Long Vacation Loans

As we draw to the end of Trinity term, the History Faculty Library has moved into its Long Vacation loan period. From today, Monday 10th June (8th week), all books issued from the library won’t need to be returned until Tuesday 15th October (1st week, Michaelmas).

This also applies to any online renewals of current loans that take place from Monday 10th onwards. However, if there is a hold request on a book you have, it will need to be brought back by the original due date.

As always, you can check due dates and renew books through your SOLO account. And if you have any questions please come and speak to staff in the Radcliffe Camera or drop us an email at library.history@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Happy summer reading and we look forward to see many of you again at the beginning of the next academic year. And if you are leaving Oxford this summer, we wish you all the very best for the future!

Easter Vacation Loans

We are almost at the end of Hilary Term and so the History Faculty Library will be moving into the vacation loan period. From Monday 4th March (8th week), all books issued from the library won’t need to be returned until Tuesday 23rd April (1st week, Trinity).

This also applies to any online renewals of current loans that take place from Monday 4th onwards. However, if there is a hold request on a book you have, it will need to be brought back by the original due date.

As always, you can check due dates and renew books through your SOLO account. And if you have any questions please come and speak to staff in the Radcliffe Camera or drop us an email at library.history@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Happy Easter reading!

SOLO improvements: Journal Search and shortcuts to purchase and Interlibrary requests

We continue to improve SOLO for our users. Here is the latest round of changes and tips.

⇒ We have added shortcuts to the top of SOLO and it’s now easier to recommend a purchase or request an item from a library outside Oxford (InterLibrary Request).

⇒ We have added Journal Search to only search or browse for print or electronic journals.This replaces Journals A-Z.

Top tip: switch from Search Everything to Oxford Collections to only find books, theses, databases, journals (but not 100m+ journal articles, book reviews, etc.)


See our SOLO LibGuide for full details and see below for quick links to useful searches and tools. Once you master SOLO, you will be able to make even more the most of our very rich and extensive collections.

Frontpage of SOLO with pointers highllghting Help to the SOLO LibGuide, Purchase Request to recommend a purchase, Need More? for InterLibrary Requests and '...' (three dots) to see more search options. Further pointers highlight the tip to change the default Search Everything to Oxford Collections and to click on Live Chat on the right to get help during working hours.

More searching options are in the extended section. That is especially useful for browsing for books by subject where you don’t have any author or title.

The Journal Search is also available from here (as well as from the SOLO front page > Useful Links).

A screenshot from SOLO's full list of search options, including browsing by subjects and doing a Journal Search

In Journal Search, you can browse by subject (may not be the best search for a very large subject like History but it could be useful)…

Screenshot from Journal Search, showing how to browse for journals by subject.

… or you can search by journal title (not article title!). This is useful if your journal uses very common words – such as History!

A screenshot from SOLO Journal Search with an example of searching for journals called 'History'.

Getting help

  • During working hours, the quickest to get help is to ask our Live Chat (from front page of SOLO).
  • Check out the SOLO LibGuide.
  • Ask any of our friendly library staff in our libraries.

Christmas Closure

As we are now in the final days before Christmas, a reminder that the Radcliffe Camera and History Faculty Library will be closing Friday 22nd December at 5pm. We will reopen at 9am on Tuesday 2nd January.

Need some last minute research material? Don’t worry! There is still time to order material into the library from offsite storage. Our final delivery will be the afternoon of Thursday 21st. Please order by 10.30 am that morning to guarantee delivery.

Scan and Deliver requests are now closed for the Christmas period, but the service will resume from 9am on the 2nd January.

The library may be physically closed over Christmas and New Year but the spirit of the library lives on! There is still a great range of online resources that will be available to use over the festive period. Check out our LibGuide for more information.

Finally, from all the team here at the Radcliffe Camera and History Faculty Library, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, successful 2024!

Christmas Vacation Loans

As we come to the end of Michaelmas Term, the History Faculty Library will be moving into the vacation loan period. From Monday 27th November (8th week), all books issued from the library won’t need to be returned until Tuesday 16th January (1st week, Hilary).

This also applies to any renewals of current loans that take place from Monday 27th onwards. However, if there is a hold request on a book you have, it will need to be brought back by the original due date.

As always, you can check due dates and renew books through your SOLO account. And if you have any questions please come and speak to staff in the Radcliffe Camera or drop us an email at library.history@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Happy Christmas reading!

 

British Library cyber-attack – some tips for workarounds

Have a suggestion for this list? I would love to hear from colleagues & researchers so I can keep it updated. Please email me at isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk. Thank you! Smilie[last updated: 15 January 2024, 9:55am]

Following the cyber-attack, our colleagues in the British Library work are working very hard to restore operations and services. As the disruption is likely to continue for a few weeks, below is a list of tips for some workarounds.

BL updates and contacts

Regularly check the British Library blog and their Twitter feed @britishlibrary for updates on the current status of their services. You can contact the BL via Twitter or emailing customer@bl.uk (be prepared for delay to responses).

On Monday 15 January 2024, the BL released access to an interim catalogue. You can search for the majority of their print holdings.

For ongoing services and disruptions, do check their website.

Do you have BL login? Reset your password

‘We have no evidence that data of our users has been compromised. However, if you have a British Library login and your password is used elsewhere, we recommend changing it as a precautionary measure.’

Tip 1: Finding alternative copies

Researchers can obviously double-check SOLO for alternative copies, but may also want to consider HathiTrust or Archive.org for older and out-of-copyright material.

Although the British Library catalogue is not available, you can still check for British Library published material in Library Hub Discover. This resource is a database of 204 UK and Irish academic, national & specialist library catalogues. If you want to easily find a copy in another library in the UK, then make friends with Library Hub Discover!

Single Search box of Library Hub Discover with a brief description of its purpose: giving access to detials of materials held in many UK national, academic and specialist libraries. It currently contains 51,612,322 records contributed by 204 institutions.Recommend a Purchase for the Bodleian Libraries (Oxford staff and students only)

If an item is not held in Oxford or it is not accessible because it is a Non-Print Legal Deposit item, Oxford researchers can check SOLO if another Oxford library (incl. a college library) has your book. If not, you can ask for a book to be purchased using our Recommend a Purchase form (SSO required).

Tip 2: Finding and locating BL open shelf collections

The reading rooms are still open for private research and collections, which are on the open shelves, can therefore be used. Very limited, manual collection item ordering in London for general collection items stored in St Pancras (this does not include special collections) – these can be requested by completing paper forms in the Reading Rooms and will be delivered at set times.

So, how do you find St Pancras items when the BL catalogue is down?

In Library Hub Discover’s Advanced Search, you can limit your search to BL St Pancras in the Library section. You can at least copy the shelfmark and make your way to London.

Showing the catalogue record details: Calendar of state papers, domestic series, of the reign of Anne : preserved in the Public Record Office / Public Record Office. London, 1916.

Calendar of state papers, domestic series, of the reign of Anne : preserved in the Public Record Office. British Library SPHOA HLR 941 (RS 129 )

Admissions

The BL can only issue temporary reader tickets at the moment. If you already have a card and it needs renewing, this will probably be slightly easier than those who need to register for the first time. Contact customer@bl.uk if you need help but be prepared for a delayed response as our colleagues will be terrifically busy with other enquiries.

Tip 3: Accessing British Library website content

BL websites will have been archived, probably to varying degrees of depth, by the Internet Archives’s Wayback Machine.

If you have the URL of the webpage you want to access, just type it into the search box and you will be presented with a calendar indicating the days and years when a snapshot of the webpage was taken:

Showing a graph with indications when the BL website http://www.bl.uk/collection-items was archived with a visual calendar below highlighting in blue or green the dates and year when snapshots where taken. There can be clicked on.

Wayback Machine showing when the BL website on its Collections (http://www.bl.uk/collection-items) were archived.

Some formatting may be a bit odd and, depending how deeply the content was crawled, you may not always get the full content. It also loads quite slowly. However, I was able to listen to some sound recordings:

A sound recording from the BL Collections website Sisterhood. An image and recording of Ann Oakley discussing motherhood and depression.

A sound recording from the BL Collections website ‘Sisterhood and After: The Women’s Liberation Oral History Project’ where Ann Oakley discussed motherhood and depression. Interview 11 May 2012. Shelfmark: C1420/56

So, how do you find the URL of a BL website?

This becomes a little more ‘interesting’. The easiest is to Google, hopefully find the webpage you are interested in, make a note of the URL string and put it into the Wayback Machine. Please note that this may not always work, if e.g. names of URL were changed over time.

A google search for British Librayr collections where the URL can be seen.

You may also come across links to the BL webpages from other sources. This can of course include the BL’s own Blogs which don’t appear to be affected by the cyberattack. A list of BL blogs is webarchived at https://web.archive.org/web/20231010125136/https://www.bl.uk/blogs.

Please note that this technique will not work for URLs of content in databases with dynamic content such as library catalogues, archive catalogues, etc. None of these are crawled by the Wayback Machine.

At this point it might be a good idea to upskill your Google searching skills. You can target your searches more effectively with certain commands. Check out our Advanced Google Searching teaching materials and video recording.

Tip 4. Looking for the ESTC?

The English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) is the definitive union catalogue for early British or English language books, covering publications printed before 1800. The BL website for ESTC is down.

A temporary version of the pre-1700 ESTC is hosted at https://estc.printprobability.org/.

However, if you are fortunate enough to have access to a library which has Early English Books Online and the Eighteenth Century Collections Online, then that is a great alternative because you can then also look at the digital copy.

If you are not a member of Oxford University and you are just searching for citations, then you can still search Oxford’s SOLO from anywhere in the world:

A SOLO list of results including a citation to: Epulario, or The Italian banquet wherein is shewed the maner how to dresse and prepare all kind of flesh, foules or fishes. As also how to make sauces, tartes, pies, &c. After the maner of all countries. With an addition of many other profitable and necessary things. Translated out of Italian into English.

Searching ‘eebo cooking banquet’ in SOLO’s Oxford Collections.

Tip 5. Looking for BL Special Collections?

You may be able to use other sources to find descriptions of BL Special Collections. It can be a bit tricky but here are some suggestions:

Both The National Archives and The Archives Hub describe collections held in repositories in the UK, including the British Library. You can limit your search to just the British Library and get some description and shelfmarks. In some instances, the description also mentions microfilmed versions which may be accessible in another library.

A search in The National Archives Discovery tool for India Office material held in the British Library.

Many BL archival and rare book materials have been digitised in source databases, such as the East India Company (Modules I-V). You can get a list of these databases by searching our Databases A-Z for “British Library”. Current staff and students can then of course access these, using SSO for remote access.

Databases A-Z: "british library" brings up 30 results of which the first one is mentioned: British Library Newspapers, Parts I-V. (1732-1950)

Databases A-Z with a phrase search “british library”.

If you are an external reader and would like to register with the Bodleian Libraries, check out our information how to join.

NEED HELP? THEN JUST GET IN TOUCH!

There are a few other things one can try. If any Oxford researchers for British & West European history need any help, do get in touch by emailing isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk or see our list of other subject librarians.

If you have a disability, you can also contact disability.librarian@bodleian.ox.ac.uk to ask if we can find an alternative.

Wishing our BL colleagues all the very best as they wrestle with a major challenge, Isabel Holowaty, Deputy Head of Humanities Libraries & History Librarian (Research)

Finding study spaces and group study rooms across Oxford

Are you looking for somewhere to study with others or have a meeting or discussion? Or do you want a quiet space to work in?

Find a Library

Selected from the 26 Bodleian Libraries sites, you can find a range of libraries and study spaces by atmosphere, services, accessibility, comfort, opening times in our Find a Library service.

A screenshot showing a list of 3 libraries (Art, Bodleian Old Library, Weston Library) which are historic, have adjustable furniture, individual carrels, and are open on SaturdaysNeed a Group Study Room?

Bodleian Libraries offer a range of group study spaces across Oxford which are available to all members of the University and many also open to external readers. Check out Group Study Rooms across the Bodleian Libraries for an overview of their locations, size, equipment, and how to book.

A list of small group study rooms upt to 4 people. Includes the Law Library, Vere Harmsworth Library and Weston Library.

We are also currently piloting a group study room tool in the Radcliffe Science Library, Social Science Library, and Vere Harmsworth Library.

The following are available to any reader to book for academic purposes via our new tool:

A photo showing the Vere Harmsworth Library Group Study Room 1: a white room with a circular table and four blue chairs.

How does the booking tool work?

The group study rooms are bookable by University members via an online form (https://ox-ac.libcal.com/reserve/vhl). You will also be able to check availability. You must make your bookings with at least 2 hours’ notice, and can only make bookings of up to 10 hours per week.

You can make bookings up to 70 days in advance, allowing for bookings to be made across an academic term. Currently the booking tool is only available to University members, and Bodleian Readers card members will need to continue making room bookings by contacting library staff either at the enquiry desk or via email.

Why are we trialing this tool?

Benefits of the new booking tool include immediate confirmation of availability, reducing the likelihood of double booking and reducing staff mediation of bookings via spreadsheets or similar methods.

The pilot is part of the wider Bodleian Libraries Strategy 2022-27 (pdf), to increase visibility and provision of bookable spaces across the Bodleian Libraries, in response to Reader Survey feedback. Statistics and feedback will be collected during the pilot and will inform any further steps towards maximising study room use and creating a common room booking policy.

Introducing MARCO, Oxford’s new discovery tool for Manuscripts and Archives

We are delighted to report that a major new discovery tool for Oxford archives and manuscripts, MARCO, is now available. Oxford’s very own Professor Lyndal Roper, Regius Chair of History, launched the service in a ceremony on 26 October 2023.

Front page of MARCO showing searc box, with links to Help and About. Manuscripts and Archives at Oxford University (MARCO) searches descriptions of manuscripts and archives held at the Bodleian Libraries and some Oxford colleges.

It is for all users of manuscript and archive collections held at the Bodleian Libraries and Oxford colleges and is the easiest place to start your search for manuscripts and archives held in Oxford, allowing searching across all online descriptions of the collections.

The discovery tool will allow researchers to deep-dive into detail but also discover material they may not have expected to be held in Oxford.

Where there is a digital copy in Digital.Bodleian, a link will be provided.

A yellow picture of several magnifying glasses scattered around.

ELEVEN CATALOGUES = ONE SEARCH

The descriptions are drawn from eleven online catalogues, extending from Greek papyrus fragments from the 5th century BC to 21st century born-digital archives.

  1. Bodleian Archives and Manuscripts
  2. Charters in the Bodleian Libraries
  3. Medieval Manuscripts in Oxford Libraries
  4. Fihrist: Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World
  5. Karchak: Tibetan Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries
  6. Hebrew Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries
  7. Genizah Fragments at the Bodleian Libraries
  8. South Asian Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries
  9. Armenian Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries
  10. Senmai: Shan Buddhist Manuscripts
  11. Georgian Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries

The collections include works of literature, medieval legal charters and deeds, politics, science, medicine, theology, law, music, photographic material and religious devotion, as well as many forms of documentary material produced by individuals and institutions.

The project unifies information about individuals, ensuring that whichever spelling or variation of a name you use, you will still find relevant materials:

Showing the 4 catalogues where Moses Maimonides is mentioned: Hebrew and Judaica Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries Hebrew and Judaica Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World Medieval manuscripts in Oxford librariesYou can also use keyword searching for find relevant materials.

What is not included?

Please note that not all manuscripts and archives are described online. Many of the catalogues are works-in-progress, and some collections are not yet described online at all. For more information, see below.

Continue to search individual catalogues

Existing users of the individual catalogues, or users who know which individual catalogue describes material they need, can still search the source catalogues directly.

About the project

The project aims to create a researcher-driven and easy to use discovery interface, MARCO, which will allow manuscript and archival materials from the Bodleian and Oxford’s colleges to be searched together. This discovery layer will enable new and existing audiences to better access the materials and will offer a fit-for-purpose environment for finding information about Oxford’s unique collections.

MARCO realizes the Bodleian Libraries’ vision of a connected, user-friendly, robust and adaptable digital environment for the University of Oxford’s manuscripts and archives.

Huge congratulations are due to the very many colleagues involved in designing and launching this project which is part of the Mellon Foundation funded FAMOUS project.

While you are here:

Access to Bodleian Libraries archives: The Bodleian Libraries’ welcome academics, students and researchers to consult special collections in person. Information on how to do so can be found on the Using Special Collections page.

Archives in Colleges: For information about consulting items held at Oxford colleges, please contact the colleges directly. For help and advice using special collections held at Oxford colleges, see Oxford College Archives and Oxford college library guides.

Guides and Finding Aids. For an overview of the special collections held at the Bodleian Libraries, see the Special Collections section of Bodleian Libraries website. This includes:

  • Subject Guides, which provide an overview of all the Libraries’ special collections, not just those catalogued online, with links to further information.
  • Detailed finding aids, which give specific information working with individual collections.

Please contact Bodleian Special Collections if you need any further information.

Welcome to Oxford! Library induction arrangements for new History postgraduates

We warmly welcome all new History postgraduates starting in Oxford!

Libraries will play a big part during your time at Oxford, whether providing access to online articles, helping you find that elusive book on the open shelves or finding source materials. There are over 100 libraries in Oxford and it can be quite confusing (and daunting) as you learn how to best use the libraries.

The History Librarians, Isabel and Rachel, are aiming to attend as many of the Faculty induction sessions for Graduates as possible in 0th week to introduce ourselves and help you find your feet quickly.

All induction schedules and bookings are available on the History Faculty’s Canvas page (Single Sign On required).

Talk

  1. Introduction to Bodleian Libraries for History Postgraduates – Wednesday 4th October, 2pm via Teams. Joining link is on Canvas.
  2. How to make the most of SOLO (Library catalogue) – Friday 5th October at 2pm via Teams. Joining link is on Canvas.
  3. Introduction to the African and Commonwealth collections – 10 October 2023 09:00-10:30am – Sign up in Canvas.

Library tours & visits

  1. Bodleian Old Library and Radcliffe Camera (all except HSMT students) –throughout 0th week. Sign up in Canvas.
  2. [HSMT students] Bodleian and Radcliffe Camera tour for History of Science, Medicine and Technology Graduates– 3 October 2023 09:00-10am – Sign up  in Canvas.
  3. Vere Harmsworth Library tour (Rothermere American Institute) – 11 October 2023 11:00-12pm – Sign up in Canvas.
  4. Introduction to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room – daily in 1st week (9-13 October) – Sign up in Canvas.

Guides

A more detailed History Graduates – Introduction to Bodleian Libraries Guide 2023 is available to help you navigate your way around Bodleian Libraries’ collections and finding aids.

Help

The libraries are here to help you in your research. If anything is not clear or you are struggling to finding or accessing your readings, please do get in touch with library staff. You can do so in a variety of ways:

We wish you all the very best in your studies and research!