printed books, magazines, journals, newspapers, musical scores, maps, as well as audio-visual materials (e.g. vinyl, cassettes, CDs, DVDs) are deposited with NLB.  Two copies are to be deposited within four weeks of publication. 

6. The extended scope of Legal Deposit will cover such locally produced materials in the electronic format that are for sale or public distribution only on websites or other digital platforms. One copy of any such materials in the electronic format is to be deposited within four weeks of publication. 

7. If the same content is published both in physical (e.g. printed book) and electronic form (e.g. electronic book), both forms are to be deposited with NLB. 

8. Access to digital materials may sometimes be controlled by use of technological protection measures (TPMs) that are applied by publishers e.g. through passwords. Deposited digital materials must be free from any such TPMs so that NLB is able to reformat the content from time to time as technology changes over time. This will allow for preservation and enable continued access for posterity. 

Empower NLB to archive websites registered under .sg domain 

9. Web archiving is the process of gathering data that has been published on the World Wide Web at a specific point in time using automated web crawlers. Website contents are downloaded, stored and preserved in archived files, which can then be made available for future research. 

10. NLB will be web archiving .sg websites registered under the Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC). Only .sg websites that are freely accessible to the public will be web archived. 

11. Websites outside the .sg domain registered with SGNIC, intranet websites, password protected websites and those behind paywalls will not be automatically web archived by NLB. However, NLB notes that some of these websites contain valuable content about Singapore or may be owned or created by notable Singapore-based personalities or organisations. In such cases, NLB will send a request to selected website owners for permission to archive. 

12. The default is to web archive each .sg website once a year. Selected websites will be archived quarterly or more frequently when there is a need to capture milestone events. 

13. Robot Exclusion Protocol (REP) or “robots.txt” is a standard used by website owners to inform web crawlers not to archive all or certain parts of a website. Bypassing REPs is standard practice by many libraries across the world, including the Library of Congress, National Library of New Zealand, and National Library of Australia. This will be necessary for Singapore as well, otherwise, many .sg websites cannot be preserved.

Allow NLB to digitise, copy, preserve and give access to the deposited materials and web archives

14. Materials in a physical form can deteriorate and materials in the electronic form can be subject to both technological obsolescence and deterioration or damage of the storage media or system. For long term preservation of materials and to enable research on the content, the NLB will need to have the ability to digitise, copy, preserve and give access to the materials in its collections.

15. Digital materials, including archived websites, will not be automatically made accessible to the public and will be governed by NLB’s access policies and digital rights management. Unless permission is given by copyright owners, access will generally be given at library premises only where no downloading or printing will be permitted.  Two concurrent users will be able to view a particular item at any one time.


16. The public consultation will be from 13 November 2017 – 13 December 2017.


17. We welcome your views on the above proposal. To ensure that the consultation exercise is productive and focused, we would like to request that those submitting views follow these guidelines:

a) Identify yourself and the organisation you represent (if applicable) to enable us to follow up and seek clarification, if necessary; 

b) Write your comments in a clear and concise manner; and

c) Provide explanations for suggestions made.

18. Please send your submissions to with the subject “Public Consultation on Proposed Amendments to the NLB Act”

19. We will not be able to individually acknowledge and address every feedback received. We will consolidate and publish a summary of comments received and our responses, on the REACH website. The summary will not disclose the identity of the person(s) providing the feedback.