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Issue No. 38 November 2000

HKUST Library to Co-Host PNC Conference

After the very successful PNC 2000 in Berkeley and Stanford, California, PNC 2001 will be held in Hong Kong, co-hosted by City University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Library, along with Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan, and the California Digital Library.

The Pacific Neighborhood Consortium (PNC) is formed by institutions of higher education on the Pacific Rim. It explores issues of information and technology exchange, interdisciplinary collaboration, and use of technology for cultural studies. The goal is the development of information sharing and exchange to a level that will allow participants to regard themselves not as organizations separated by vast distances, but as residents of a virtual neighborhood.

Topics of the 2001 Conference will include Historical Maps and Manuscripts, Geographic Information Systems, Scholarly Communications and Information Services, Digital Libraries and Archives, Linguistics and Language, Information Sciences, and other areas in cultural studies.

The Conference will be held from 17-20 January, with Pre-Conference sessions from 13-16 January. HKUST Library will be conducting a pre-conference workshop on "Designing Online Tutorials with WebCT".

For more details, visit our web site at

Karla Gaenssler Exhibition at HKUST Library

Exhibition Poster

The HKUST Library will hold Ms. Karla Gaenssler's first exhibition in Hong Kong from 8 November 2000 to 31 January 2001. Karla Gaenssler is well recognized as a sculptor, a painter, a printmaker, and an art teacher. She is known for using different kinds of materials masterfully in her works, including handmade paper, stones, and metals; provoking sensuous curiosity, astonishment, and delight.

Born in Rudolstadt, Germany, Karla Gaenssler received her art education at Karl Marx University in Leipzig. She studied sculpture at the Art Academy of Berlin from 1979 to 1985. She has held many exhibitions in Berlin, Dresden, Saalfeld, and other cities in Germany.

True Chinese Phrase Searching for the Online Catalog!

The new 'advanced keyword' search engine for the Library Online Catalog has finally been rolled out. In the past, searching for a Chinese phrase retrieved records which contained any of the individual characters - almost never together. This made it completely useless for Chinese searching.

Now, when you enter a Chinese phrase to search, the results will be rather accurate, with records containing the actual phrase you entered! This is an enormous enhancement, and one which the software vendor has been working on for several years.

Try it out - you will like the improvement!


The rapid development of the Web has changed the landscape of journal publishing. Publishers can now mount their journals on the Web with ease, while at the same time offering a new dimension of service to users. Full-text searching by keyword at the article level is one, and direct linkage from the citation indexes such as MathSciNet, Web of Science, Biological Abstracts and INSPEC so that users could display the fulltext articles instantaneously is another useful and convenient feature.

In Hong Kong, academic libraries are making arrangements with many science publishers to have online access to their e-journal collections. HKUST Library has, in the past year, received numerous requests from the faculty regarding the addition of certain electronic collections.

For relatively small and inexpensive collections, the Library was able to absorb the cost and add the requested e-access. What the Library is wrestling with is how to secure funding for adding online access to the major science publishers' journals including Elsevier, Academic press, Kluwer and Blackwell Sciences.

Many of you may still remember that the HKUST Library's materials budget suffered a major reduction a couple of years ago. Our funding level has not changed, which means that it has decreased in real terms when inflation is factored in. At the same time, being a science and technology university, a large proportion of the budget was spent to acquire the high-priced science and engineering journals to support our users needs.

The journal de-selection exercises initiated by the VP-AA's office a couple of years ago helped to trim a small amount from the journal expenditure. Yet, up to last year, journal subscriptions accounted for almost two thirds of the materials budget. One estimate found that adding e-journal access to the above four publishers' collections alone would cost close to one million HK dollars.

Should the faculty be asked to de-select another one million dollars worth of journals so that money could be freed up to pay for the online access?

Can the University Administration or individual schools come up with the money to pay for this enhanced feature?

Or you could just forego this convenience and continue coming to the Library to use the printed copies.

To obtain your input in this matter, a questionnaire will be sent out to all faculty in the next two weeks. Please complete the questionnaire and return it to the Library before the deadline.

In the meantime, you may also send any comments that you have to the Library at

INTERNET: The Next Generation Search Engines

Web surfers are no strangers to search engines. While Alta Vista, Excite or InfoSeek (now renamed have become your favourites, emerging search engines are fast establishing a niche in the market. Google and Fast Search, both newcomers of 1999, exemplify this phenomenon. According to a hit analysis done in early July this year (, Google and Fast Search ranked among the top 5 search engines returning the most hits.

Google indexes 560 million Web pages. Its impressive size aside, the relevance ranking of its search results has also made a mark. What it essentially does is to analyze the link structure of the Web pages and assign weight to a page according to the number of referrals it receives from other pages. To supplement this somewhat quantitative approach, Google gauges the importance and authoritativeness of the referring pages. Pages with the most "cites" from "important" referring pages will appear high up in the hit list.

Often, a promising link will give you a 404 File Not Found error. Frustrating, isn't it? Google tackles this problem by maintaining a cache archive. If the regular link fails, clicking "Show Matches (cache)" will bring up the cached version of the page. This offers an excellent backup when the page's server has moved or is temporarily down.

The next generation search engines adopt new indexing technology and provide sophisticated tools to restore sense to chaos. The well-established search engines are catching up too; Alta Vista had a major revamp in October, 1999 with various new and enhanced features. You need not abandon old favourites, but you can use the new ones as supplements. It pays to know more about the strengths and weaknesses of individual search engines and make intelligent choices.

To find out more, look at Greg Notess's Search Engine Showdown: The Users' Guide to Web Searching ( and Diana Botluk's Update to Search Engines Compared (

WEB: Arts and Cultural Events

Are you thinking where to go this weekend to release the tension from a heavy workload or tons of assignments? Try the web site of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department ( where you can find details of arts and cultural programs currently presented in Hong Kong.

There are many other local groups and institutes who organize cultural programs to enhance the quality of city life. These include the Hong Kong Arts Centre (, the Fringe Club (, the British Council (, and the Alliance Francaise (

Check the performance diary of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts ( for their productions. Don't forget to visit the Hong Kong Arts Festival website ( if you are looking for events in February or March.

When you plan a trip out of town, the Web is great for locating some cultural programs to include in your itinerary.

The National Chiang Kai Shek Cultural Center web site ( serves as a central events registry for Taiwan.

網上影劇院 ( and 上海文化信息 ( have good coverage on events in Beijing and Shanghai respectively. Certain sites do provide some information in English. For example, 中國腦 ( offers bilingual information for 5 cities. Sunday Ticket On-line ( lists events held in Beijing. At That's Shanghai (, you will find an English event guide.

For global exploration, you might visit (

If these websites do not cover your destinations, check the "Arts and Humanities" section of Yahoo's countries directories (, or the "Arts and Entertainment Category" of Alta Vista (, where you can retrieve lists of international festivals and US festivals under the "Arts" section's "Festivals & Events".

Your plans for the weekend and your next trip are done, so it's time to get back to reality - the work and assignments on your desk!

Information Services: Promoting Awareness

The Library is continually exploring ways to promote awareness of the varied resources and services available to our users. Two recent efforts have involved publicising the electronic versions of some journals and reference materials. Please let us know what you think of these arrangements as we always value your suggestions.


When browsing the current issues of printed journals on LG1, you will notice that some of the shelf labels for journals indicate that they are also available in electronic format. It may say "E-journal available", "E-journal only, no paper subscription", etc. These labels also provide the URL where you can find links to the online versions.


A similar effort is being made for the electronic version of some of the important materials in the Reference Collection. If an electronic version of a reference item is available, a "book dummy" will be placed next to the printed reference item. It includes a URL for accessing the reference item online.

MEDIA: Art Slides - Another "hidden treasure"

The HKUST Library art slide collection is one of our more "hidden" treasures. The space that the almost 18,000 slides take up is small compared to the wealth of beauty and insight they represent. The slide collection is made up of 340 different titles, most of these series contain hundreds of slides, each of which is of a separate work of art.

In this day and age, slides remain a useful and important medium; they will not be completely replaced by digital images anytime soon. Their image quality, portability, format stability (you can easily use a slide that is 20 years old, or older) and economical price continue to make them a useful research, teaching, and preservation medium.

The art slides, first of all, support class work. Not only art appreciation classes, but also classes that cover history or social movements can be served by this collection. For example, a course on modernism or post-modernism might find it useful to view the 25 slides in the Dadaism slide set (Media Resources N6494.D3 D33 1990). Civil engineering classes might benefit from architecture slides that show famous structures from many cultures across time: Roman aqueducts, Islamic domes, European cathedrals, and Chinese temples. The Great architecture of the world (Media Resources NA200 .G74 1990) set of 100 slides is just one example of the many available.

Our collection is especially strong in Chinese art, Fine examples of Chinese arts & crafts (Media Resources N7340 .F56 1970) contains 553 slides of material from the National Palace Museum in Taipei, and the Ancient China (Media Resources N7343 .A52 1980) set of 200 slides from the Weber Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are just two examples.

Individuals are welcome and encouraged to view the slides within Media Resources, or to check them out and view them on their own equipment at home.

Note: This is an archival version - information and links will not be updated.
revised 16 November, 2000
© HKUST Library