The Chinese Educational Resources Information Centre Project (Chinese ERIC)
- Establishing a free electronic database of educational studies in Chinese communities

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  1. Background to the project
  2. Objectives
  3. Target Audience
  4. Resources [ search Chinese ERIC Database ]
  5. Types of Educational Resources and the Coverage Period
  6. Establishing a C-ERIC Thesaurus
  7. Information Retrieval
  8. General Guidelines for Using the Database
  9. Copyrights
  10. Fees
  11. Significance of the Database
  12. Limitations
  13. Conclusions
  14. Summary of Recommendations

(A) Background to the project Next Top

Entering the twenty-first century, educational practitioners and researchers are facing the challenges of meeting the new demands of a fast-changing educational world. For example, life-long education and distance education are two major educational recommendations to prepare people for leading a competent life in the next century. In order to keep Chinese educators and practitioners in step with these demands, it is opportune to review the existing needs of scholars in Hong Kong and other Chinese communities.

We have witnessed an increasing number of Chinese scholars across Chinese societies engaging in educational research in the last decades. Fruits of serious research are abundant. A few regional attempts were made to put the findings together. For example, in the eighties in Hong Kong, educational researchers such as Chung et al. have conducted a research into Hong Kong education and published "An Annotated Bibliography of Studies on Hong Kong Education (1946-1982)" in 1991. However, this valuable work had no records of the work of Hong Kong between 1983 and the present, no document from the Chinese Mainland, and only a handful from Taiwan. Moreover, it was not designed for publishing on the Internet. In recent years, owing to the rapid development of technology and electronic database, Taiwan collects indexes of her journal articles and publishes them in CD-ROM. Although it allows greater library access and wider readership, charged services are hurdles for users. Many other individual Chinese institutions also published their publications and news on the Internet.

Nevertheless, individual endeavors tend to be either thin on education, or weak in giving an overall picture of the cycle of changes in the field of education in Chinese societies. Educational practitioners and researchers still have to do physical search in the libraries or reading rooms of universities, colleges, government departments and voluntary agencies.

The Faculty of Education and the Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research of the Chinese University of Hong Kong felt that there is a great need to collaborate efforts of scholars across Chinese societies, and to provide a Chinese-oriented educational information resource to serve Chinese communities. The Chinese Educational Resources Information Center project (hereafter C-ERIC) began to be developed by the joint effort of our Faculty and Institute in December 1995. The first stage ends in June, 1998.

(B) Objectives Previous Next Top

One of the main objectives of our C-ERIC project is to use the American Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) system as a reference to provide a bibliographic search of individual words of document resumes (citation abstracts) to users. The C-ERIC database does not provide a "full-text" searching. The full texts of C-ERIC documents are generally available from the C-ERIC journal articles.

This project also aims to establish a free electronic database of educational studies in Chinese communities. C-ERIC provides information about our Faculty of Education and the Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research, and develops a database for educational journal articles in Chinese societies: the Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It also includes theses/dissertations submitted for doctoral and master's degrees of the Chinese University. The information is disseminated via the INTERNET. The American ERIC only provides citations and abstracts of journal articles and educational documents in English, whereas the C-ERIC database includes both Chinese and English.

(C) Target Audience Previous Next Top

This educational resources information center is mainly designed for educational researchers, policy makers, teachers, practitioners, administrators, media staff, support staff and students across the boundaries.

(D) Resources Previous Next Top

The establishment for educational resources for the C-ERIC began in December 1995. The project committee members contacted and visited the leading institutions in Taiwan and searching for the likely journals in the fields of education. In the following years, 1996-7, substantial and systematic library search was launched both in Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland. The database of the University Library System provided us a user-friendly library search for Hong Kong and Taiwan journals, whereas trips to the Chinese Mainland permitted us to have first hand educational resources of her leading journals. In addition, our faculty members were very generous to lend us their own copies of journal articles which made the search much easier.

At this stage, the C-ERIC database contains approximately 13,000 entries (including author, titles and date) on the Internet. Most of these entries are accompanied by article abstracts. The C-ERIC collects English and Chinese articles published in 19 leading educational journals in Hong Kong, the Chinese Mainland and Taiwan, dating back to 1990. Users are welcome to visit the database at our homepage: The selected journals are listed as follows:

Moreover, the C-ERIC also provides abstracts of approximately 110 postgraduate dissertations and theses of our Faculty.

This database covers the authors' names, titles of the journal articles, and abstracts in Chinese and/or English. It also provides abstracts of local educational masters' and doctoral theses/dissertations.

Key Word Search Key Word Search
A simple keyword search on fields of the journal articles is provided. The searching keywords may be in Chinese (BIG5 code) or English. At the moment, only the fields title, author and keywords are searchable.
Free-text Search Free-Text search on available article abstracts and keywords
The free-text search page utilises a Chinese-capable indexing engine, GAIS, as the backend search engine. You can key in any keyword expression (in both English or Chinese) to search, and the returned results contain a list of pages matching your keyword expression.
Thesaurus Browsing Thesaurus Browsing
Our Chinese ERIC thesaurus provides a helpful means to locate articles from our database through keywords browsing.

(E) The coverage period Previous Next Top

The existing database holds the following two types of resources:
  1. English and Chinese articles published in leading academic educational journals in Hong Kong, the Chinese Mainland and Taiwan;
  2. Educational theses or dissertations submitted for doctoral and master's degrees of the Faculty.
At this stage, all selected journals dated from the current issues back to 1990 whilst educational theses or dissertations dated from the present back to 1980.

(F) Establishing a C-ERIC Thesaurus Previous Next Top

We used the Thesaurus of the American ERIC and the Descriptors List (Jiaoyu Zhuti Cibiao) published in the Chinese Mainland as reference, to construct our own C-ERIC Thesaurus. All terms in the C-ERIC Thesaurus have actually been used in indexing (either in their present form or a close variant form). The key words assigned to each of the nine groups are listed alphabetically within each group in the Key Word Group Display. Each term in the Thesaurus is assigned to one Key Word Group and to only one. This principle of single-group assignment reflects guidelines established to determine the placement of key words which, because of the breadth of their scope, could be assigned to more than one group. Terms are assigned to groups basing on (1) the broadest application of the term in indexing or (2) the way the term has been used most frequently in indexing according to the American ERIC Thesaurus. Key Word Group Codes Key Word Group Codes are also provided for each term at its main alphabetical entry point. The two-digit number indicates the broad category to which that term belongs. The codes are useful for identifying other key words that are conceptually related to the term, but that do not necessarily appear in the term's main display.

(G) Information Retrieval Previous Next Top

Computer search allows users to have a quick review of the database in a single effort as well as to access both index data and every word in a database record. It also eliminates the time consuming, and sometimes, difficult task of scanning separate journal articles.

(H) General Guidelines for Using the Database Previous Next Top

Knowing how something is stored makes finding it easier. Users/Searchers should be aware of the guidelines of search techniques. The four techniques listed below aim to provide subject access to the journal articles and educational theses contained in the database.
  1. Article Browsing
    Users can search an article from the full records of our published article titles from the main page
  2. Key Word Search
    Users can perform a search according to a search term which is translated into key words from the Thesaurus. A search term can be any "indexable" concepts, authors (e.g. Piaget), title (e.g. Gifted Program in Hong Kong), or key words (e.g. Socialist Market Economy) of an article. Users can enter a search term in the textbox provided, and select up to 3 searchable fields among author, title and key words from the selection-box. (URL:
  3. Free-text Search
    Users can perform a search according to a search term (word or phrase) to view all the article abstracts which contain the word/phrase. (URL:
  4. Thesaurus Browsing
    Users can perform a search according to key word groups listed in the Thesaurus. (URL:

Usage examples can be found in our online user guide.

(I) Copyrights Previous Previous Top

Individual letters to the editors of selected journals were sent to secure the copyrights of publishing their article abstracts on our own database, and composing our own where necessary.

(J) Fees Previous Next Top

This electronic database is designed to be a free educational electronic network; providing users with ready access to this extensive body of education related literature network through the World Wide Web.

(K) Significance of the Database Previous Next Top

The C-ERIC attends to the needs of educational and social sciences users communities, especially in the Chinese contexts. Milestones of achievements for the C-ERIC electronic network are as follows:
  1. Data input for local journals dating back to 1990 accomplished dating back to 1990 according to the schedule of the project.
  2. The data was processed and the article abstracts were published on the project's web page (URL:
  3. The data was reconstructed and stored in a database engine. This provided a framework to enable efficient web page retrieval.
  4. Overseas journals (from the Chinese Mainland and Taiwan) were evaluated for web publication in our electronic network.
  5. A search engine was developed to provide a fast and efficient interface for users to retrieve journal articles.
  6. The selected educational journals were processed and published on the web.
  7. This project employed a huge amount of human resources in the following areas:
    1. screening the journal articles,
    2. searching for missing journals, and
    3. composing abstracts for some of the journal articles.

(L) Limitations Previous Next Top

  1. Resources Aspect

    At this stage, our database only collects educational articles of 18 leading journals in Hong Kong, the Chinese Mainland and Taiwan. Journal articles published in Singapore and Macao are not yet included.

    Other documents such as government policy papers, articles appearing in conference or seminar papers, books, monographs and conference proceedings are not included in the database. Only a handful of educational theses and dissertations have been included. This figure is far from adequate to give a representative view on the area.

    The C-ERIC Thesaurus of Key Words is still under construction, and the scheme of classification is subject to further revision. At this initial stage, we do not classify search terms into descriptors. Rather, all terms are used as key words. No descriptors scope note/brief statement of the intended usage of a descriptor is provided.

  2. Technical Aspect

    Two main technical problems have been encountered. The first was that certain Chinese characters cannot be operated by the Chinese word processing system. The other was caused by the incompatibility of the Big 5 code and the GB code. This created difficulties in simplified and traditional Chinese characters conversion.

(M) Conclusions Previous Next Top

This report of the C-ERIC project has discussed the process of data collection, development of the electronic database, and its contributions as well as limitations. In so doing, we have also illustrated the way the literature on education and educational issue was indexed for the database, and how information can be retrieved.

Given the wide-ranging nature of the selected journal articles, the journal abstracts composed by us may not be perfect. Moreover, owing to both time and resource, some significant documents might have been inadvertently left out of this electronic database, and that certain other items which have been included may not meet the approval of some readers. Apology is offered for any error of commission or omission, and suggestions for correction and improvement will always be most welcome.

(N) Summary of Recommendations Previous Top

The C-ERIC project has its mission to serve the educational groups especially in Chinese societies, with an updated educational resource. For this purpose, we feel that we should devote our attention and effort in the next stage to ensure quality database mechanism, scrutinizing and enlarging the scope of our educational database in the Asian region. The following highlights the main recommendations for future development:
  1. Resources

    In order to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date educational resources information center for Chinese societies, our database needs to be substantiated both horizontally and vertically.

    Horizontally, attention is paid to widen the scope of the resources. The number of journals to be selected from the existing three societies should be increased. In addition, journals published in Singapore and Macao should also be included in the database. Other educational documents such as articles appearing in periodical publications or conference proceedings, monographs or seminar papers are target resources of the database in the next stage. Vertically, the coverage of journals should be lengthened dating back to 1980s.

    On the basis of the existing C-ERIC Thesaurus, we aim to develop the scheme of classification further. One way of doing it is to construct publication type codes to categorize all documents according to their "form" of publication.

  2. Inter-region Collaboration

    Technological advancement in Chinese communities not only allows our database to be developed in a coordinated and effective manner, but also promotes greater academic exchanges and development. This being so, we have a vision to collaborating efforts with these of our professional friends and colleagues in the Chinese Mainland, Taiwan, Singapore and Macao.

  3. Establishing a Chinese educational resources information center

    We see ourselves as providers of educational resources, monitors and enforcers of relevant laws and regulations. We are also leaders, facilitators and supporters of quality improvement. Therefore, it is our mission and vision to take our C-ERIC one step further to organize educational research findings, publications and latest development in a systematic manner. This will be helping in monitoring the development of the educational literature, its patterns and cycles of changes. Achievement of this, we need to have incentives to encourage greater inter-region scholar participation, to promote academic exchanges, quality educational research among Chinese societies, to call for funding flexibility to meet the needs of resources collection and to purchase necessary technical items to substantiate a quality database mechanism.

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Last updated on 29 July 1998.
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Since most of the journals included in this project have their own Websites for disseminating the contents of the journals, the historic mission of this project has been completed. The Website of this project will not be updated any more from 2010 onwards.

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