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February 2009

Current Issue

Issue No. 71
February 2009

Donation Ceremony of Paul T.K. Lin Collection

On a beautiful sunny autumn afternoon on Oct 29th, the Library hosted the Donation Ceremony of Professor Paul T.K. Lin’s Collection. Over 100 guests attended, including Mrs. Eileen Lin, wife of the late Prof. Lin, many of her family members and friends, faculty and colleagues of the University and other academic institutions in Hong Kong.

notes71-1-imgTo kick off the ceremony, Dr. Samson Soong, the University Librarian, warmly welcomed the audience and extended his sincere gratitude to Mrs. Lin in choosing the HKUST Library as the permanent home of the Collection.

Prof. YS Wong, VP-AB of the University and the officiating guest of the ceremony, gave a moving speech on Prof. Lin’s legendary life and his achievements ( He indicated that the significance of this donation lies not just in the thousands of valuable books and precious historical documents collected by Prof. Lin over several decades.

More importantly, this Collection encapsulates a distinguished scholar’s lifelong pursuit of justice and peace, his abiding love and immeasurable dedication to his motherland, China, and his enduring efforts and enthusiasm in promoting a better understanding and friendship between Canada and China.

Prof. Wong concluded his remarks by mentioning a group of Chinese intellectuals who participated in the “Diaoyu Islands Movement” in the late 20th century. Their longing for their native land and strong desire to assist China to accelerate its progress on all fronts made them unequivocal participants in many patriotic activities.

It is hoped that Prof. Lin’s Collection will stimulate scholars’ interest and arouse their curiosity to learn more about the overseas Chinese scholars of that particular era.

Mrs. Lin graciously echoed that among the many legacies that Prof. Lin left, the most important one was the bridge he built between China and the West. This cross continental bridge spanned in many directions – academic, cultural, political and economic.

Ceremony attendees had a chance to view the elegant display and the Collection’s website prepared by Library staff ( Books autographed by dignitaries including 宋慶齡, 廖承志 and Joseph Needham were on display as well as booklets published to indoctrinate and promote the ideology of the Cultural Revolution. Many of these items are unique in Hong Kong and some of them are even difficult to locate in the Mainland.

A sample of English language materials of the Collection published in the notes71-2-imgsixties and seventies were also on display. It should be noted that, largely due to Prof. Lin’s background and interests, over 70% of the donated books are in English with close to 50% are on Modern China.

For a young institution like the HKUST Library – that only started to build its collection in the early nineties – this rich source of information is invaluable and does much to strengthen the Library’s collection in this particular area. We hope this large body of English materials on Modern China will shed some light on how the West viewed the PRC’s political upheavals and the challenging relationships between the West and China during that period of time. As Mrs. Lin nicely put it, by placing Prof. Lin’s Collection at HKUST, future generations of scholars will have one more convenient access to a wealth of Contemporary China materials.

Collection Spotlight: Westlaw Internat’l and LexisNexis Academic

Legal research has never been easier. Westlaw International was recently added to the Library’s list of databases, providing extensive primary and secondary legal materials. Its vast pool of full-text content is arranged by jurisdiction and topic. Hong Kong, Westlaw UK and World Journals are among the most popular areas.

Both Boolean and “google language” search are supported. Those who prefer to use Boolean connectors should check out the online tips. It takes a little while to get used to the Westlaw language, as the ampersand “&” denotes the AND connector, a space means OR, and phrases have to be placed within a pair of double quotation marks, e.g., “duty of care” & negligence. The “shortcut” box allows users to input known legal citations and retrieve the exact document without frills.

Don’t forget LexisNexis Academic which is also particularly rich in legal information. Both databases cover the jurisdictions of Hong Kong, UK, US, EU, Australia, Canada and provide hundreds of full-text law reviews. They do overlap in coverage, but each holds unique essential resources. Here is a rough comparison between the two:notes71-3-img

Watch out for the Library’s legal information workshop in the Spring semester. Enquiries can be directed to lbref@ust.hkor to the Reference desk at ext. 6760.

New Material Requests

Occasionally, the Library receives requests to acquire materials not related to our teaching and research programs. Some examples are books on child psychology, parenting or juvenile literature. Most cases have been turned down due to budget constraints. You may wish to refer to our collection development policy at (

HKUST Institutional Repository: Policies Update

Since it was made available for public access in May 2003, the HKUST Institutional Repository ( (IR) has been establishing itself as the open access repository of HKUST’s research output. It contains more than 3,200 items as of December 2008, and attracts an average of 10,000 downloads per month.

Although the majority of the records falls in the categories of journal papers, research reports and conference papers, the IR accepts submissions of research output in other formats. Recently the Library decided to strengthen the infrastructure of the IR system for supporting datasets.

The Library plans to investigate further by identifying best practices in dataset hosting, exploring the nature of data description and use, and understanding the need of data contributors and users. As soon as the system and the policies are ready, there will be programs to encourage and assist HKUST scholars to deposit their research data in the IR.

Clearly stated policies on various aspects of the IR operation and use not only help to promote the service to our researchers, but also raise the visibility and impact of the IR by facilitating coverage by search services. In this connection, we formulated our policies on item submission, revision, preservation, as well as the permitted use of items and metadata (

These precisely and concisely listed terms were based on the template created by the OpenDOAR Policies Tool ( OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories) is a major international project that provides a quality-assured listing of open access repositories around the world. We modified the wording suggested by their policies tool slightly to better reflect the requirement of the HKUST IR.

If you have any questions and suggestions about the HKUST Institutional Repository, you are welcome to contact the Reference Department ( or your Subject Librarians (

Federated Search

Looking for a discovery tool that can cross-search multiple databases simultaneously? Unlike Google, these federated search tools are specialized for finding scholarly content from several high quality electronic resources subscribed by the Library.

Wouldn’t it be great if users could just enter a few search terms and the tool would fetch and merge relevant results simultaneously from ScienceDirect, Web of Science, Wiley InterScience, Ebscohost and many others?

With faceted browsing and URL linking features, you could then further narrow down your search results and retrieve the full-text of the articles directly from the same interface.

The HKUST Library has experimented with some open-source federated search tools in the past, but found them very limited. We are now evaluating some commercial systems and hope to make a purchase in the first quarter of 2009. Stay tuned for more details…

Collection Highlights

If you happen to pass by the new book shelves on the Library ground floor, you won’t fail to notice a small cozy area we designate as “Collection Highlights”. Collection Highlights brings together books and media items on a different topic each month. Featured items are not necessarily brand new. They can be a good mix of new arrivals, existing titles that have received numerous check-outs, or things that circulate infrequently, waiting to be discovered. Users are encouraged to browse in the area and single out any hidden gems.

The idea behind these thematic displays is to cultivate a reading habit among our users in areas that are unrelated to their study and research. We understand we all need a tiny break from our hectic work, opening ourselves to a world of wonders.

Collection Highlights has just stepped into its sixth year. Over the past few years, a wide range of topics was covered. To name a few, we had: Mozart, Vincent van Gogh and different types of fiction in the arts and humanities; Fun and Games with Maths and Physics for Everyone; and Personal Finance, Thinking Skills and Public Speaking on individual betterment. Recently, we had the Olympics and Professor Paul TK Lin’s Donation: Modern China to synchronize with this international mega sports event and the donation ceremony of Professor Lin’s Collection held last October.

You can revisit the different themes for the past year at More intriguing displays are lining up for the coming months. Stop by the Collection Highlights corner and have a fruitful treasure hunt.

Library Behavior

The use of mobile phones and unattended personal belongings, including computers, continue to be issues of great concern to the Library. Staff and campus security patrols have recently been increased in order to improve security. However, we need your help to maintain a quiet and safe study environment.

  • Mobile phones and pagers should be switched off, or set to silent, while in the Library. Use of mobile phones is restricted to designated areas (restrooms and the enclosed lift lobby).
  • No food or drinks (except water) are permitted in the Library. Food and drink attract insects and rodents and may damage library materials.
  • No reservation of library seating is allowed, except for online bookings of group study rooms, seminar and media & discussion rooms. Items left unattended on reading tables or carrels may be removed to the floor by any library users.
  • Personal belongings should not be left unattended at anytime. Each user should be responsible for their own valuable belongings.

For more information see:

Building Projects: Waiting to Start

We have had delays in the start of the construction project. It seems that some may have been due to higher-than-expected construction costs, although other issues were also involved. According to their web site, the LEGCo Finance Committee met in November to evaluate proposals, including requests from different universities for additional construction funding.

Hopefully by the time you read this everything will have been settled, a construction contractor will have been selected, and ground works will be scheduled to commence. We will let you know when we know. The earplugs for library users and staff are ready and waiting.

User Surveys for Quality Assurance

The Library facilitates HKUST’s academic excellence by providing a user-centered learning and study environment with high quality library services and information resources. To do so, the Library is fully committed to quality assurance and pursuing ‘best practices’ to support teaching, learning, and research activities at the University.

To further these ends, the Library will conduct two user surveys in Spring 2009. These surveys are part of its wider quality assurance efforts to further enhance library services. They will consist of:

  • A survey on Media Resources and Services (including media reserve service) – Analyzing this data will enlighten the Library’s quality assurance strategies and actions in this critical area.
  • An IC (Information Commons) satisfaction survey – This is the second survey on the IC since its establishment in September 2006. The information and data gathered will be used to make future plans to enhance and improve the IC facility.

Combination of Circulation and Reserve Services

In order to serve you better, we have combined the Reserve and Circulation counters into an easy, one-stop location on the ground floor. For the 2009 Spring semester, students will not have to go to the first floor for Course Reserve items. This will make it much more efficient to check out resources.

To accomplish this, several changes were made during the Winter break. A wall was demolished to make room for some Reserve materials shelving to be installed behind the Circulation Counter.

At the same time, some modifications were made to the Circulation Counter itself to improve operations and efficiency for the expanded and combined services. Circulation staff were rearranged, and Reserve staff moved to Room 1346 – although everyone still has the same phone number for your convenience.

Faculty should continue to use the procedures outlined at for placing course materials on Reserve.

Happy New Year!心

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last modified 02 February 2009