Before beginning your search

What we have in our archive

Hong Kong Record Series (HKRS)

The Hong Kong Record Series (HKRS) comprises selected government records created or received by government bureaux and departments in the course of their business. PRO selects records with archival value from over 100 government bureaux, departments, offices or agencies for permanent retention. PRO keeps over 1.5 million records in varying formats including files, bound volumes, maps and plans, photographs and films, etc. The majority of these important sources were created after World War II, with some dating back to the 19th century.

Hong Kong Manuscript Series (HKMS)

HKMS comprises private records and personal papers donated to the PRO as well as reproduction copy of records relating to Hong Kong purchased from other overseas Archives such as The National Archives in the UK.

Other collections

The Central Preservation Library for Government Publications (CPL) operated by PRO acquires and preserves valuable publications and printed materials of the government and makes them available for use.

Tips for effective searching

  • In “Online Catalogue”, you may type keyword(s) in “Search” field to locate relevant holdings.
  • In “Advanced Search”, search results can be confined by selecting the holding types, the source and covering year of the holdings, etc.
  • In “Advanced Search”, “Keyword(s)” search covers search by titles and description of our holdings; whereas “Title” search covers search by titles of holdings only. Searching by keyword(s) will return more hits than searching by titles in most cases.
  • Our holdings are described in their original language. You are advised to use English to conduct searching in the online catalogue as most of the titles of archival records are in English.
  • As names of government agencies and places evolve over time, you are advised to try original (old) and modernised (current) terms (single word or phrases) to search the catalogue.
  • When searching for maps and plans, you are advised to use the ‘district’ name (e.g. Wan Chai) instead of street name (e.g. Spring Garden Lane).
  • You have to specify reference numbers at the file level (e.g. HKRS70-1-2) or the item level (e.g. HKRS365-1-478-1) in order to request access to our holdings. Our records are arranged in a hierarchical order, arranged into series, deposit, file and item levels. A series (e.g. HKRS365) or a deposit (e.g. HKRS365-1) may contain more than one file or item.

Assistance to users

PRO staff introduces users to the online catalogue and finding aids, etc for assisting users in identifying archival records and holdings kept in the archival repository. However, we do not :

  • supply a list of holdings on a specific topic.
  • answer questions which require analysis and personal view, or conduct research for user's personal research, homework, thesis and assignment.
  • translate terms and articles.
  • conduct research on any topic.