Hidden Gems: 4 Public Service portals you never knew

Text by Tuber



1. Oral History Interviews @ Archives Online

By the National Archives Singapore

“I deliberately in this issue went against the instructions because it wasn’t for the good of my girls and I would take the consequences. … Of course, I got called up for going against instructions, but nothing was done. I wasn’t penalised because I could always appeal to the Minister. And so I was just told off for being disobedient. [laughter]”

Mary Quintal, the first female Assistant Superintendent of Police, on redesigning women’s police uniforms, recorded in 1999

If you’re researching on public officers, there’s a treasure trove of stories in the Public Service collection of Oral History Interviews. Listen to the life stories of long-time diplomat Ambassador Barry Desker or renowned forensic pathologist, the late Professor Chao Tzee Cheng. Other collections include the accounts of Japanese Occupation survivors; workers in vanishing trades; and pioneers in the legal, medical and social sectors. With more than 3,000 interviews digitised, you can listen to them anytime, anywhere. If you prefer reading, transcripts are available too.

Stream their stories at bit.ly/oralhistorycentre


2. Virtual Union Catalogue

By the National Library Board

Looking for a book from the National Library, but can’t find the title in its catalogue? You can search across the library catalogues of 12 universities, polytechnics and research institutes using the Virtual Union Catalogue. If you want to reference, say, Serving Singapore: A Handbook for New Entrants, a 1995 guide for new public officers, a quick search shows that the National Library has two copies while the National University of Singapore has one.

Try it for yourself at vuc.sg


A 2017 map (top) and a 1975 map, where the Istana is shown with a handwritten label. In the green circle (marked “2”) are two user-submitted photographs of Plaza Singapura mall from 1977 and 1991. The names of several schools – Nan Hwa Girls’ High School, San Shan Chinese School, Trinity Theological College and Methodist Girls’ School – are visible in the Mt. Sophia area on the 1975 map.

3. One Historical Map

By the National Heritage Board and the Singapore Land Authority

Marvel at Singapore’s old buildings, the names of roads paved over, and the progress in map-making. One Historical Map, an SG50 project, overlays images and maps of Singapore from the past with the map of present-day Singapore. View a collection of street maps from 1966 that are geo-referenced (i.e., pinned according to location) with hundreds of photos of how Singapore used to look like. And if you have photos of old Singapore, it only takes a few seconds to create an account and upload your photo to the portal.

See how Singapore has changed at ohm.onemap.sg


4. eCitizen Ideas! Portal

By Government Technology Agency

Want to co-create with citizens, but not sure how to start? Go to eCitizen Ideas! to see how other public agencies have done it. On the one-stop portal, public agencies can run crowdsourcing challenges – e.g., hackathons, video submissions, idea generation – and put up problem statements for citizens to respond to. Launched in June 2017 with improved navigation and features like topic categorisation, the revamped portal lets citizens easily track the challenges that interest them and log in via their social media accounts to be part of the co-creation community.

To find out more, write to info@tech.gov.sg or visit http://ideas.ecitizen.sg

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