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"Hong Kong Memory" project to preserve HK's cultural heritage

A joint project of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which aims to establish a web-based digital repository to collect and preserve Hong Kong's cultural heritage, will be accessible to the public by 2012.

The Secretary for Home Affairs, Dr Patrick Ho and Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, Mr John C C Chan introduced the "Hong Kong Memory" project after the informal advisory committee meeting today (February 14).

Dr Ho said the "Hong Kong Memory" project would provide free and open access, through the multimedia website, to digital collections of information, stories, items and materials that reflected the collective memory of Hong Kong people.

He envisaged that the active participation of the community in the donation of manuscripts, information sharing, collaborative partnership would enrich the "Hong Kong Memory" collection, strengthen the sense of belonging and cohesiveness of Hong Kong people, and enhance cultural literacy and an appreciation of Hong Kong's historical and cultural heritage.

Mr Chan said the "Hong Kong Memory" project was meaningful and important to the people of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Jockey Club had engaged the participation of a team of eminent local scholars. Their opinion and suggestions would help to widen the coverage of the project and sustain its development. Mr Chan believed that the project would continue to grow in the long term with a strong and solid foundation and content base.

In 1992, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) launched the "Memory of the World" programme calling upon the preservation of valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world and ensuring their wide dissemination.

More than 40 memory programmes from places around the world including the United States, Europe, Australia, Canada and China have started projects to promote historical and cultural information in digital form.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has donated $80 million for launching the five-year "Hong Kong Memory"project for the development of a web-based digital repository.

Former deputy director of the Centre of Asian Studies of the University of Hong Kong, Dr Elizabeth Sinn, and current director Prof Wong Siu-lun, will lead a team of scholars and consultants in the study of local history for content development of the project.

The team will also acquire invaluable artifacts from private and public organisations, universities, libraries and archival institutions for preservation in digital format, which will then be classified, catalogued, edited and systematically arranged to facilitate convenient search, thus providing unrestricted access to the treasure trove of Hong Kong's historical and cultural heritage.

Oral history projects, field studies and community programmes will also be conducted to collect life stories.

It is expected that the platform will then be handed over to the Leisure and Cultural Service Department for continual maintenance and development.

Ends/Wednesday, February 14, 2007
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