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Issue 20

Jun2024

Editor’s note

Maggie Wong

Congratulations to all graduates in the Year of 2024! Learning never stops, remember to check out our post below on Tips for Graduates to learn more.

While many students are graduating from their study journey at HKBU, the Library also has librarians retiring from their years of service to the profession. One of them is a familiar face in the Library Newsletter, our exceptional Special Collection & Archives Librarian, who will share her thoughts and work in this issue. They have certainly made their mark on Library services and collections.

The post-renovation work on Levels 6 & 7 of the Main Library is also going well! Here we will give an update to everyone. (If you have followed the Library’s Instagram or Facebook, you would have seen some sneak peeks!)

We will end this issue by introducing something exciting… a new AI corner for the newsletter! This regular section will share AI-related Library projects. The first contributor is our go-to person on AI and technology, our Digital Scholarship Manager, who used a Large Language Model (LLM) to help create library items’ metadata.

Enjoy this issue!

Maggie Wong
User Services Librarian


Tips for Graduates

June signifies the end of a long academic journey for many students graduating from their programme. Although the programme has ended, the learning continues. While graduates were busy capturing their memories of the places they once spent time crushing deadlines or just simply chilling out with friends, I was particularly happy to see graduates coming into the Library to take photos. I hope the Library reserves a space in their memories at HKBU. Congratulations to all graduating students, for the hard work they have put into their studies! Here are some tips for graduates:

💡 Tips! Photo taking in the Library
You might be wondering if users can take photos in the Library. Yes! According to Library Regulations 4.4, you are allowed to use your smartphone to take photos in the Library, given that you are not causing disturbance to other users or capturing their faces without their permission. The use of professional equipment must seek approval and photography for personal events is not allowed.

💡 Tips! Can graduates continue to use the Library?
Yes! But with a fee. The Library has Graduate Service Packages graduates can consider applying. You can choose to get the package that only has borrowing privileges or remote e-resources, or the package to have both. Please take note that the remote e-resources in the package are only for selective databases, NOT ALL library databases. Find out more about this service:

💡 Tips! Clear your library loans and fines
Graduating students with outstanding fines and/or loaned items will have their diplomas/transcripts withheld accordingly. If you have any outstanding library loans or fines in your library account, please settle them as early as possible to prevent any delay in getting your transcript.

Maggie Wong
User Services Librarian


Treasuring Special Treasures – Departing Words from a Special Collections & Archives Librarian

When this newsletter is published, I will have completed my contract as the Librarian in Special Collections & Archives (SCA). I do feel very fortunate to have this time to learn about HKBU, the Library, and contribute to its work.

Entrance to Special Collections & Archives, L4, AML

In case you’re not familiar with SCA, we are physically on Level 4 of the Library, and broadly speaking look after three areas – special collections, contemporary Chinese collection and the University Archives. You can find special collections and sometimes archives within most university libraries in Hong Kong and abroad. Each place will be slightly different with their own history and characteristics.

The three parts that make up SCA are all unique and fascinating:

Special Collections

The flagship special collection is the Archives on the History of Christianity in China (AHC). It is a rich resource to study the spread of Protestantism in China and Hong Kong, and the impact of Christianity on the society and culture. Around 8,500 books and serials in the physical collection are complemented by e-books, databases, archival materials, newspaper clippings as well as art and visual materials.

主耶穌為要救贖罪人 – one of the missionary posters in the AHC collection

Apart from AHC, there are other special collections, a good number of which are archival collections consisting of personal papers or organizational records, some related to Christianity as well.

Contemporary China collection

We look after an eclectic collection of over 4,000 pamphlets as well as a massive amount of newspaper clippings, both bought from the Union Research Institute in the mid-1980s. These materials are useful for researching various political, social and economic aspects of post-1949 China.

University Archives

We aim to collect comprehensively any information about HKBU and its predecessor Hong Kong Baptist College (HKBC). It contains all sorts of materials, including official publications, event flyers, interviews of Presidents, event recordings, photographs, posters, newspaper clippings, and our latest addition, websites.

1st issue of 浸會學生報The Baptist Student (Jan 1968)
Transdisciplinary courses brochure (2023)

These are three distinctive collections, but they do have some things in common. They all aim at keeping and growing collections of valuable historical materials and making them accessible both physically and online, to help with research by the HKBU community and beyond.

Archival materials in SCA’s storage area

Indeed, SCA’s users tend to be academic researchers, and since we have an open-door policy, many are from other local or overseas institutions. The questions we get asked most often are about finding sometimes obscure information, which could relate to missionary activities in a Chinese province in the 1920s, photographs of a senior manager in HKBC in the 1960s or caricatures published during the Cultural Revolution period. Helping scholars to use SCA’s collections, and sometimes suggesting resources beyond the Library, is always challenging but satisfying.

Working with these wonderful materials has brought me into contact with the Library’s knowledgeable and fantastic colleagues, who gave me enormous help and support along this journey. I’ve also found colleagues in other parts of the University, as well as those in local Christian organizations, extremely helpful and accommodating when I rang up and requested copies of their publications be provided to the Library. Collaborating with teaching staff to showcase our collections to students has been especially rewarding.

I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to work in the Library and wish that SCA continues to make a difference to researchers in HKBU and beyond.

Wan Yu Wong
Special Collections & Archives Librarian


Library Renovation Updates

The noisy works are done and most of the furniture is in place. The last batch of books will be coming back from the off-site storage in mid-July. We are working very hard right now on shelf-reading, to make sure the books are in the correct order. To facilitate our classification scheme project, which is to have all print books using the Library of Congress classification, we are taking the opportunity to reorganize the locations of our print collections. For example, the oversized books in Level 4 have been moved to Levels 6 and 7.

Plenty of works following the renovation are in progress, such as creating signages and updating floorplans and directories.

Let’s take a look at some of the latest photos we have:

Stay tuned with the latest news and updates about the renovation here:

Maggie Wong
User Services Librarian


<> AI corner </>

The Application of AI in Library Cataloging: A New Frontier for Enhancing Efficiency

In the evolving landscape of library sciences, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), particularly Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT, is redefining the approach towards cataloging in academic libraries such as ours at Hong Kong Baptist University. Our exploration into this technology aims to enhance the record quality of electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs), an issue that resonates with many institutions worldwide. Cataloging, an essential process for library management, involves the meticulous assignment of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) to resources. Traditionally, this task requires a deep understanding of LCSH’s complex and expansive structure, demanding significant time and expertise from human catalogers. However, the advent of AI offers a promising solution to streamline this critical function.

MARC record of an e-thesis at HKBU Library

Recent studies, including our own experiments with ChatGPT, indicate that LLMs can generate LCSH for ETDs with a commendable degree of accuracy. In our trial, ChatGPT processed titles and abstracts of ETDs to produce subject headings. While the AI demonstrated proficiency in understanding and applying the LCSH, its performance was not without challenges. The generated headings occasionally lacked specificity or did not fully comply with the stringent LCSH standards, highlighting issues such as validity, specificity, and exhaustivity. (Details of our study can be found in the publication “An Experiment with the Use of ChatGPT for LCSH Subject Assignment on Electronic Theses and Dissertations” on this pre-print server: https://arxiv.org/abs/2403.16424)

Despite these challenges, the use of AI in cataloging presents a valuable tool for initial subject assignment. AI-generated headings can serve as a preliminary layer, which human catalogers can refine and validate. This dual approach harnesses AI’s efficiency and the irreplaceable critical oversight of professional catalogers, enhancing throughput without compromising the quality of bibliographic records. Moreover, the ability of AI to quickly generate headings directly from text makes it a strategic asset, particularly in academic settings where the cataloging of new materials often cannot keep pace with acquisitions. By implementing AI, libraries can significantly reduce the time needed to catalog new ETDs, enabling a more dynamic response to the influx of digital resources. For junior catalogers and those new to the field, AI tools like ChatGPT also serve an educational function. By interacting with AI-generated subject headings, less experienced staff can accelerate their learning curve, gaining insights into LCSH application through practical, hands-on refinement of AI suggestions.

It’s important to note that while AI can dramatically enhance cataloging processes, it does not replace the nuanced expertise of human catalogers. Instead, AI should be viewed as a supportive tool that augments human skills, allowing library staff to focus on more complex cataloging issues and strategic tasks. As we continue to navigate the integration of AI in library cataloging, it is crucial to maintain a balanced perspective on its role. AI offers significant advantages in handling routine tasks and managing large volumes of data, but it works best in tandem with the seasoned judgment of human professionals. Our ongoing research and adaptation to these technologies will further our mission to provide timely, accurate access to library resources, benefiting the HKBU community and beyond.

Eric Chow
Digital Scholarship Manager

This post was written using ChatGPT, edited and modified by the author.


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Last updated: 18 June 2024