CCCH9051 China: Culture, State and Society
Digitizing Cultural Heritage in Greater China

[This course is under the thematic cluster of ‘Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth’.]


Course Description

Every culture has its own irreplaceable heritage and Chinese culture has accumulated a rich heritage during its long history. Digital technologies now provide more effective and sustainable means to promote, conserve and preserve cultural heritage. This course aims to help students better recognize and appreciate the importance and values of cultural heritages in Hong Kong, China and around the world, and to open their eyes to how digital technologies can be used to conserve and preserve cultural heritage worldwide. Three digital preservation projects will serve as running examples throughout this course: one from Hong Kong (e.g. the Hong Kong Memory project), one from Mainland China (e.g. the e-Dunhuang online gallery), and one from Europe (e.g. the Europeana digital collections). Students will also gain a broad understanding on how economic development and heritage preservation impact us as global citizens in this information age. The capstone of the course is a group project where each group of students will use an off-the-shelf and easy-to-use Web application to create a digital gallery for a cultural heritage in Hong Kong or their own places of origin. Students will also learn how to create a virtual reality (VR) story for a cultural heritage using an easy-to-use online tool. The digital gallery and VR story will be your unique contribution to preserving cultural heritage of the world!

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a good understanding of cultural heritages, their values and significance in history and in today’s society.
  2. Describe and explain the importance of preserving cultural heritage and strategies and methods applied worldwide.
  3. Apply digital technologies to promoting local and Chinese cultural heritage to a global audience.
  4. Apply principles and ethics of information to cultural heritage conservation and preservation.
  5. Design and create digital services for organizing and accessing heritage information from a user-centered perspective.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

First semester (Wed)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 22
Tutorials 11
Fieldwork / Visits 4
Reading / Self-study 35
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 5
Assessment: In-class assignments 10
Assessment: Virtual reality story making 8
Assessment: Group project 35
Total: 130

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Continuous assessment and task focused activities 30
Virtual reality story making 15
Reflection writing 15
Group project 30
Peer evaluation 10

Required Reading

  • Alampay, C. (2015). High Tech Hope for Our Heritage. [TED Talk, Video File]. From [Week 11]
  • Du Cros, H., & Yok-shiu, F. L. (Eds.). (2007). Cultural heritage management in China: preserving the cities of the Pearl River Delta. Routledge. [Week 2 – Introduction]
  • Gilliland, A. J. (2008). Setting the stage. In M. Baca (Ed.), Introduction to metadata (pp. 1-19). Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute. From  [Week 8]
  • Howard, J. B. (2017). Opening doors to interoperability and user engagement: IIIf At University College Dublin. Europeana Pro: Letters from the Editors. From [Week 10]
  • Hu, X., Ho, E. M. Y., & Qiao, C. (2017). Digitizing Dunhuang Cultural Heritage: A User Evaluation of Mogao Cave Panorama Digital Library. iConference. [Week 6]
  • Hu, X., Ng, J., & Xia, S. (2018). User-centered Evaluation of Metadata Schema for Non-movable Cultural Heritage: Murals and Stone Cave Temples. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. [Week 8]
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (n.d.). Tangible cultural heritage and the role of UNESCO. From [Week 1]
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (n.d.). Intangible cultural heritage. From [Week 1]
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (n.d.). Ethics and intangible cultural heritage. From [Week 5]
  • Villa, R., Clough, P. D., Hall, M. M., & Rutter, S. A. (2013, August). Search or Browse? Casual Information Access to a Cultural Heritage Collection. EuroHCIR. [Week 9 – pp. 19-22 (can skip the statistical analysis)]
  • Yung, E. H., & Chan, E. H. (2011). Problem issues of public participation in built-heritage conservation: Two controversial cases in Hong Kong. Habitat International, 35(3), 457-466. [Week 3]
  • Zhou, M., Geng, G., & Wu, Z. (2012). Digital preservation technology for cultural heritage. Springer. [Week 4 – Introduction]

Recommended Reading

  • Conserving Hong Kong’s cultural heritage. (2012). RTHK. [22 mins]
  • Culture clash. (2011). Asia Television Ltd. [23 mins]
  • Retain or remove? (2015). TVB Pearl. [22 mins]
  • Video materials [Electronic resources freely accessible via HKU Library]

Recommended Websites

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr X. Hu
Division of Information and Technology Studies, Faculty of Education
Tel: 2219 4722
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr X. Hu
Division of Information and Technology Studies, Faculty of Education
Tel: 2219 4722