About the Archives

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  • Mission
  • Services
  • Archival holdings
  • Archives catalogue (CAROL)
  • Access and use
  • Records preservation

Role of the Archives

The Legislative Council ("LegCo") Archives, established in January 2012, is responsible for developing and implementing an integrated archives and records management programme for LegCo as well as providing archival services for LegCo Members, staff and the public.

The LegCo Archives selects, acquires and preserves records of enduring value for access and use. The preserved records are vital information assets and institutional memory of LegCo. They document the history, core functions and activities of the Legislature for transparency and accountability, and are part of the collective memory of Hong Kong.

Work of the Archives

To ensure that LegCo manages its records efficiently and effectively, and that archival records are identified for preservation and access in a timely manner, the LegCo Archives is tasked with:
  • formulating policies and guidelines and providing advice and training on archives and records management;
  • developing records retention and disposal schedules for systematic and timely records disposal;
  • performing independent records appraisal to identify records of historical value for permanent preservation;
  • processing archival records and preparing finding aids to facilitate records search and retrieval;
  • conducting records review to make archival records timely available for public access; and
  • providing services to promote public awareness and use of the documentary heritage of LegCo.

Reference service

The LegCo Archives offers guidance and assistance to users in searching, handling and using archival records, and in identifying related primary sources on topics relating to its holdings. Reference enquiries by phone, email, mail or in person are welcome.
Given the resources available, the Archives would not conduct research on users' behalf nor create or collate data for users where the requested information does not exist in its holdings.

Reading rooms

For records preservation, archival records are provided for consultation at the Reading Rooms of the LegCo Archives.

If the records are born digital or have been digitized, only the digital copy will be available for consultation.

Users must present valid identification (HKID Card or travel document) if requested, and use the Login ID of the Reader's Account issued by the LegCo Archives to reserve or order archival records.

Users must observe the Rules on Use of Services of the Legislative Council Archives which aim at providing a quiet and pleasant environment for research and study as well as ensuring proper handling of the valuable historical records for permanent preservation.

Records reproduction

Paid copies of records may be provided, subject to the Copyright Ordinance and the Copyright Notice for Archival Documents and Records of the Legislature.
Reproduction of archival records may be requested by phone, email, mail or in person by completing the Request for copies of archival documents and records of the Legislative Council form. Exact fees must be paid according to the fee schedule of the Legislative Council when the copies are collected.
If the copying order is more than 100 pages, a longer production time will be required.

Suggestions and comments

Suggestions are welcome to improve the quality and scope of services within our policy mandate. Any suggestions or comments should be addressed to the LegCo Archives at Tel: 3919 3448 or Email: archives@legco.gov.hk.


Holdings of the LegCo Archives consist of original records and materials received or prepared by LegCo in discharging its functions, business and activities. They include written instruments, correspondence, reports, manuscripts, publications, audiovisual materials and other documentary materials in different physical formats.
These records and materials also provide contextual information on policies, decisions and deliberations of public issues and may be of more interest to those who are conducting in-depth research. Selected records and papers from the Members of LegCo and private sources are also collected.
The earliest record preserved by the Archives dates back to 1858. At present the quantity of archival holdings adds up to more than 1 200 linear meters. New holdings are added and reviewed for public access continuously.

Organization of archival records

The LegCo Archives adopts ISAD(G), the general international standard for archival description prescribed by the International Council on Archives. Currently, the holdings are organized in four Archives Fonds: the LegCo Council Fonds; the LegCo Committees and Subcommittees Fonds; the LegCo Commission Fonds; and the LegCo Secretariat Fonds. In addition, there is a Manuscript Collection containing records and materials donated by LegCo Members or from other private sources. These Fonds and Collection are further divided into records series comprising different files and/or items.

Catalogue for Archival Records of the Legislature (CAROL)

CAROL is an electronic archives management system developed in-house and launched in 2015 to facilitate management, online search and reservation of archival records.
CAROL gives the title, reference number, access status and description of the scope and content of records as well as information on the records creating agency or donor and relating records, etc.
CAROL provides Simple Search and Advanced Search functions. Users can apply different search criteria such as keywords, reference number, year range and material type to search the archival holdings.
Through this online system, users with a valid Reader's Account can log in to reserve "open" and "on-shelf" archival records, and select the dates for consultation. Simply browsing CAROL does not require a Reader's Account.
Please check Help and Video guide to find out more about using CAROL.

Records access

To facilitate access in compliance with prevailing laws and institutional policy, archival records are grouped under open records and closed records.
  • Open Records: Archival records that are open to the public and not being used by others can be reserved online and consulted at the Reading Rooms of the LegCo Archives.
  • Closed Records: Closed archival records of the Legislature and The Legislative Council Commission are subject to maximum records closure periods of 20 years for unclassified records, and 50 years for classified records. Time-expired records will be open to the public unless the disclosure is prohibited by law.
Access to information requests: Before the maximum records closure periods are expired, closed records may be made open to the public by making an access to information request to the Access to Information Officer. The requested records will be reviewed according to the established exempted categories to determine their access status. Please see Access Policy in Open LegCo on the LegCo Website for details.
The security classification, access status and closure periods of archival records are given in CAROL, the Catalogue for Archival Records of the Legislature.
If users are interested in consulting any open records found in CAROL, they would need to register for a Reader's Account with Login ID at the LegCo Archives. If the open records are born digital or have been digitized, only the digital copy will be available for consultation.

Records disclosure and use

Archival records of LegCo are disclosed to users in compliance with legal requirements. As records may include copyrighted documents from different sources and may contain personal data and third-party information, users are responsible for ascertaining if such or additional rights exist, and obtaining the necessary permissions for their use, unless a relevant legal exemption is applicable.
Users must comply with legal requirements and take note of the following:

Citation Rules

Where archival records and materials from the LegCo Archives are referred to, acknowledgment should follow the Citation Rules:
Citation of material from the LegCo Archives comprises three parts:
  1. Archival institution (e.g. the Legislative Council Archives, Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region);
  2. Record series - the unique records number and title (e.g. LAS 4: Sessional Papers); and
  3. Record item - as far as practicable the identifying number, title, date range and page number should be quoted (e.g. LAS 4/1/903, Sessional Papers: "Annual Report of the Director of Accounting Services and the Accounts of Hong Kong for the year ended 31 March 1990", p. 10).
Physical records regardless of their formats may be damaged over time or because of improper handling. Care must be taken to avoid damage and slow down the deterioration process.

Archives repository

Archival holdings of the LegCo Archives are kept in a clean, secure and stable environment to ensure proper long-term preservation for continuous access.
Special care has been taken in fitting-out the windowless archives repository with 24-hour stringent control of temperature and relative humidity at 17ºC ±2ºC and 45% ±5% respectively. Air filters, seamless epoxy floor, UV-free lighting and archival quality shelving, containers and supplies are used to protect the stored records from pollutants and dirt.
To minimize records damage in case of fire, all records storage area is equipped with 4-hour fire resistant walls and doors, smoke detectors and a 24-hour automatic gaseous sprinkler system using non-toxic FM 200. An electronic security system with intrusion alarm and CCTVs are installed to prevent the risk of theft and vandalism.

Rules in handling archival records

To help protect archival records, users must observe the Rules on Use of Services of the Legislative Council Archives.


An in-house digitization project was initiated in 2017 to digitize selected archival records for easy sharing and minimizing damage made to the original records. High-quality digital images with descriptive, technical and administrative metadata to suit specific needs of the Archives and users are captured under stringent quality control.
Digitized copy of many open records prepared with indices are provided for consultation at the Reading Rooms of the Archives.