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Information Technology

The LCSD makes extensive use of information technology in delivering its services to the public. In 2013-14, 46 computerisation projects were being implemented at a total expenditure of $158.78 million, for the purposes of enhancing service quality and improving operational efficiency.

Computerisation of Public Libraries

The Next Generation Integrated Library System (NGILS) Project Phase 2 of the Hong Kong Public Libraries (HKPL) has been gradually launched to the public since March 2013. New and enhanced functions of the system include, among others, extensions to the Print Management Sub-system (PMS) and the Virtual Reference Sub-System (VRS). PMS provides self-service printing and charging services to other HKPL’s IT systems, giving patrons a uniform experience of printing from all computer facilities at branch libraries. VRS provides a channel for patrons to submit online reference enquiries to librarians by email or by designated forms on the HKPL website, and helps librarians keep track of the progress of replies to individual cases. All enquiries and responses are stored in a knowledge database for future reference.

The review of RFID pilot implementation in six selected branch libraries was completed in August 2013. The review included a Business Consultancy Study, which confirmed a prima facie case for full RFID implementation, and a Technical Study that recommended a system option and proposed an implementation plan.

The new Multimedia Information System (MMIS), HKPL’s digital library system, was rolled out in August 2013. Retaining most of the original system’s functions, upgraded with the latest technologies, the new system also introduces new features such as personalised services, content recommendations based on popularity, and librarian’s selections (such as Pick of the day and News in history). To protect digitised content against unauthorised or excessive downloading, the system implements digital rights management (DRM). It also supports access control by location and number of concurrent users to meet the terms of use of materials acquired by HKPL. The public can access the MMIS collections through more than 1 200 Internet & Digital Service (IDS)/Kid’s Internet & Digital Service (KIDS) workstations at the Hong Kong Central Library and all other 66 static libraries. With a newly designed user interface, the system provides 24-hour online services and supports access through Internet-enabled mobile devices, providing the public with an even more convenient interactive library experience.

To promote computer literacy and facilitate public access to reference information, Computer & Information Centres/Areas (CIC/A) have been set up at 28 public libraries. Commonly used software packages such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite, along with printing and scanning services, are available for the public in these CIC/A. In addition, HKPL has installed over 100 Internet Express Terminals (IET) which give patrons quick and convenient access to the Internet of around 15 minutes for checking web-based emails or surfing the Internet without prior reservation. About 240 workstations in 13 CIC, as well as all the IET, were upgraded in 2013 to improve their functionality and security.

An express terminal in a public library that provides quick access to the internet.

An express terminal in a public library that provides quick access to the internet.

Along with these enhancements to HKPL’s core IT services, the HKPL website has also been given a new look from the end of March 2014, involving a complete reorganisation and the use of new technologies. The revamped website has a brand new user-friendly layout and provides the latest information about library events and activities, while also acting as a gateway for access to a wide range of online library services. There are also enriched sections on the website, such as the Locate Libraries section using Google Maps to help users find libraries, and the new e-Resources Thematic Page, which presents HKPL’s electronic resources in a systematic way. New designs have also been introduced for the Kids and Teens sections. In due course, the new website will be launched in a mobile-friendly version, and a Single-Sign-On function will be added to facilitate access to online library services through a single log-in for all library services.

The revamped website serves as a gateway to a wide range of online library services.

The revamped website serves as a gateway to a wide range of online library services.

Civic Centre Management System Phase II

The Civic Centre Management System (CCMS) provides venue management and facility booking functions that help the department process applications for facility hire. Phase II provides new functions to support public hirers wishing to submit applications and process payments for venue booking via the Internet. Other new functions that are helping streamline internal operations include a to-do list, and a tool for managing documents submitted by hirers. All these new functions were launched in October 2013.

Leisure Link System

The Leisure Link System (LLS) allows the public to book leisure facilities and enrol in recreational and sports activities via different channels, including at counters, through the internet, at self-service kiosks, and by phone. In 2013-14, LLS was enhanced to curb abuse of the booking services. Two enhancements, completed in June 2013 and March 2014, respectively shortened the advance booking period from 30 to 10 days and further restricted the booking quota at peak hours. A system upgrade of LLS was also completed in April 2013, which enhanced its capacity and improved system support.

Web Accessibility of Websites

In line with the Government's Web Accessibility Campaign, the LCSD websites are being 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 enhanced thematic website for the Entertainment Office was launched in March 2014. The departmental website and other thematic websites are currently being enhanced, and will be launched progressively from 2014 onwards.

On-line Ticket Reservation System for Bruce Lee: Kung Fu‧Art‧Life exhibition

An on-line reservation system for the Bruce Lee Exhibition at Hong Kong Heritage Museum was launched on July 4, 2013, providing a convenient worldwide e-channel for reserving entry tickets for the first two months of the exhibition. Bruce Lee’s legendary movie star status, and the fact that some of the exhibits had never been shown publicly before, meant that large crowds were anticipated. The system enabled very good crowd management, as well as making it convenient for patrons to arrange visits to best suit their schedule. The new system made use of cloud technology, which greatly shortened its deployment time, and its scalability and elasticity provided a very responsive and cost-effective solution that catered well for the highly variable public access demands.

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 the catalogue to be searched online. It will also provide more functions that will help streamline the HKFA’s business operations. The new system will be fully launched in 2014.

  • Several mobile apps connected with King Yin Lei were launched in 2013-14, to aid in the appreciation of this fabulous declared monument in Hong Kong. The apps guide users through King Yin Lei as if they were actually on site. They also provide multimedia information including videos, animations, panoramas and photos to assist users in their exploration of King Yin Lei.

  • The LLS internet channel is being upgraded and integrated with the MyGovHK portal. After the integration, the public will be able to conveniently access the LLS internet channel via the MyGovHK portal when booking leisure facilities, without the need to sign on in the system again. This will be ready in 2014.

  • A study is being conducted to assess the feasibility of computerising the submission, processing and release of results relating to applications for hiring non-fee charging venues. The project will be completed in 2014.

  • The LLS kiosk channel is being revamped to replace obsolete system components and enrich the kiosk functions. Phase 1, which involved upgrading the operating system of the kiosk, was ready in April 2014, and the whole project will be completed in 2015.

  • The Library Mobile App project was kicked off in October 2013, providing a safe and convenient mobile channel for online library services. The Library Mobile App is targeted for launch in mid-2014.

  • A Music Office Integrated System is being developed to enhance the business operations of the Music Office. It covers a wide range of business operations including musical instrument inventory, student and training record management of the Instrumental Musical Training Scheme, and on-line recruitment for training courses and the Summer Music Training Programmes. The new system will be implemented by the end of 2015.

  • A Borrower Registration Record (BRR) System is being developed to computerise HKPL’s borrower registration records, which are currently stored in traditional forms such as paper and microfilm. This will streamline the retrieval process of these records by HKPL branch libraries. A form conversion exercise will also be carried out to digitise the existing paper forms and microfilms for the BRR System. The new system will be in place by mid-2016.