How do you use technology to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.
I head the National Library Board’s (NLB) Digital Systems and Services team, which is responsible for creating applications that enable convenient online transactions and easy access to our vast collection of digital content.
What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2018?
It would be the NLB Mobile app. It was first launched in 2016, and enhanced in 2017 to provide new features such as improved search functions for eBooks, as well as access to eMagazines and eNewspapers. Through the app, our online services are now mobile-friendly and easily accessible to our library patrons. Since then, NLB Mobile has become a critical channel to deliver our content and services. As Singaporeans are always on the go, the app has virtually become a library in their pocket that they can carry along anywhere and access anytime.
One exciting project that my team worked on was the construction of a framework for the NLB Mobile app to integrate with various third-party eContent providers. This now allows users to access eBooks, eNewspapers, eMagazines and online courses on a single platform. Through this integration, we saw an 83% increase in the number of unique users using our eContent collections.
Our efforts have also been recognised by IDC’s Digital Transformation Awards in 2018, with the NLB Mobile app clinching the Operating Model Master of the Year award.
If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2018, what would it be?
Keep an open mind, embrace changes in technology, and keep on learning!
What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2019?
Artificial Intelligence (AI). Already a tech buzzword in 2018, the prominence of AI continues to grow as it is applied in various domains such as healthcare and transport. At NLB, we are looking into implementing more AI technologies so that all library patrons can better navigate our services and resources on their own.
What are your priorities in 2019?
We want to continue to provide seamless experiences and end-to-end digital services for our library patrons. One area I am looking into is the digitisation of library membership registration. This will particularly benefit parents who wish to register their children as library members, helping their young ones get started on their reading journey.
What is one skill that helped you the most throughout the course of your career?
Resilience. I believe that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, so it is important to never give up and take time to look for a solution.
What advancements do you predict will happen in your field in the next ten years?
With technological innovations and the rapid evolution of library spaces, the way we view and use libraries will change. Libraries will evolve to be a space for like-minded people to come together through technology to read and learn. In the future, there could be digital libraries with paperless reading areas, touchscreen information kiosks, robotic concierge assistants and digital storytelling services.