Category Archives: Resources

Highlights from NUS Libraries’ collection – The Fabric of the Human Body

One of the prized possessions of the NUS Medical library is the, The Fabric of the Human Body, an annotated translation the 16th century book, De humani corporis fabrica by Andreas Vesalius.

The original was published in Latin 500 years ago when Vesalius, considered the father of modern anatomy, was just 28 years old. It was the most detailed and accurately illustrated atlas of the human body of its time because very few physicians dissected human bodies before the late 15th century.

It is extolled as “probably the most influential of all medical works” by The Oxford Medical Companion and “the greatest medical work ever printed by Sir William Osler.

In today’s era of highly precise medical illustrations and digital cadavers, this book still resonates with readers in the 21st century for many reasons.

It is now available in English for the very first time so knowledge of Latin is no longer required. The translation of the book is hailed as a scholarly achievement in itself and is largely a result of twenty years of painstaking work by Northwestern University Professors Emeritus Daniel H. Garrison and Malcolm H. Hast.

Vesalius was a courageous and unconventional man who obtained bodies of executed criminals and robbed graves for dissection. He questioned the authority on anatomy then, Galen, whose text was largely based on the dissection of animals. The dialogue and footnotes in the translation preserves Vesalius’ account and captures the tensions inherent in describing science in 16th century Renaissance when scientific advances were made in many fields.

The illustrations provided by the more than 200 woodcuts in the original are now available in the new book as high-resolution digital scans which have unprecedented clarity.

The book looks like a modern textbook with easy referencing to previous chapters and editions and has explanation for all its diagrams. Weighing a massive 16 kg, this two-volume tome is the heaviest book in the Medical Library collection.


The frontispiece On the Fabric of the Human Body: Dissection by Vesalius as his students observed.


The 2014 edition in English with annotation is in two volumes and weighs 16kg.

The fabric of the human body: an annotated translation of the 1543 and 1555 editions / by Daniel H. Garrison, Malcolm H. Hast is available at Medical Reference 7 Call No: QM25 Ves 2014

R Sukanya Naidu

Medical Resource Librarian

NUS Libraries 110C team

Japanese and Chinese comparative Literature Series (In Japanese)

This set of series was compiled and edited by the Wakan Comparative Literature Association, Japan, and published by Kyūko Shoin. It consists of scholarly essays as well as reference bibliographies and collection catalogues.

The Wakan Comparative Literature Association mobilized all members to source for the research materials necessary for this series, hence making its compilation possible. At the same time, 150 members were involved in the writing of this series. It took the Association eight years to publish this series.

The publication of the series takes place in two phases. Phase I (volumes 1 to 8) comprises comparative literature from ancient times to the early modern period, whereas phase II (volumes 9 to 18) comprises comparative literature of various genres.

You may like to click on the following links to view the bibliographic records and the table of contents of this series:

Wa-Kan hikaku bungaku sōsho / Wa-Kan hikaku bungaku gakkai hen. – Tokyo : Kyūko Shoin, 1986-1994. (18 volumes)

v.1. Wa-Kan hikaku bungaku kenkyū no kōsō – v.2.Jōdai bungaku to Kanbungaku  – v.3-4.Chūko bungaku to Kanbungaku – v.5-6. Chūsei bungaku to Kan bungaku– v.7.Kinsei bungaku to Kanbungaku – v.8.  Wa-Kan hikaku bungaku kenkyū no shomondai – v.9.Man’yōshū to Kanbungaku – 10.Kiki to Kanbungaku – v.11. Kokinshū to Kanbungaku– v.12. Genji monogatari to Kanbungaku – v.13. Shin kokinshū to Kanbungaku – v.14. Setsuwa bungaku to Kanbungaku – v.15. Gunki to Kanbungaku– v.16. Haikai to Kanbungaku – v.17.Edo shōsetsu to Kanbungaku – v.18. Wa-Kan hikaku bungaku no shūhen









和汉比较文学丛书 / 和汉比较文学会编. — 东京:  汲古书院, 1986-1994. (共十八卷)
v.1. 和汉比文学的构想 – v.2.上代文学与汉文学 –v.3-4.中古文学与汉文学 – v.5-6.中世文学与漢文学– v.7.近世文学与漢文学 – v.8. 和汉比较文学研究的诸问题 – v.9.万叶集与漢文学 – 10.记纪与漢文学 – v.11.古今集与漢文学– v.12.源氏物语与漢文学 – v.13. 新古今集与漢文学 – v.14. 说话文学与漢文学 – v.15.军记与漢文学– v.16.俳谐与漢文学 – v.17.江户小说与漢文学 – v.18. 和汉比较文学与周边

Celebrating NUS110 & SG50 through music


As NUS celebrates its 110th year of founding and Singapore’s 50th year of independence, we are proud to display the musical works of local composers and performers in the Music Library. Among the many talents, musicians described here are only some examples like many others who have contributed to teaching, composing and performing through their music. Zubir Said, Leong Yoon Pin, Margaret Tan, Lynnette Seah, Goh Soon Tioe and Vivien Goh, among others, received the Cultural Medallion in recognition of their services and contributions to the community.


Zubir Said

Zubir Said was primarily remembered for composing Singapore’s national anthem, “Majulah Singapura” (“Onward Singapore”). His songs were traditional and patriotic, and his music evoked a sense of national pride. In recognition of his contributions to the State, Zubir was conferred the Sijil Kemuliaan (Certificate of Honour) on 16 March 1963 and the Bintang Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Star) in the same year. In 1971, he received the Jasawan Seni (Cultural Medallion) award from eight Malay cultural organizations. He also received the Asean Cultural and Communications Award in 1987. In addition, the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees (AUPE) awarded him the Certificate of Commendation for composing the AUPE song. In 1995, Zubir was posthumously given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS). The address of the permanent campus for the School of the Arts, 1 Zubir Said Drive, is in honor of the late composer.


Leong Yoon Pin

Leong Yoon Pin started his career as an educator at the Teachers’ Training College in 1951. He held various positions, as lecturer and later as Head of Music, when the College was renamed the Institute of Education. Through his roles as Arts Advisor to the National Arts Council, National Institute of Education and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, he was involved in charting the course of the local music and music education. Though he took on many roles namely as composer, educator and conductor, Leong was mainly known as a composer.  As a conductor, Leong founded and conducted the Rediffusion Youth Choir in 1951, and later the Metro Philharmonic Society in 1959. He was appointed Resident Conductor of the National Theatre Orchestra in 1969 and was Resident Conductor of the Singapore National Theatre from 1977 until 1979. In 2000, he was the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s first Composer-in-Residence. Leong was honored with the Cultural Medallion in 1982, the Bintang Bakti Masyarakat (BBM) in 2005 and the COMPASS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.


Lynnette Seah

Lynnette Seah was only 21 when she joined the newly formed Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) in 1979 as a violinist. She rose from deputy leader to associate leader and finally co-leader. In 1987, Lynnette, together with three other SSO violinists, formed the SSO String Quartet. When the SSO celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2009, Lynnette took center stage with her solo performance of German composer Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. She serves as an ambassador for classical music in Singapore and is also involved in nurturing the next generation of musicians, conducting masterclasses for violinists of all ages. Lynnette was presented the Cultural Medallion in 2006 and honored with the inaugural Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame Award in March 2014.


Margaret Tan

The Singapore-born but New York-based Margaret Tan has established herself as a major force in the American avant-garde through her boundary-defying contributions on both the piano and toy piano. Hailed as the “diva of avant-garde pianism” by the New Yorker magazine and the “queen of the toy piano” by The New York Times, she is also a renowned John Cage interpreter.  Margaret became the first woman to receive a Julliard doctorate in 1971, and is a leading figure in experimental music.  She has accompanied the New York Philharmonic, is the first Singaporean soloist to play at Carnegie Hall and received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the State University of New York in 2011. Like Lynnette Seah, Margaret was also inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014.


Goh Soon Tioe

Musicians Goh Soon Tioe and his daughter, Vivien, were also honored for their services and contributions to music. In his illustrious teaching years, Goh Soon Tioe produced Singapore’s musical prodigies like Dick Lee, Lynnette Seah, Kam Kee Yong, Seow Yit Kin, Melvyn Tan, Choo Hoey and Lim Soon Lee. He had a successful musical career as Conductor of the Singapore Youth Symphony Orchestra between 1971 and 1975, and founded the Goh Soon Tioe String Orchestra. He was awarded Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Meritorious Service Medal) for his achievements and contributions to Singapore.


Vivien Goh

Much like her father Goh Soon Tioe, Vivien is an accomplished violinist.  She too played a key role in the development of classical music in Singapore. She is best known for her contributions to music education during her time as music director and conductor of the Singapore Youth Orchestra. For her contributions to Singapore’s classical music education, Vivien was awarded the Cultural Medallion for Music in 1983.


Do check out the works by these musicians and more in the library as we celebrate NUS110 and SG50!


~NUS Music Library

Ah Ku and Karayuki-San: Prostitution in Singapore 1870–1940

First published in 1993, Ah Ku and Karayuki-San explores the life of prostitutes in pre-war Singapore. Together with James F. Warren’s other book, Rickshaw Coolie: A People’s History of Singapore 1880–1940, both books ventured into the social histories of Singapore’s past that has long been neglected by official discourse and by other historians of Singapore.

In Ah Ku and Karayuki-San, Warren studied the lives of two groups of prostitutes, the Ah Ku, which refers to Chinese (mostly Cantonese) prostitutes, and the Karayuki-san, the Japanese prostitutes. Using an impressive array of sources such as newspapers, oral histories, photos, newspapers, police and government documents and particularly, the coroner’s reports, Warren traced the life, or rather, the tragic deaths of these prostitutes. He divides the book into two sections: “Brothel Prostitution in Singapore” focuses on the institutions of prostitution and the city of Singapore, with chapters on migration, patriarchy, hierarchy, procurement, followed by a section “Ah Ku and Karayuki-San”, which focused on the individuals, bringing forth the life stories of the prostitutes who worked in Singapore. In the latter section, the chapters include the life-cycle of prostitutes and the concept of a brothel ‘family’.

This book represents an important attempt to write an ‘alternative’ history of Singapore, where the testimonies and narratives of the subaltern, the invisible and the powerless has a place in Singapore history despite the hegemonic dominance of a history writing that only records for posterity, those who are articulate and powerful.

More importantly, Warren reminds us of the human cost and the underside of Singapore’s economic success. Vice was part and parcel of Singapore’s histories, and as students of history, we should be sensitive to sacrifices made by people who got the short end of the straw of life.





Photo of a newly-arrived karayuki-san circa 1900s, from p. 209 of the book.




Ah Ku and Karayuki-san: Prostitution in Singapore, 1870-1940 by James F. Warren [Call no. HQ 255.12 War 2003]. See

Rickshaw Coolie: A People’s History of Singapore (1880-1940) by James F. Warren [Call no. HD8039 Ric.W 2003]. See



Han Ming Guang.

History Resource Librarian

NUS Libraries 110C team

Highlights from NUS Libraries’ collection – Singapore’s landscape transformation and urban planning

For anyone who has lived in Singapore for any number of years, it is difficult not to have an opinion of the relentless change in the physical landscape. There are 3 ‘must-read’ books if you want to understand the rationale that lies behind Singapore’s landscape transformation and urban planning. The first two books are Urban Planning in Singapore: Transformation of a City (1999) by Ole Dale, and The Politics of Urban Development in Singapore by Robert Gamer (1972). Both books will give you a historical perspective of the early days of urban planning during the ‘self-rule’ years (1958–63) and the period immediately after Independence (1963–80).

Ole Dale traces the work of urban planners in Singapore from the colonial period to post independence. A newly-elected government of an aspiring new nation faced pressing and complex issues as there were a large number of squatters in the city because jobs and employment opportunities were concentrated along the Singapore River. Living conditions in Chinatown and central areas such as Beach Road and along the Kallang River were overcrowded and unsanitary. In addition, these places were fertile for vice activities involving drugs, robbery and gambling. Not surprisingly, public housing and building infrastructure to connect the ‘New Towns’ dominated the planner’s agenda for more than 25 years.

There was also the difficult job of convincing society of the government’s intentions to improve living and working conditions in the effort to ‘modernise’ Singapore, as demonstrated in Gamer’s case study of Kallang River Basin in the second book. Resettlement of a significant number of people is never popular or easy thing to do at any time, and on more than one occasion, the government had to backtrack or slow certain plans in order to deal with the citizenry’s accusation of the government’s discrimination and hidden agenda.


p46(2008) e


The third book, Singapore: an atlas of perpetual territorial transformation by Rodolphe de Koninck, Julie Drolet and Marc Girard (2008) provides a visual view of the effect of state planning from the self-rule years until 2006. Despite the slim volume, the geographer’s perspective of land use and landscape transformation due to human activity is profound and goes beyond the physical boundary of the Singapore city state.

From the 1960s, urban planning was primarily used by governments around the world to control and regulate the land use in its cities and urban areas. In Singapore, an island-nation of 720 km2 (increasing every year due to reclamation), urban planning was employed extensively during the nation-building years to expedite the singular goal of modernising the city, promote the nation’s economic competitiveness and international image to attract investment capital. And it succeeded beyond all expectations.

Urban Planning in Singapore: Transformation of a city [call no. HT169.12 Dal], The Politics of Urban Development in Singapore [call no. HT175.12 Gam], and Singapore: an atlas of perpetual territorial transformation [call no. G8040 Kon 2008] can be found in the Singapore-Malaysia collection in Central Library.


Winnifred Wong

SDE Resource Librarian

NUS Libraries 110C team

Sonnets from the Singlish

What’s a good book to kick off a social media campaign in celebration of NUS’ 110th anniversary? Well, finding one is akin to locating a needle in a haystack for a variety of reasons. One, you’re simply spoilt for choice. Two, I feel obliged to pick a book that highlights the English Language and Literature collection (ELL) since I am the resource librarian for this area after all, and three, I am still overwhelmed by the number of possibilities.


A little book of 44 poems, Sonnets from the Singlish written by local poet Joshua Ip, is entirely about Singapore. If you were born and bred in this country, you should recognize Ip’s anecdotes within his witty sonnets. It is a good book to represent the ELL collection because you could study the language used in the poems, analyze the iambic pentameter in the sonnets, or as Ip suggests, perform a reading of the poems using a Singaporean accent.


Don’t expect to read 44 poems written in Singlish, or 44 Singlish sonnets. In fact, Ip has described the book as “riffing off Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese (also 44 sonnets).” But Ip does better. He mixes pop culture — mostly local, and some international with a local twist — while discussing local issues, and subtly expressing his opinions about local affairs; matters that are often uniquely Singaporean.


I found myself turning the pages to catch on as many of Ip’s references as possible, and sometimes try to guess what exactly he is referring to in the poetry. One of my favorite poems is how he has transformed all four books of Twilight into a four-part horror poem about a female jiangshi, the vampire or zombie in Chinese folklore. Here is an excerpt tickled me:


i write your name upon the yellow charm

and press it to your forehead with a kiss –


come, we move by night. i dare not stop

till dawn. we have a thousand miles to hop.


I was able to catch some other references in his book, namely the local ice-cream man (not the owner of the fancy ice-cream franchise at the mall, but the guy ringing his bell at his mobile cart), gambling, BGR (boy-girl relationships), traffic conditions, online gaming, government scholars, wedding banquets, and of course, a token sonnet written entirely in Singlish just to satisfy readers’ expectation.


For those who are not local, fret not! Ip has kindly provided notes on the Singlish or colloquial terms he has used in his work.



Sonnets from the Singlish (call no. is PL5150 Ip.S 2012) is available at the Central Library at the main shelf and the Singapore-Malaysia collection.


Raven Sim

ELL Resource Librarian

NUS Libraries 110C team

The oldest Japanese Bible

The oldest Japanese Bible Yohane no fukuin den (约翰福音之传, John Gospel) was translated by the British missionaries Karl Friedrich August Gützlaff (1803 -1851)between 1835-1836. He did the translation with the assistance of three Japanese sailors, namely Iwakichi, Hisakichi & Otokichi . The translation work was completed in Macau and was published in Singapore by the Mission Press in 1837.


Besides Yohane no fukuin den , Gützlaff also translated Yohane jo chu ge sho (约翰福音上中下书, Letters by John).  Both books were published in Singapore in 1837.  It is said that 1690 copies of Yohane no fukuin den were printed then, but there are only 16 copies extant to date.  On the other hand, 2 copies of Yohane jo chu ge sho remain extant, one of which is kept in the British Library collection, while the other is in Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.


The title Gyutsurafu yaku seisho (ギュツラフ訳聖書, Gützlaff translated Bible) is currently kept in the NUS Chinese Library Rare Book Collection. The title consists of 3 volumes which are Yohane no fukuin den, Yohane jo chu ge sho and commentary by Takaya Michio and Akiyama Norie.  This set was published as a limited edition (limited to 300 sets) by Tokyo Shinban Shuppansha in 1976.

CommentaryJohn GospelLetters by John

7 Things Freshmen Should Know But Usually Don’t

1. Your library pin is your smartcard pin

You probably know your NUSNET ID, since without it, you can’t access your NUS email as well as the all-important IVLE. But a surprising number of students don’t know their library PINs, which is the smartcard PIN issued during matriculation. The library PIN is needed for checking your loan record, renewing books and borrowing books using the self-service machines, among other things. You can retrieve it here.


2. RBR books can be borrowed overnight

Reserve Books/Readings (RBR) are highly sought after because they are recommended readings for various modules and can be borrowed only for 2 hours. However, few students know that they can borrow the an RBR book overnight just before the library closes and return it within one hour of the library’s opening the next day. For details look here.


3. Most books have a grace period

You probably know that the loan period for books is 14 days for undergraduates and 28 days for honours & graduate students. But did you know there is a grace period and that fines don’t start until the 4th day after the due date? Be careful to read the fine print (6. Rate of fines), as the grace period doesn’t apply to RBR books, 7-day loan books, bound journals and other materials.


4. You cannot renew an item if there is already a hold

Sure, you may know that you can renew books three times online, and you may even know how much extension a renewal gives. But what you may not know is that you cannot renew an item once there is a hold on it. That’s why it is a bad idea to bring books overseas for a long vacation as you cannot count on being able to renew the loan.


5. The proxy bookmarklet is your other friend

Google may be your friend, but what happens if it shows a journal article that requires you to pay? Instead of replicating your search in the catalogue, save time by using the proxy bookmarklet to access the article directly! Do note that the proxy bookmarklet only works on journals that the library subscribes to.

Using Google Scholar or PubMed instead? We have you covered as well. Also check out other useful search plugins that will allow you to access NUS Libraries resources seamlessly no matter where you are.


6. There are easier ways to cite and do referencing

We have quick guides to assist in referencing for various styles. But there are many ways to auto-enerate citations quickly. These range from using build-in functions in the library search engines, databases and Google Scholar, to using standalone citation builders you can find online. You can also consider learning how to use a full blown reference manager like EndNote (you can install this for free as a student or staff of NUS by following instructions in our EndNote guide), as these help you auto-insert citations into your Word documents.



7. Librarians have expertise and are here to help you

While librarians can’t do your homework, we can help you find books, papers and data sets relevant to your research and assignments. In addition, some of us are skilled in patent searching, use of reference managers, bibliometrics and may also have subject specific expertise. Contact your resource librarian today, or come for our orientations sessions to learn about using the library effectively for your assignments!


Tay Chee Hsien Aaron
Central Library

Eight Things You May Not Know About the Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library

Do You Know…?


…That the Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library (HSSML) has a seating capacity of more than 800? (Huat ah!) That makes us the third largest NUS library, after Central Library and Science Library.


…That HSSML has 12 discussion rooms open to all NUS students? They vary in size from small cozy rooms that seat about 4 people, to larger ones that can easily seat 12 to 15 people. (Big small bao ka liao!) Book them online via our Library Portal.


…That we have 8 study carrels for individual study purposes? (Again! Huat ah!) They are the row of small rooms on the second level. The carrels are open to all students, although priority of use goes to Business School students, especially graduate students. Borrow the carrel keys at the Loans Desk for 4 hours at a time.


…That we have a good collection of books on useful skills such as:

  • Managing personal finances
  • Resume/CV writing
  • Improving your IQ and EQ
  • Leading and managing people
  • Time management
  • Learning and studying skills


…That we not only have network computers, photocopiers and network printers, we also have colour printers that can print up to A3 size (great for poster sessions and presentations), and a scanner as well? Check out our Infocommons on the first level.


…That we have not 1 but 2 rooms for quiet study? The 3rd level Quiet Room is a “No-Click Zone” so students are advised not to use their laptops, mobile phones or other electronic devices there, ensuring a peaceful environment. Two sides of the room are floor-to-ceiling windows, so there is plenty of natural light. The 2nd level Quiet Room is tucked in a corner, away from the main reading area, and special carrel tables with high sides and front give students additional privacy. (Silence is golden.…)


…What this huge machine on the third floor does?

biz 1



This is an industrial sized dehumidifier. It keeps the air inside the library dry so that our books do not suffer from mildew and fungus. (Water may mean fortune in fengshui, but water in the library means we lose a fortune!)


…That we have a Hon Sui Sen Room? Mr Hon was one of our early Finance Ministers, and the library, auditorium, Conference Room on the third level, and even the small road between the Mochtar Riady Building and the Shaw Alumni House are all named in memory of him.


There you go, 8 facts you may not have known about Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library. While we primarily serve the students and staff of the Business School, we do have a plethora of resources that are useful to all NUS students and staff. Come visit us today!


— The Little Teapot

Online guide to music resources

Need resources in music for your assignment? Help is close at hand 24/7 with the music libguide .

Navigate your way with Library Tips to get started on how to use the library catalogue to find music scores and media materials. Search directly the appropriate Databases such as Oxford Music Online, Classical Scores Library, Naxos Music Library and Naxos Video Library.

You can also browse new music titles, other subjects of interest or create new titles alerts. If you use IE browser, you can select the “Add to Favourites Bar”. While setting up in IE browser, the shortcut will appear on your browser’s favourites bar. If there are newly published titles for the discipline selected, the shortcut bar will be displayed in bold. You can then click on the bar to retrieve a drop-down menu of the recently published titles.

Wish to explore Contemporary Repertoire to perform? Or perhaps need specific contemporary repertoire for Percussion, Piano, String or Brass?

Start with this libguide, whether you are new or looking for specific materials for your research.

P.S. If you are doing research on Singaporean composers, Music Library also has a growing collection of works by well-known and emerging local composers.

music mar 2014