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Free children's books available on Internet


Hong Kong children can access free children's books on the Internet thanks to a tie-up between Hong Kong Public Libraries' Multimedia Information System (MMIS) and the International Children's Digital Library's ICDL Books Project.

The ICDL Books Project aims to broaden the horizons of young readers by offering them free literature in digital format written and published in a host of countries.

The initiative follows the decision to connect the MMIS with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's Archives Portal, a website through which archivists and researchers can study the histories and cultures of different nations.

Hong Kong libraries have selected 20 educational, award-winning Chinese children's books from local writing competitions to promote different aspects of Chinese culture. Titles include "Meng Zhong De Hao Zi Zi" (Good Elder Sister in My Dream), "Yi Dui Fa Jia" (A Pair of Hairclips), "Zi Si Cun" (The Selfish Village) and "Zui Cheng Xin De Dao Gao" (Pray Sincerely).

The ICDL Books Project has already secured copyright for over 260 works from more than 15 libraries, publishers and authors of children's books in the United States, Egypt, Finland, Singapore, Switzerland, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

Children all over the world can access the ICDL website at With the system's user-friendly interactive searching and viewing tools, they can choose from among different books categorised by genre and geography and read them onscreen.

The MMIS has already digitised 60 copyrighted Chinese children's books in the Hong Kong Public Libraries' website at All will eventually be uploaded to the ICDL Books Project. The MMIS also archives other digitised images and documents, including old Hong Kong newspapers, house programmes, posters, maps, photos, news clippings and manuscripts, up to a total of 1.8 million pages. Users can browse in English or in traditional or simplified Chinese.

The system is available online daily from 9am to 9pm, except on Wednesdays, when it is available from 1pm to 9pm. For enquiries, call 3150 1234.

End/Saturday, June 28, 2003

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