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Reference Services

  •   Answer

    I am not a registered reader of the Hong Kong Public Libraries (HKPL).  Can I use the reference library services and collections?

    Reference materials kept on shelves are accessible to all library users.    For access to reference materials held in on-site reserve stacks, you have to enquire the counter staff.

  •   Answer

    Why reference materials cannot be loaned?

    Owing to the unique role and functions of reference libraries, reference materials may only be used inside the reference libraries, with the purpose of providing the general public with immediate access to up-to-date information during the library opening hours.  To this end, an adequate reference collection needs to be in place.  In addition, reference libraries serve to preserve publications which are essential for the study of local history and research into specific areas.  Reference libraries also house rare books, flimsy items, expensive and valuable sets, and special reference collections deposited by other organisations, which are not suitable for circulation.

  •   Answer

    Given that reference materials cannot be loaned, can I photocopy them at the libraries?

    Self-service photocopiers are available for public use in all reference libraries and district libraries.  Any person who makes copies of any library material must comply with the Copyright Ordinance (Cap 528).  Generally speaking, unauthorised copying of copyright works is not allowed except for certain exceptions as stipulated in the Copyright Ordinance.  Subject to conditions, fair dealing for research and private study, criticism, review and news reporting is permitted under the Ordinance.  For details, please refer to the relevant provisions of the Copyright Ordinance.  Nevertheless, library users should be cautious about the amount of copying made to avoid possible infringement of copyright.  For example, copying a large portion of a book may constitute an infringement.  An extract of the relevant parts of the Copyright Ordinance is posted in the vicinity of the photocopiers in all 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.]
  •   Answer

    How can I search for library materials via the HKPL homepage?

    You may search for library materials via the Library Catalogue on the HKPL website by using the search options of title, title keyword, author, author keyword, subject, subject keyword and series.

  •   Answer

    Which classification schemes are used in the HKPL? How do they work?

    The HKPL adopts the "Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme" and LIU Guojun’s "A System of Book Classification for Chinese Libraries" respectively for classification of English and Chinese books.  To browse or locate books on the library bookshelves, you may refer to the classification tables below 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 629.38 香港歷史    
    140 西方哲學 630 文化史    
    150 論理學 640 外交史     
    160 形而上學、玄學  650 史料    
    170 心理學 660 地理    
    180 美學 670 中國方志    
    190 倫理學 673.8
    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    
    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

  •   Answer

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

    They are available in the Hong Kong Exchanges Collection of the Central Reference Library of the Hong Kong Central Library, and respective Reference Libraries of City Hall Public Library and Sha Tin Public Library.  The Central Reference Library has the largest holding of annual reports.

  •   Answer

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

    Full sets of the bilingual Laws of the HKSAR are kept in the Central Reference Library of the Hong Kong Central Library, and respective Reference Libraries of City Hall Public Library, Kowloon Public Library, Sha Tin Public Library, Tsuen Wan Public Library, Tuen Mun Public Library and Ping Shan Tin Shui Wai Public Library.  These sets of laws are updated annually.


    The latest version of the Laws of the HKSAR is also accessible at Hong Kong e-Legislation on the homepage of the Department of Justice.


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


    Previous issues of the HKSAR Government Gazette since 19 May 2000 are available for searching online.  In addition, the Government Gazette from 1842 to 1941 is also available for searching and viewing at the Hong Kong Government Reports Online (1842 to 1941) on the website of The University of Hong Kong Libraries.

  •   Answer

    Where can I find the international standards issued by standards bodies, such as ASTM, BSI, IEC and ISO?

    If you want to access or purchase the originals or photocopies of the international standards, you may contact the Product Standards Information Bureau of the Innovation and Technology Commission.