The LCSD makes extensive use of information technology in delivering its services to the public. In 2012-13, 41 computerisation projects were being implemented at a total expenditure of $94.1 million, for the purposes of enhancing service quality and improving operational efficiency.
Computerisation of Public Libraries
A new page in public library services was turned in late 2011, when Phase 1 of the Next Generation Integrated Library System (NGILS) project was fully rolled out in all public libraries and the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) pilot scheme was rolled out in six selected branch libraries. NGILS Phase 1 provided automated library services, including library material circulation and online catalogue searching as well as acquisition and cataloguing support for internal library operations. The pilot scheme included the introduction of RFID-enabled self-charging terminals, self-returning stations, and book sorter systems. The RFID-enabled Sha Tin Public Library also conducted a pilot test on a 24-hour self-returning service enabling readers to return loaned materials at any time.
In 2012, Phase 2 of NGILS was implemented in full pace. It introduces several new functions and services, such as self-service printing, e-payment, customer relationship management, a virtual reference service, electronic resources management, inter-library loans, and a management information system. These new functions and services are being launched progressively from March 2013.
A feasibility study on the further implementation of RFID in public libraries was begun in August 2012. In February 2013, a business study was carried out to identify viable business options, ascertain the business case and define its scope. This was followed by a technical study, to be completed in 2013, which will confirm the details and deliver both a cost and benefit analysis and an implementation plan.
The Multimedia Information System (MMIS) is a digital library system that allows patrons to search for and gain instant access to digitised documents in the Hong Kong Central Library and 28 branch libraries, as well as both digital and analogue audio and video material. The system has been in place for ten years, and a major system upgrade began in late 2011. This has been progressing well and several major milestones have been completed on schedule. It is expected to be operational in 2013.
Our libraries contain over 1 900 internet-enabled computer workstations for public use. To meet increasing demand for speedy internet access, the network infrastructure has been improved and some 450 workstations have been upgraded.
Ping Shan Tin Shui Wai Public Library, Hong Kong’s second largest public library, was opened in late February 2013, and the upgraded Lam Tin Public Library opened in late March. Both libraries are equipped with full-scale computer facilities for public use.
Leisure Link System
The Leisure Link System (LLS) allows the public to book leisure facilities and enroll in recreational and sports activities through different channels, including at counters, through the internet, at self-service kiosks, and by phone. In 2012, LLS was enhanced to further improve its services. Now, facility bookings can be cancelled online by registered members, and enquiries about booking records can be made online and at self-service kiosks using a Personal Identification Number. Stage 1 of the system upgrade was completed in March 2012 and the performance of booking services improved significantly. The full upgrade will be completed in 2013. Currently, LLS is being further enhanced to make its services even more user-friendly.
Urban Ticketing System (URBTIX)
URBTIX is Hong Kong’s leading ticketing system, serving the public and those hiring LCSD performance venues. It covers 44 performing arts facilities with an aggregate seating capacity of more than 100 000. There are 41 URBTIX ticketing outlets territory-wide.
The URBTIX online booking service was enhanced in 2012 to make it possible to purchase tickets for multi-session mega exhibitions held in LCSD museums. In early 2013 the web accessibility design of the online booking service was improved so visually impaired customers could more easily purchase tickets online.
A tendering exercise was arranged in 2012 for a new ticketing system with improved functions and services, to be provided once the current contract expires. The new contract was awarded in March 2013, and new ticketing services will be made available to the public in 2014.
King Yin Lei Virtual Reality Touring System
In April 2012, we launched a virtual reality touring system on the restoration of King Yin Lei. The system, utilising computer graphics and 3D animation, is designed to educate the public about our heritage, and enables individuals to tour King Yin Lei virtually, without having to visit in person. Apps are currently being developed to provide mobile access to this service; they will be available in 2013.
Web Accessibility of Websites
In line with the Government's Web Accessibility Campaign, the LCSD websites are enhanced to conform to Level AA standard of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Version 2.0 promulgated by the World Wide Web Consortium. Enhanced websites of the Antiquities and Monuments Office, the Antiquities Advisory Board, the Hong Kong Science Museum, the Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Hong Kong Museum of History were launched in early 2013. The departmental website and other thematic LCSD websites will also be enhanced, and launched progressively from 2013 onward.
After its soft-launch in February 2012, the Museum Portal was refined in January 2013 to incorporate feedback from various focus groups. It continues to provide a one-stop platform for all the LCSD museums. The websites for the Museum of Art and the Museum of History were also revamped in March 2013, and the website for the Art Promotion Office in April 2013. These will serve as reference models for the other museums, showing how individual websites can seamlessly integrate with the Museum Portal in a way that enhances the user experience of the public when navigating the museum information/services.
Projects in Progress
- •A Film Archive Management System (FAMS) is being developed to replace the existing system and improve the management of films and related items in the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA). The new system will enable people to search the catalogue online. It will also provide more functions that will help streamline the HKFA’s business operations. The new system will be ready in 2013.
- •The Civic Centre Management System (CCMS) is being enhanced to provide the public with new e-submission and e-payment services. Other new internal functions are being added to further improve the booking process. These will be ready in 2013.
- •The Hong Kong Public Libraries (HKPL) web portal is being revamped to better promote our diverse library services, and to improve public access to all our online library services. Phase 1 of the revamped portal is expected to be ready in 2013, and the project will be completed in 2014.