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We propose two techniques that are applicable to any adaptive vector quantization (AVQ) systems. The first one is called the locality-based codebook updating: when performing a codebook updating, we update the operational codebook using not only the current input vector but also the codewords at all positions within a selected neighboring area (called the locality), while the operational codebook is organized in a "cache" manner. This technique is rationalized by the high correlation cross neighboring vectors that facilitates a more efficient coding of the indices of the codewords chosen from the codebook. The second technique is called the history aid, which makes use of the information of previously coded vectors to quantize the current input vector if it is used to update the operational codebook. A more effective AVQ system is obtained by combining together the history aid and the locality-based updating. Extensive simulations are carried out to demonstrate the improved results achieved by our AVQ systems. Particularly, when the operational codebook size is relatively small, the improvement over a benchmark AVQ system - the generalized threshold replenishment (GTR) - is drastic. For example, when the size is 32, testing on a nonstationary signal (containing frames from different video sequences, ordered in the concatenating or interleaving format) shows that the combination of history aid and locality-based updating offers more than 4 dB gain over GTR at 0.5 bpp.