Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is OneSearch?

    OneSearch is an online search portal that helps you find information across a variety of resources from the National Library Board (NLB)'s libraries and archives databases as well as National Heritage Board (NHB)’s museum repository of artefacts and artworks.

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  2. What can I find on OneSearch?

    OneSearch can retrieve a wide range of digital content such as books, magazines, audio-visual materials, eBooks, photographs, films, oral history interviews and maps residing in the NLB's libraries and archives databases and NHB’s repository.

    The libraries' databases include:

    Library Catalogue Electronic directory of NLB's collection of physical books, journals, magazines, CDs and DVDs
    NLB Overdrive Online platform where eBooks, audiobooks, eFlicks can be borrowed
    BookSG Collection of digitised books and other printed materials related to Singapore and Southeast Asia
    Infopedia Electronic encyclopaedia of Singapore's history, culture, people and events
    MusicSG * Digital archive of musical works published in Singapore
    NewspaperSG * Digital archive of newspapers published between 1831 and 2009
    NORA Online platform to showcase literary works by prominent Singapore writers
    PictureSG Digital collection of pictures, photographs and artworks of Singapore from NLB, donors and partners
    Singapore Memory Project Online repository of stories, audio files, videos files and images about Singapore submitted by the public

    The archives' databases include:

    Audiovisual and Sound Recordings * Online platform where audiovisual and sound recordings of national and historical significance can be searched and short clips can be viewed or heard where copyrights permit.
    Government Records * Online platform where metadata of government files available for search can be found.
    Maps and Building Plans * Collection of maps and building plans that were mainly transferred from public sector agencies to National Archives of Singapore (NAS). These maps include hydrographic charts, topographic, survey, and historical maps while the building plans are of private properties dated before 1946.
    Oral History Interviews The collection covers personal accounts of a wide range of "subjects" ranging from political history, Japanese Occupation, businesses and trades, the arts, community history, education, sports, medicine, to personal narratives of daily lives.
    Photographs Digital collection of photographs transferred from public sector agencies or donated from private individuals or organisations to NAS.
    Posters Digital archive of national campaigns and other posters
    Speeches and Press Releases Electronic database of ministerial speeches and press releases from various public sector agencies.
    Straits Settlements, Overseas and Private Records * Collection of (i) records relating to British administration of the Straits Settlements from 1800 to 1946, (ii) private records such as diaries, minutes of meetings, reports and other records from individuals, clubs and organizations and (iii) copies of records acquired from overseas institutions.

    * Please also refer to Qtn 4 regarding the above records.

    The museum's database includes: Resource site for information on Heritage Trails, National Monuments, Museums and more.

    The gallery’s database includes:

    National Gallery Singapore Spydus Online catalogue of the gallery’s resource centre.

    You can also search various databases subscribed by NLB:


    OneSearch can search across various ebook collections from the NLB eBooks databases except ChildRoad Chinese Digital Library and TumbleBook Library.

    To search book titles in ChildRoad Chinese Digital Library and TumbleBook Library, please visit NLB eResources page.


    To minimise waiting time while searching on eJournals and databases, only a selection of databases is searched.

    To search other eJournals and databases subscribed by NLB, please visit NLB eResources page.

  3. How are the content organized?

    The content has been grouped into nine categories to help you navigate across the various types of content easily.

    The nine categories are:

    Audiovisuals Audiovisual and sound recordings and oral history interviews from the libraries, archives and museums can be found here. Highlights include public service broadcasts, Singapore related music, dialect Rediffusion broadcasts, home movies and audiovisual materials from the public libraries.
    Books Physical books, e-Books and digitized copies of rare Singapore and Southeast Asia’s print material can be searched here.
    eJournals A selection of databases subscribed by NLB will be searched here. Refer to Qtn 2 for the list of databases.
    Images Pictures, paintings, posters, maps and building plans from the libraries, archives and museums databases can be located here.
    Magazines & Articles Electronic articles about Singapore, publicly submitted personal narratives and physical copies of magazines from the NLB can be found here.
    Newspapers Digitized copies of Singapore newspapers published between 1831 and 2009 can be located here.
    Records & Papers Past government records, speeches and press releases and Straits Settlements, overseas and private records can be searched here.
    Physical Objects Digitized artefacts and artworks from the museums can be found here. Some highlights include Perankan wedding slippers, dragon robe from Kangxi period and Missing, an installation art by Amanda Heng.
    Websites Archived copies of Singapore related websites that NLB received permission to make a copy of can be found here.

  4. Can I access all library and archive content from home?

    Due to copyright and permissions policies, access to some content is limited from home.

    Accessing full records from the archives

    NAS holdings where only the metadata is available online include (i) private and overseas records, (ii) Straits Settlements records, (iii) government records and (iv) selected building plans. For such records that cannot be viewed online, researchers are advised to call and arrange with the Archives Reading Room (ARR) at the National Archives of Singapore to view the access copies of the records subject to clearance from donors or transferring agencies. Researchers will also have to visit the ARR to view the full length of audiovisual recordings and listen to selected oral history interviews that are not available online due to copyright restrictions or conditions imposed by interviewees.

    Researchers can also access microfilmed copies of school records and cemetery records at the ARR.

    To find out the opening hours and contact details of NAS's Archives Reading Room, visit here.

    Accessing full records from libraries

    To access the full copies of records from MusicSG and NewspaperSG, please visit any of the Public Libraries or the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. We have set up dedicated multimedia stations where you may do your research.

    Find out the opening hours and addresses of the Public Libraries and for the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library by following the corresponding links.

    For details on the access of the respective databases you may want to visit our eResources website.

  5. Do I need to login in order to use OneSearch?

    Access to most of the ebook and eJournal databases is restricted to NLB members only. For the best experience, it is ideal that you are logged in so that eJournal and databases subscribed by NLB can be searched. In addition, your book reservation and borrowing experience can be streamlined.

    The search feature will however work even without login. You will be prompted to login as NLB member when you select to view the details of a subscribed ebook/e-journal.

  6. How do I search for items in OneSearch?

    Simply enter your keyword(s) in the search box. The search engine will retrieve results containing your search terms.

    Below are some ways to further specify your search terms:

    Exact Phrases To search an exact phrase, place quotation marks around your search terms, for example "Singapore River".
    Boolean Operators

    You can use also the Boolean operator OR to expand your search. E.g. kampong OR kampung will retrieve articles containing the words kampong or kampung.

    Alternatively, you can use the Boolean operator NOT to narrow your search. E.g. kallang NOT airport will retrieve articles about Kallang but not Kallang Airport.

    Advanced Search Clicking on the Advanced Search link will reveal options to narrow down your search. You are able to specify searching in Title, Creator, Subject or Publisher as well as selecting one of the categories of content such as Books, Newspapers, etc.

  7. How do I narrow my search results?

    You may narrow your search results by using the refine search tool located on the left side of the search results page. The refine search tool lists the various result filters (i.e. types, subject, publisher, language, etc) that can be used to narrow search results.

    The refine search tool should be used after you have entered a search term and retrieved a large number of results. To reduce the number of results retrieved, you may select the desired filter(s) available in the list of filters. Each filter provides an indicator of the number of search results which can be narrowed into.

    Upon selection of a filter, the filter will appear in the middle of the results listing. You may apply more than one filter to the results. To remove a filter, simply click on the Remove Filter icon icon beside the filter.

  8. How can I submit a feedback or a question?

    To send us your feedback, simply leave your comments or suggestions in the Feedback page.

    Ask a Librarian is a service that the public can ask (1) questions about their library account, library programmes & facilities, (2) for advice on books to read or (3) for help on research topic on SG/SEA.

    These two links can also be found at the bottom of the OneSearch website.

  9. How can I collaborate with NLB and OneSearch?

    We seek mutually beneficial partnerships with organizations and businesses that will serve our users. Contact us to explore partnership opportunities.

    To find out areas of collaborations, please view our Partnership page.