Say hello to an improved SOLO (August 2023)

Frontpage of SOLO showing the search box and at the top options to Browse, get help, do a new search.Today (24 August 2023) we upgraded to a new library system. Most of the changes are ‘behind the scenes’ but we have also taken the opportunity to make some changes to some aspects of SOLO. For instance, we have made it easier for you to discover and locate physical copies of books and be able to tell whether you can borrow or consult a copy within a specific library.

Below are some key changes which are of interest to historians. See also the full list of changes and guidance on using SOLO (LibGuide).

[TIP = Please clear the cache in any web browsers you have previously used to access SOLO to ensure you are viewing the latest version.]

Standardised and clearer location labels

We have changed some location labels, which will make it easier to understand which library (or location) a book is available at as follows:

  • Bodleian Old Library
  • Radcliffe Camera (incl. History Faculty Library). Note: this includes both levels in the Gladstone Link
  • Weston Library
  • Bodleian Offsite Storage

The History Faculty Library will no longer be listed as a separate library in SOLO. If you want to filter your searches to its collections, use Radcliffe Camera (incl. History Faculty Library).

Snippet from SOLO showing the new location labels for an item which is held in both the Bodleian Old Library and the Radcliffe Camera (incl. History Faculty Library).

Facsimiles of English Episcopal Acta, 1085-1305 / [edited by] Martin M. Brett ; with Philippa Hoskin, David Smith. (Oxford, 2012)

Easier to see all copies of a book held in RadCam and Gladstone Link

You will now see all copies listed under Radcliffe Camera (incl. History Faculty Library) where there are multiple copies of an item on the site.

SOLO is showing 2 copies of a book which are in the Radcliffe Camera: a borrowable copy in the Gladstone Link & a Library Use Only copy in the Upper Camera Gallery.

Party, state and society : electoral behaviour in Britain since 1820 / edited by Jon Lawrence and Miles Taylor. Aldershot : Scolar Press, 1997.

Items in the Upper Reading Room or Duke Humfrey’s Library will be listed under Bodleian Old Library.

You will now need to sign into SOLO to see borrowing options 

If you are not signed into SOLO you will only see whether an item is available or not, rather than whether an item can be borrowed or for how long. It is always best to sign first as you get a better service from SOLO. 

Once signed in you will now see loan periods personalised to you 

The terminology for loan policies has also been improved to make it clearer how long you can borrow the book for. (e.g. 7 days; 28 days etc). Please note that you can only borrow from libraries where you are a member, for example, the Bodleian Libraries and your college library. 

Snippet showing an example where one copy is borrable and one which can only be used in the library.

Check for available copies before requesting from offsite 

To try to help you avoid reserving and waiting for a book out on loan when there are copies already available on library shelves for you to fetch immediately, we have added this additional message to SOLO: 

 Before requesting, check for 'item in place' copies - it will be quicker for you to fetch it from the shelf than to wait for a request


Bodleian Libraries lending copies will auto renew for up to 112 days – unless somebody else places a hold. Find out more about the Bodleian Libraries’ borrowing policy.

Book already on loan? Place a hold request!

If you want to borrow a loanable Bodleian Libraries book (which another reader already has on loan) we recommend you place a hold request via SOLO If you don’t place a request, the book will continue to renew automatically for the original reader.  

If you have a book on loan, you will be notified via email if it has been requested.

Alternatively, look for another copy, including one which can be used in the library (Use in Library Only).

Snippet showing the HFL copy on loan, gives the return date and gives options for a hold request or a Scan & Deliver request to be placed.

The politics of design in French colonial urbanism / Wright, Gwendolyn. (Chicago, 1991)

More information how to use SOLO is at SOLO LibGuide.

LibraryScan streamlined with Scan & Deliver service 

The LibraryScan service has now been streamlined with the existing Scan & Deliver service (for items in offsite storage) into a new integrated service. If scanning is an option for any type of item you will now just see the ‘Scan & Deliver’ button. 

The Scan & Deliver request form has been improved, particularly the wording on how much you can have scanned (not the whole book!) including advice that you can ask for the index or table of contents in addition to your final choice of chapter. 

Requesting items from other libraries, beyond Oxford 

If we do not hold an item in Oxford it is now really easy to request an item from other libraries, beyond Oxford. Simply click on ‘Need more?’ from the menu at the top of the page and fill in the form. 

Help & support

If you need any help, please do get in touch with library staff who will be more than happy to help you. Here is how you can contact us:

Your feedback matters

We have undertaken extensive testing of the new version of SOLO, gathering feedback from 80 students using the system in real-world situations, and consulting widely on the borrowing changes (see link above). However, we recognise that not everything will be perfect from the start, and development will continue. We are using this feedback form to gather feedback on the changes to SOLO, which will help us make further improvements.

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