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The University of Hong Kong 香港大學

Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (inc. the Centre of Asian Studies) and The University of Hong Kong Libraries

Hong Kong Oral History Archives 香港口述歷史檔案

Project Period 2001-2004


The Centre of Asian Studies was established in 1967 to promote interdisciplinary research on Asian topics within the University and to serve as a focal point of contact for Asian studies scholars around the world. Our three flagship programmes define the majority of our activities: the China-ASEAN Project, China-India Project and the Hong Kong Culture and Society Programme. Beyond these, Centre staff conduct research on Chinese entrepreneurship, migration and human trafficking, East Asian regionalism, oral history, Asian business history, Chinese intellectual politics and the quality of life in Hong Kong and Macao. In 2009, the Centre has been incorporated into the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. With enhanced resources, the Institute hopes to embark on to new and ambitious research training initiatives.

Established in 1912, the University of Hong Kong Libraries system includes a Main Library and Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Education, Music and Oriental studies branch libraries. The Libraries seeks to sustain and enhance the University’s excellence as an institution of higher learning, as a pre-eminent international university in Asia, and to provide outstanding teaching and world-class research support collections and services so as to produce well-rounded graduates with lifelong abilities to provide leadership within the societies they serve.

Project Scope & Objectives

It aims to systematically build up archives of oral materials relating to the history of Hong Kong. From 2000 to 2004, over 200 oral histories have been collected and collated. The contents cover a wide range of topics of interest, such as migration, education, trades and industries, ethnic communities, community history, social lives, politics, and civil service.

The interviewees include ‘leaders’from various sectors, ‘non-leaders’from different trades and localities, and individuals who are associated with particular events and developments.

The project also gathers other source materials such as private documents and photographs. Some interviews were conducted in English, some in Putonghua and the majority of the interviews were done in Cantonese.

The Project was funded by the Research Grants Committee of the University Grants Commission.


Project Leaders:
Dr Elizabeth Sinn (Centre of Asian Studies, HKU); Dr Thomas Wong (Sociology, HKU)

Research Team Members:
Prof Yip Hon Ming (History Department, CUHK)
Dr Choi Po King (Education Faculty, CUHK)
Dr Pun Ngai (Division of Social Science, HKUST)
Prof Bernard Luk (HKIEd)

Dr Wong Wai Ling (Centre of Asian Studies, HKU)
Dr Wong Sau-ngan (Centre of Asian Studies, HKU)

Other interviewers:
Dr Cheung Kwai Yeung
Dr Vicky Lee
Ms Ann Ozorio
Mrs Winnie Davies

Website Design:
Dr Ku Kam Ming (AV Collection Librarian, HKU Libraries)
Ms Iris Chan (Special Collections Librarian, HKU Libraries)

Research Output & Related References Available for Public Access

All interviews were tape-recorded. The sound recordings were digitized and transcribed verbatim. The artifacts and photos collected were also digitized and attached with the transcription and audio records. A bilingual summary was prepared for each interview. An indexing structure is developed to facilitate searching of the materials.

A website entitled “Hong Kong Oral History Archives”is developed by the HKU Libraries. The website allows access to the bilingual summary of each interviewee and functions of keyword and thematic search. Users may visit the web link under the “Digital Initiatives”of HKU Libraries website, or go to the following web link:

The audio records, transcripts and digitized photos are for use of academic, educational and non-profit making purposes only. Users who wish to consult the Archives may enquire in person at the Special Collections of the HKU Libraries. The detail of access to the materials can be found on the same web link.