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Reference Services


    I am not a registered member of the Library. Can I use the reference library services and collections?

    The reference materials kept in the Reference Libraries are accessible by all the general public. Users can access the materials placed on the open shelves freely. For the reference materials kept in Closed Stacks, users have to fill in requisition slips and request them from the Service Counters of the Reference Library.


    Why reference materials cannot be borrowed out of the Libraries for home use?

    Owing to the special role and functions of the reference libraries, reference materials may only be used by the public in the reference libraries only. The purpose of the reference libraries is to provide immediate access to up to date information to the general public whenever they need it. To support this reference and information function, an adequate reference collection needs to be in place. In addition, the reference libraries also serve to preserve publications which are essential for the study of local history and for research into special subject fields. The libraries also hold rare books, flimsy items, expensive sets, and special reference collections deposited by other institutions, which are not suitable for circulation.


    If the readers cannot borrow the reference materials out of the library, can they make photocopies of them using library photocopiers?

    Self-service photocopiers are available in all the reference libraries and district libraries. Readers must comply with the Copyright Ordinance (The Laws of Hong Kong SAR Cap 528) when making copies of any library material. Generally speaking, unauthorized copying of a copyright work is not allowed unless when undertaken under the exceptions stipulated in the Copyright Ordinance. Subject to conditions, fair dealing for research and private study, criticism, review and news report are permitted under the Ordinance. Library users should refer to the relevant sections of the Copyright Ordinance for details. They should also be cautious with the amount of copying made. Copying an unreasonable amount of a copyright work could constitute an infringement. Extract of the relevant parts of the Copyright Ordinance is posted at the photocopying machines in the libraries.


    Extract of the Copyright Ordinance

    23. Infringement of copyright by copying
    (1) The copying of the work is an act restricted by the copyright in every description of copyright work; and references in this Part to copying and copies are construed as follows.
    (2) Copying of a work means reproducing the work in any material form. This includes storing the work in any medium by electronic means.
    (3) In relation to an artistic work copying includes the making of a copy in 3 dimensions of a 2-dimensional work and the making of a copy in 2 dimensions of a 3-dimensional work.
    (4) Copying in relation to a film, television broadcast or cable programme includes making a photograph of the whole or any substantial part of any image forming part of the film, broadcast or cable programme.
    (5) Copying in relation to the typographical arrangement of a published edition means making a facsimile copy of the arrangement.
    (6) Copying in relation to any description of work includes the making of copies which are transient or are incidental to some other use of the work.
      [cf. 1988 c. 48 s. 17 U.K.]
    38. Research and private study
    (1) Fair dealing with a work for the purposes of research or private study does not infringe any copyright in the work or, in the case of a published edition, in the typographical arrangement. (Amended 15 of 2007 s.12)
    (2) Copying by a person other than the researcher or student himself is not fair dealing if-
    (a) in the case of a librarian, or a person acting on behalf of a librarian, he does anything which regulations under section 49 would not permit to be done under section 47 or 48 (articles or parts of published works: restriction on multiple copies of same material); or
    (b) in any other case, the person doing the copying knows or has reason to believe that it will result in copies of substantially the same material being provided to more than one person at substantially the same time and for substantially the same purpose.
    (3) In determining whether any dealing with a work is fair dealing under subsection (1), the court shall take into account all the circumstances of the case and, in particular-
    (a) the purpose and nature of the dealing, including whether the dealing is for a non-profit-making purpose and whether the dealing is of a commercial nature;
    (b) the nature of the work;
    (c) the amount and substantiality of the portion dealt with in relation to the work as a whole; and
    (d) the effect of the dealing on the potential market for or value of the work.” (Replaced 15 of 2007 s.12)
      [cf. 1988 c. 48 s. 29 U.K.]

    How can I search for library materials via the Hong Kong Public Libraries' homepage?

    You may make use of the Library Catalogue via the homepage of the Hong Kong Public Libraries to search for relevant library materials. When performing your search, you may use the search options of Title, Title Keyword, Author, Author Keyword, Subject, Subject Keyword and Series.


    Which classification schemes are used in the Hong Kong Public Libraries? How do they work?

    The classification scheme used for English books is the "Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme". For the Chinese books, we use "A System of Book Classification for Chinese Libraries" of LIU Guojun. If you want to browse the books on the shelves, you may refer to the classification tables for reference.


    Classification Table for English Books

    F FICTION - Alphabetically by Author
      INFORMATION & GENERAL WORKS 510 Mathematics
    010 Bibliographies  520 Astronomy
    020 Library & Information Sciences 530 Physics 
    030 Encyclopedias & Books of Facts 540 Chemistry
    040 General Collected Essays 550 Earth Sciences
    050 General Serial Publications 560 Paleontology
    060 Associations, Organizations  570 Anthropology & Biology
      & Museums 580 Plants
    070 News Media, Journalism & Publishing 590 Animals
    080 General Collections    
    090 Manuscripts & Rare Works    
    110 Metaphysics 610 Medicine & Health 
    120 Epistemology 620 Engineering
    130 Parapsychology & Occultism 630 Agriculture
    140 Philosophical Schools of Thoughts  640 Home & Family Management 
    150 Psychology 650 Management & Auxiliary Services 
    160 Logic 660 Chemical Engineering 
    170 Ethics 670 Manufactures
    180 Ancient & Medieval Philosophy;   680 Manufactures
      Eastern Philosophy  690 Building Construction
    190 Modern Western Philosophy    
    210 Philosophy & Theory of Religion 710 Landscape & Civic Art
    220 Bible 720 Architecture
    230 Christianity & Christian Theology 730 Sculpture; Ceramics; Metalwork 
    240 Christian Devotional &   740 Drawing; Decorative Arts 
      Practical Theology 750 Painting
    250 Christian Pastoral Theology 760 Graphic Arts; Printmaking 
    260 Christian Social &   770 Photography 
      Ecclesiastical Theology 780 Music
    270 History of Christianity &   790 Recreation; Sports; Performing Arts
      Christian Church    
    280 Christian Denominations & Sects     
    290 Other Religions    
    310 Statistics 820 English & American
    320 Political Science 830 German & Related Literatures 
    330 Economics 840 French & Related Literatures 
    340 Law 850 Italian, Romanian &  
    350 Public Administration & Military Science    Related Literatures
    360 Social Problems, Social Services  860 Spanish, Portuguese
      & Associations 870 Latin & other Italic Literatures
    370 Education 880 Classical & Modern Greek
    380 Commerce, Communications & 890 Other Literatures
    390 Customs, Etiquette & Folklore    
    410 Linguistics   DISCIPLINES
    420 English & Old English Languages 910 Geography, Travel & Maps 
    430 German & Related Languages 920 Biography; Genealogy; Insignia 
    440 French & Related Languages  930 Ancient History
    450 Italian, Romanian &   940 History of Europe 
      Related Languages 950 History of Asia & Far East 
    460 Spanish, Portuguese 951 History of Hong Kong 
    470 Latin & Other Italic 960 History of Africa
    480 Classical & Modern Greek 970 History of North America
    490 Other Languages 980 History of South America
        990 History of Other Areas

    Classification Table for Chinese Books

    000 總類 500 社會科學
    010 目錄學 510 統計
    020 圖書館學 520 教育
    030 國學 530 禮俗
    040 普通類書 540 社會學
    050 普通雜誌 550 經濟
    060 普通社會出版物 560 財政
    070 普通論叢 570 政治
    080 普通叢書 580 法律
    090 群經 590 軍事
    100 哲學總論 600 中國史地
    110 思想史 610 中國通史
    120 中國哲學 620 斷代史
    130 東方哲學 630 文化史
    140 西方哲學 640 外交史
    150 論理學 650 史料 
    160 形而上學、玄學  660 地理
    170 心理學 670 中國方志
    180 美學 680 中國類志
    190 倫理學 690 中國遊記
    200 宗教總論 700 世界史地、傳記
    210 比較宗教學 710 史地
    220 佛教 720 海洋
    230 道教 730 亞洲
    240 基督教 739.1
    250 回教 740 歐洲
    270 其他各教 750 美洲
    280 神話  760 非洲
    290 術數 770 澳洲及其他
        780 傳記
        790 考古學
    300 自然科學 800 語言學、文學
    310 數學 810 文學
    320 天文學 820 中國文學
    330 物理學 830 總集
    340 化學 840 別集
    350 地質學 850 中國特種文學
    360 生物學 857 小說
    370 植物學 860 東方文學
    380 動物學 870 西方文學
    390 人類學 880 翻譯詩詞戲劇
        889 翻譯小說
        890 新聞學
    400 應用科學 900 美術、遊藝
    410 醫學 910 音樂
    420 家事 920 建築
    430 農業  930 雕刻
    440 工程 940 書畫
    460 應用化學、化學工藝 950 攝影 
    470 製造  990 遊藝
    480 各種營業    
    490 營業方法    

Reference Collections


    Where can I find the annual reports of the listed companies in Hong Kong?

    The annual reports of the listed companies in Hong Kong can be found in the Hong Kong Exchanges Collection of the Central Reference Library of the Hong Kong Central Library, the Reference Libraries of the City Hall Public Library and Sha Tin Public Library. The Central Reference Library has the largest holding of the annual reports.


    Where can I find the Laws and Gazette of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region?

    Whole sets of bilingual Laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are kept in the Central Reference Library of the Hong Kong Central Library, Reference Libraries of City Hall Public Library, Kowloon Public Library, Sha Tin Public Library, Tsuen Wan Public Library and Tuen Mun Public Library for readers' reference. These sets of Laws are updated annually.

    The latest version of the Laws of the Hong Kong SAR can be accessed via Hong Kong e-Legislation on the homepage of the Department of Justice.

    Printed copies of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR Gazette are also available at the above reference libraries. The Central Reference Library has the continuous holding from 1853 to the current issue. Whilst the other reference libraries has varied holdings starting from the 1990s. You may contact individual libraries for details of their holdings.

    You may also view the contents of the Gazette from the online version of the Government of the HKSAR Gazette for issues from 19.5.2000 to the present. In addition, the Government Gazette of Hong Kong from 1842 to 1941 is also available for searching and viewing at the Hong Kong Government Reports Online (1842 to 1941) of the University of Hong Kong Libraries.


    Where can I find the International Standards such as ANSI, ASTM, BSI, IEC, ISO etc.?

    If you want to consult or purchase the International Standards, you may contact the Product Standards Information Bureau (PSIB) of the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC). Further details on the sale of originals and photocopies of the Standards can be found on the web page of the Innovation and Technology Commission.


English e-Books at eBooks on EBSCOhost


    How can I access the English e-Books at eBooks on EBSCOhost ?

    You can login to eBooks on EBSCOhost with your library card number and PIN through library webpage. There is no need to have a eBooks on EBSCOhost user account to search for or view eBook. However, if you wish to create bookmarks, or save notes, you will need to create a eBooks on EBSCOhost user account.


    If users forget their passwords, how can they obtain them from eBooks on EBSCOhost ?

    If users forget their passwords, they can click the "Forgot your username or password?" at the login page. Then, enter the name and the email address that he/she used for registering the account. eBooks on EBSCOhost will send back his/her password to the email address.

Chinese e-Books at Apabi Chinese eBooks


    How many Chinese e-Books can a user check out?

    8 Chinese e-Books can be checked out for 7 days.
    Also, the user can have "online reading" function for 20 minutes without checking out the Chinese e-Book.


    How can I create a user account for Chinese e-Books?

    Follow the link on the webpages of Apabi Chinese eBooks Adults Collection and Children's Collection, enter your library card number and PIN, and then you can get access to the Chinese e-Books.