E-Library platform and eBooks for sharing among self-financing post-secondary institutions

The provision of learning support to students is the key to success in education.  In a similar vein, the availability of learning resources plays a crucial role in quality higher education. The library, as an essential component of a post-secondary education institution, is responsible for providing learning resources and maintaining a good study and learning environment for the students.

lib1In the 2011/12 academic year, noting that the Education Bureau would render support to self-financing post-secondary institutions in connection with projects that couldlib2 improve the teaching and learning environment under the Quality Enhancement Support Scheme (QESS),  several self-financing post-secondary institutions worked together to explore cost-effective ways of enhancing the quality of library service provision through the sharing of resources. 

lib3In 2013, a proposal which aimed at building an e-Library platform and an eBook collection for sharing among five local lib4degree-awarding self-financing institutions was jointly developed by The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK), Hong Kong Shue Yan University (HKSYU), Caritas Institute of Higher Education (CIHE), Tung Wah College (TWC) and Chu Hai College of Higher Education (CHCHE).  The said Project entitled “Collection Sharing and Information Discovery System with Enriched Digital Content” was supported by the Education Bureau and was granted $50.7 million under the QESS.

The Project started in January 2014 and is scheduled for completion in December 2016.

lib5 lib6

Benefits of the Project 

The demand for a wide range of academic programmes by the community has exerted tremendous pressure on self-financing post-secondary institutions, both in respect of providing learning resources and means of accessing such resources. The project aims to circumvent the problem by learning resources sharing through an IT platform among the participating institutions, as described below:  


The Project plans to build a user-centred online platform which is accessible by students of the participating institutions. Through the platform, students can search through the internet and access materials in their own library as well as library materials that are shared among the institutions, including getting full text of journals and databases that have been subscribed to.

The Project will develop a shared collection of around 15 000 to 25 000 eBooks with perpetual access.  This will significantly enrich the learning resources available. EBooks are preferred over printed materials in the collection development as the former are accessible online and can fit in well with the online platform for sharing among the participating institutions.


Upon completion of the Project and with the sustained efforts of the participating institutions, students would be able to have a one-stop search and discovery service of the library resources available in all the participating institutions plus direct viewing of the full-text of materials of their own library and the shared eBook collection.  The search could be done through the Internet anytime, anywhere and from any device. 

Project management 

lib10To ensure smooth and timely implementation of this Project, a Central Project Team (CPT) comprising representatives from the five participating institutions has been established for overall project administration and implementation.lib11  An Internal Project Team (IPT) has been established in the institutions concerned to look after the migration of their old library system to a new library system.  All participating libraries are responsible for eBook vendor liaison and for negotiation of eBook purchase terms and conditions. 

Project achievement after the first year’s implementation

A) E-Library platform for sharing and information discovery (Jan-Dec 2014)lib12

•        Implementation plans for various system and digital products were confirmed.

•        System/ digital products and hardware were selected and installed. 

•        A Project website was launched at http://www.csids.edu.hk/.  It contains project information, policies and relevant information. 

•        Linking service to full-text e-journals and databases lib12has been launched in CIHE, CHCHE, HKSYU and TWC. The service could be accessed from the library websites of the institutions and from Google Scholar http://scholar.google.com.hk/.  

•        A next generation searching and discovery tool hasbeen launched in HKSYU.  One-stop search has been available at http://www.hksyu.edu.hk/lib/ for the catalogues and articles that HKSYU has subscribed to.  Linking to full-text articles from the search results has been made possible. 

•        Progress has been made by members for migratinglib13 individual library systems to the new library system. 

B) Collection Development and eBook Purchases (Jan – Dec 2014)

•        Collection Development Guidelines have been set up, and this has been under regular review. 

•        A consortium has been formed for acquisition and sharing of eBooks.  A number of license agreements/ acquisitions have been signed/ made. 

•        New books available in the market have been extensively reviewed and selected as learning resources by member institutions.  In particular, the following subject areas have been covered:

-        Business and administration & Economicslib14
-        Education
-        Language and literature
-        Medicine & Nursing
-        Science & Technology
-        Fine Arts
-        Philosophy & Psychology
-        Law
-        Geography
-        History & Tourism (Cultural and Heritage)
-        Political Science 

•        Collection building status

January – December 2014




No. of new titles reviewed by member libraries

26 019

5 157

31 176

eBook recommendations submitted by member libraries

28 515

7 191

35 706

No. of eBooks ordered

8 034

2 636

10 670

•        eBook acquisition status

January – December 2014




No. of eBooks ordered

8 034

2 636

10 670

No. of eBook orders cancelled*




                *eBooks cancelled by the vendors or by the QESS project because of duplication or non-supply of the requested materials.

New participants

Self-financing post-secondary institutions eligible for applying for QESS funding are welcome to join this Project. For further information concerning the project, please contact Ms. Wai-man WONG, Librarian of the OUHK (Email: wmwong@ouhk.edu.hk).

May 2015 

Last Review Date: 08/09/2015