Throughout Trinity term, the library is offering a range of classes and talks (History Faculty Canvas – restricted access) designed to support Oxford second-year UG historians who are working towards their thesis.
It’s a very exciting time for all budding historians, as it offers you the opportunity to engage in primary research on a subject of your own devising, and to work out arguments which are entirely your own (not a synthesis of the conclusions of others). You will work as a historical scholar in your own right and will taste the kind of academic work undertaken professionally by your tutors. To understand more about the requirements and support for your thesis, check out the History Faculty guidance on the compulsory thesis (History Faculty Canvas – restricted access).
Doing research on your thesis also means that you will need to learn new skills, deepening your knowledge of resources and sources and how to go about locating and using them.
To help you on this exciting journey, the library has organised a series of talks, classes, workshops and a Thesis Fair which are designed to
- Upskill your information searching and research skills;
- Learn about the rich sources available to them in Oxford (and beyond) and know how to access them;
- Learn how to handle the material, incl. archives, correct citation practices, ethical research practice, etc.;
- Get to know relevant experts in Oxford libraries and archives.
THE TRAINING SCHEDULE
Most sessions require SSO for bookings.
Some are open to other members of the University.
Others (*) are exclusively aimed at undergraduates of the History Faculty, University of Oxford.
If you have any queries regarding these or have problems with registration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Researching Bibliography – Wed 26 April 2023 @ 2-3pm (week 1)
This online session aims to give you a head start on the skills you will need to track down secondary literature and primary source material for your thesis. A range of library catalogues, databases, web portals and more will be explored to help you make the best use of your time.
*Researching Archives – Wed 3 May @ 2-3.30pm (week 2) – In person, Lecture Theatre, Weston Library
This in-person talk provides an introduction to using archives for research and will cover:
- defining archives
- archival arrangement
- the practicalities of working with archival material
- finding relevant archives
- archives in the Bodleian, the University and further afield
- web archives.
No booking required.
Optional: after the talk, join a 20mins tour to learn how to navigate the Weston Library, what facilities and reading rooms there are. Booking is essential as there are only 12 spaces. Book a place on the Weston Library tour.
*History Thesis Fair – Thurs 4 May @ 2-4pm (week 2) – In person, North Writing School, Exam Schools
This highly popular Fair has Librarians, Academics, Information Skills advisors, Subject Specialists and lots more covering many different subjects and aspects of your Thesis prep. Come and talk to dedicated specialists and find out what there is on offer in Oxford and further afield! If you are in a college beginning letters B-N, please come at 2pm; all other colleges should try to come at 3pm – but if you can’t make it during your time slot, just come when you can.
Referencing: Choosing and using software for referencing (Bodleian iSkills) – Fri 5 May @ 9.30am-12.30pm (week 2)
Formatting your in text citations, footnotes and bibliography correctly for your thesis or publication is a chore. Reference management software makes it easier and saves you time. This introductory session gives an overview of how reference management works, explores the advantages and disadvantages of a range of software packages and gives you the opportunity to try out three different packages (RefWorks, EndNote and Zotero) so that you can work out which one is best for you.
Online Resources for Historians (Bodleian iSkills) – Thurs 11 May @ 2.3.30pm (week 3)
A general online introduction to the vast range of electronic resources which are available for all historical periods of British and Western European history. Learning outcomes are to: Gain an overview of some of the key online resources for Medieval, Early Modern and Modern British and Western European History. Know how to access subscription resources. Gain awareness of key examples of useful resources: bibliographic databases; reference sources; primary sources; maps; audio-visual resources, and data sources.
*Research Skills for your Thesis: a workshop – Wed 17 May @ 2-4pm (week 4)
This classroom-based session is designed to equip you with key information skills in order to make best use of electronic information and discovery resources. A range of finding aids and databases will be explored, as well as advanced search techniques which can be used in SOLO and other online search tools. There will be practical exercises which are designed to start work on your research.
Newspapers and other online news sources from the 17th-20th centuries (Bodleian iSkills) – Thurs 18 May @ 2-3.30pm (week 4)
Newspapers are a valuable resource for researching not only news but also many other aspects of political, economic, social and cultural life. In this online session we will introduce key online sources of news and how to make best use of them. The focus will be on historical and contemporary newspapers from the 17th century across most countries of the world.
Referencing: Zotero (Bodleian iSkills) – Fri 19 May @ 9.30am-12.30pm (week 4)
Zotero is a reference management tool that helps you build libraries of references and add citations and bibliographies to word processed documents using your chosen citation style. This classroom-based introduction covers the main features of Zotero with the opportunity for practical exercises.
Information Resources for Modern Global History (Bodleian iSkills) – Tues 23 May @ 11.15am-1pm (week 5)
This in-person session introduces key archival, printed and electronic resources, such as finding aids, bibliographic resources and primary sources for post-1800 global history. The focus will be on non-European history but will draw predominantly on English and European language resources.
State Papers Online: an introduction to documents on Tudor and Stuart society, life, and government (Bodleian iSkills) – Thurs 25 May @ 2-3.30pm (week 5)
State Papers Online I – IV: The Tudors, Stuarts & Commonwealth 1509-1714 (Foreign & Domestic) is a database containing everyday working papers of the British royal government. They bring to life Tudor and Stuart society and government, religion and politics in all its drama, allowing scholars to trace the remarkable – and frequently violent – transformations of the 16th & 17th centuries. The papers are digitised images and are accompanied by the Calendars. The demonstration will show how to search for and browse. Drawing on the Weston Library’s own collection of State Papers, the session will show case of an original example.
*Sources for Medieval History – Thurs 1 June @ 2-3.30pm (week 6)
This online session provides a general overview of a wide range of e-resources relevant for British and Western European medieval history: bibliographical databases, biographical/reference tools, web portals and collections of online primary source materials of Anglo-Saxon sources, chronicles, charters and more.
Sources for US History (Bodleian iSkills) – Tues 6 June 2023 @ 2-3.30pm (week 7)
An online introduction to primary sources for the study of American history, from the colonial period to the 20th Century. The session will provide an overview of the different kinds of information sources (early printed books, newspapers, databases and official records), and guidance on locating material for research. Collections highlighted include physical materials available in Oxford, Bodleian databases and other online resources.
Guides to resources, 1-1 sessions & more training
A wide-range of guides on history resources can help you find key print and online resources for your subject.
If you need more specialist and tailored support, check out the list of Bodleian Libraries’ subject librarians and experts. In one-to-one sessions, subject librarians can discuss in detail which resources are best for your topic.
For information about other training opportunities, such as palaeography or languages, check out Research Training for Historians.
There are more Bodleian iSkills workshops and IT Services run many sessions designed to improve your digital skills.