Digging Up the Past

Doing some research about the Labour Movement or looking up the history on your union for the annual magazine?

Drop by NTUC’s Information Resource Centre (IRC), located on the 10th level of the NTUC Centre.

Its staff are ever ready to help you retrieve facts, figures and even old photos you need for your work.

Meet one of them – Steven Poh Boon Chye, a principal specialist with the IRC.

In Search Of Information

Steven has been with NTUC for six years now. His area of work involves digitising materials at the IRC. These include converting negatives, photos and old cassette and VCR tapes into media files. He also ensures there are back up facilities for all these materials in case something inadvertent happens.

What sort of information do staff usually request for when they come to IRC?

Or even, why would a staff need to come to IRC in the course of their work?

“The strength of this library is the Labour Movement’s resources that we have collected and continue to collect,” explained Steven.

“People usually come to us for video footages, photos and really old documents about NTUC. Those are the sort of things that we have that you won’t find elsewhere. My work is to provide support in that area and to organise the materials that we have,“ said Steven.

He himself had a personal experience ploughing through NTUC’s records.

“I learnt a great deal about the history of NTUC in the remake of “Labour of Love” during the May Day Rally in 2015. I had to plough through the history of NTUC for the multimedia segment. More recently, I helped in the preparation of an exhibition showcasing the NTUC contingents which marched during the National Day parades through the years.,” shared Steven.

 IRC’s resources

Here are some of the materials in IRC’s information treasure chest which you are unlikely to be able to source outside and which Steven and his team at IRC can help you retrieve.

These include a whole range of collective agreements reached between unions and companies and editions of NTUC This Week from the days of Perjuangan, the predecessor of the paper since it started publishing.

When it comes to photographs, there is an added element in IRC.

“In the case of the photographs, what we have done is we value-add with facial recognition. When people need to look for a photo of certain union leaders or staff, we can locate them quickly,” – he said.

Other exclusive materials available include video recordings of the whole series of LM Conversations with the NTUC Secretaries-General and ministers who had engaged in dialogue sessions with union leaders.

External tie-ups

There can also be occasions when the information needed by staff or a union leader is not available at the IRC.

“If we can’t find the information that has been requested, we will go online to look for the information. We will also approach other libraries to look for the materials and information. We can do an inter-library loan. We have arrangements for that with other libraries,” assured Steven.

You can also approach Steven if you need to loan equipment like video cameras and audio visual equipment for your events.



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