In order to preserve the historical records of the University, CUHK established its University Archives in December 2015. Its mission is to systematically collect, organize and preserve university documents that have enduring value. The processing of archives is a complicated task: from appraisal, accession, arrangement, description, conservation, storage, to providing access, each step of the process requires professional archives management knowledge, and in addition, a well-equipped archival repository is essential. Archival records ought to be preserved permanently. Unlike general warehouses, a desirable archival storage environment should attain stable temperature and relative humidity conditions. Hence, where we planned for the university archival repository, careful considerations to site selection, facility planning, and material used were given.
After conducting dozens of records surveys with administrative offices to identify historical records, the University Archives immediately requested a storage space from the University that was sufficient for the need of initial establishment. Although CUHK has the largest university campus in Hong Kong, the academic affairs and research activities are increasing day by day and the needs of space are keen, thus it is not easy to secure a place for the Archives. In 2017, after several months of investigation and discussion, the senior management of the University approved a room of about 82 m² in Tin Ka Ping Building as the archives repository. The room is located near the University Library and central administrative units of the University, which facilitates close communication with offices.
In spite of this, since the location of the repository was used as an office before, the original partition and facilities did not meet the requirements of archives, so a significant modification was necessary. CUHK's Campus Development Office had provided tremendous support in this matter. Colleagues of this office advised on space planning and material used in order to optimize the use of space. They also identified and supervised contractors to ensure all installations could fulfill the requirements. The renovation project began in December 2017 and lasted for about four months until April 2018. The project costs over HK$1 million and the facilities are up to professional standards: an air handling unit (AHU) which could achieve strict temperature and relative humidity controls and maintain a stable storage environment; a non-sprinkler-type FM200 gas fire extinguishing system; window films plus curtains which can effectively block UV light and lower the room temperature; CCTV monitoring station and electronic security systems. The repository is equipped with high-quality compact shelving, which could accommodate more than 600 linear meters of records.
The most difficult part of the renovation work was the installation of AHU. The ceiling of the storage area of the repository originally contained fan coils and water pipes. It can be imagined that once the water pipes leak or burst, it would cause serious damage to the archives. Therefore, the pipes had to be removed. In order to maximize the space and avoid water damage, the new AHU was installed in the ceiling of the working area of the repository. However, due to the limited ceiling space in the working area, workers have to utilize the ceiling space of the two other units next to the repository in order to carrying out the installation work. Thanks to the support of the heads of the two units, the installation was successfully completed and the storage area is now free from water leakage risk.
The repository will be available for use soon. It will be a resource pool for researchers, administrators, alumni and our students to learn about the establishment, development and achievements of the University. Please visit our website to keep abreast of our latest development.
University Archives Repository – the room used to be an office (1)
University Archives Repository – the room used to be an office (2)
University Archives Repository – air handling unit (AHU)
University Archives Repository –rails of compact shelving
University Archives Repository – installing compact shelving
University Archives Repository – FM200 gas fire extinguishing system
University Archives Repository – renovation works completed