Who’s who of Humanities Subject Librarians

Can’t remember which Oxford librarian covers Celtic? Wondering about Women’s Studies, Palaeography or History of the Book? And who provides research support for which East European country? The Humanities Libraries’ LibGuide (http://ox.libguides.com/humanities) will tell you.

Bodleian Humanities Libraries serves the largest concentration of Humanities scholars in the world with a wide range of academic interests. At a single glance, researchers, locally or from abroad, can find information on the extensive collections and research support available in Oxford – and who to ask for further advice.

The site provides links to subject guides for 43 individual Humanities subjects, ranging from African Studies to Women’s Studies. These subject guides outline what printed, archival and electronic resources are available to researchers and how they can be accessed. You can also use the LibGuide to find the contact details of any one of our 37 subject specialists.

To assist in the use of the libraries, collections and services, the site also provides links to guidance and research support in areas such as Open Access, Digital Scholarship, Research Data Management, etc. Over time, more information regarding Digital Humanities endeavours will be added.

James Legg, Head of Bodleian Humanities Libraries, Sackler Librarian, Taylor Librarian

Using RefWorks? The History Faculty style has been updated

RefWorksIf you are using the History Faculty styles in RefWorks, then please note that a number of updates have been made in order to be in line with the Faculty requirements (see also below). They mostly follows the New Oxford Style Manual (3rd ed, Oxford, 2016) bar the odd deliberate deviation.

  1. Journal enumeration now will display also any issue numbers and not be preceded by “vol.”
  2. Pagination information in journal articles is preceded by “pp.” – unlike the New Oxford Style Manual. This has now been added. It has always been required for book and book chapters so there is no change there.

The effect of the changes are best illustrated with the following example:


Campbell, B.M.S., ‘Factor Markets in England before the Black Death’, Continuity and Change, vol. 24 (2009), 79-106.


Campbell, B.M.S., ‘Factor Markets in England before the Black Death’, Continuity and Change, 24/1 (2009), pp. 79-106.

How to get the updated History Faculty style?

The four updated Faculty styles are now available on the University-wide RefWorks Output Manager. To apply them, make sure you save them to your Favorites first. You may need to re-select them.

RefWorks output manager style updated

If you need any assistance, please contact library.history@bodleian.ox.ac.uk, phone 01865 277262 or speak to library staff in the Upper Camera Reading Room.

Please note!

  • Due to lack of resources it currently not possible for the History Faculty Library to also create and maintain styles in other reference management tools, such as Endnote or Mendeley.
  • A new version of RefWorks has recently been launched by the developers, Proquest. This new version will run alongside the existing version of RefWorks (now referred to as “Legacy RefWorks”)  until January 2018. Both versions are available but do not currently work together. Bodleian Libraries strongly recommend that existing RefWorks users delay moving to the new version of RefWorks for the time being. Please await further announcements.

Other useful resources

  1. More about RefWorks
  2. For UGs: Guidance on the Presentation and Format of Theses and Extended Essay (pdf from History Faculty WebLearn).
  3. For PGs: Conventions for the presentation of essays, dissertations, and theses (pdf from History Faculty WebLearn).
  4. Oxford LibGuides: Reference Management
  5. Slides and handouts for HFL RefWorks training sessions (HFL WebLearn)

New LibGuide: German archives: a guide to discovering and using them

Students and researchers intending to use archives in Germany might find the new German archives: a guide to discovering and using them useful.

LibGuide - German archivesCreated by Ms Ulrike Kändler as part of her internship at the Bodleian Library, August 2014, the guide is designed to help you finding your way through German archives and to enable you identifying exactly what you need for your research – quick and easy! There are more than 3.600 archives offering their holdings and services in Germany so it can be daunting to know where to start.

The guide comes in three main sections:

  • Get Ready
    You are planning a research trip to Germany? Or you are for the first time ever on your way into an archive? Here you will find everything you need to know to make the most of your trip
  • Discover German Archives
    Which archives should you visit? Here you will find a short introduction on the various types of German archives as well as links to a number of the more important ones.
  • Find it
    Here you are introduced to some different search tools: Regional gateways to search by region and identify smaller archives or meta/search engines such as Kalliope.

The many archives are usefully indexed by broad subject areas as follows:LibGuide - German Archives - Bundesarchiv

  • State Archives
  • Municipal and local archives
  • Church archives
  • Literary archives
  • Economic archives
  • Political Archives
  • Media archives
  • University archives
  • Movement archives

Do you know your Ablieferungsliste from your Zugang?

A glossary will help you understand specialists terms you are likely to encounter and enable you to communicate with German archives more effectively.

Help, I can’t read the script!

The guide also includes links to script tutorials and useful transliteration resources.


I am very grateful to Ms Ulrike Kändler. Without her incredibly hard work, dedication and expertise this guide would not exist. Her short period in Oxford leaves a legacy from which Oxford researchers can benefit from for a long time to come.

New LibGuide: History collections on open-shelves in the Old Bodleian, Radcliffe Camera and Weston Library

Looking for the VCH, HMC Reports or Camden Society publications in the Bodleian?

These “big” series of printed sources are sometimes difficult to find in library catalogues. Use this new guide History collections on open-shelves in the Old Bodleian, Radcliffe Camera and Weston Library to find them on the open-shelves in the Bodleian Library and Weston Library

LibGuide - Open shelf history collections in Bodleian - screenshotAn topic index directs you to the most relevant reading room. Most major named series are listed. Where possible, I have also indicated where there is access to digital version.

LibGuide - Open shelf history collections in Bodleian - VHC screenshotIf you have any feedback on the guide or suggestions for it, then I would be pleased to hear back from you. Email me!

Looking for more guides? There are lots of other LibGuides for Historians.


Using digital photography to capture archival material: some tips and tools

As libraries relax their photography rules of library materials, scholars are increasingly using digital photography to capture printed and archival material. That is great news but does pose a few headaches also, in particular, in my experience the following:

  1. How do you get the best quality images? Bodleian Libraries doesn’t permit the use of flash, for instance.
  2. How do you organise your many images so you can find them again?
  3. How do you add description information about the source, copyright statement, etc.?
  4. How do you make sure you don’t infringe copyright?

Following a useful post on the H-HistBibl mailing list recently, I would like to share some pointers for those struggling with their many images or who want to make best use of them.

Check here what the rules are for Bodleian Libraries, British Library, Cambridge University Library and Bibliothèque nationale de France.

1. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Libraries had written a fairly comprehensive guide on Using Digital Tools for Archival Research.

This guide covers all the basics from the choice of cameras, how to take pictures to organising your photos and use of software and the all important back-up (just do it!!).

Illinois guide on digital tools for archival research

2. Thomas Padilla posted a tutorial on how to extract plain text data from images of print based archival content using optical character recognition (OCR).

Padilla - from image to text

3. Finally, Miriam Posner wrote about turning JPEGs into PDFs and about batch-processing photos.

Posner - batch process photosWhat use of digital cameras and personal scanners do other major research libraries allow?

Bodleian Libraries rules:

  • Library visitors may use personal scanners and digital cameras to make copies from library material, with some exceptions.
  • All equipment with the exception of flat bed scanners may be used.
  • The use of flash photography is forbidden at all times.
  • Some libraries and reading rooms have created specific areas where digital photography and scanning can take place. Please look for signs indicating that you are in the designated area or ask staff.
  • Other libraries have not set up dedicated areas and will allow these processes anywhere in the library.
  • Please consult library staff before using your digital camera or personal scanner.
  • As a general rule, scanning or photography of material is at the discretion of library staff. Please consult library staff to see if an item is eligible to be copied. You will be asked to fill out the relevant application form.
  • Please observe the guidelines above and ensure that you comply with the copyright restrictions.
  • You may make digital copies for the purposes of private study or research for a non-commercial purpose.”

British Library rules:

Compact cameras, tablets and camera phones may be used to photograph some categories of material for personal reference use only. Copies, including photographic copies, must not be used for a commercial purpose. Please also be mindful of privacy and data protection laws.

Self-service photography is intended for personal reference copies, not for copying at scale or commercial copying. The Reading Rooms are not able to support the requirements of professional photography.”

Cambridge University Library rules:

“Cameras can be used to photograph most of the Library’s material as long as a form is completed and copyright regulations are observed. These photographs are for private research and study only and cannot be distributed, placed online or used within publications. Images must be ordered for these purposes.”

Bibliothèque nationale de France rules

“Les lecteurs de la Bibliothèque de recherche peuvent utiliser leur appareil personnel pour photographier gratuitement des documents des collections de la BnF.

Seuls les documents publiés il y a plus de 90 ans peuvent être photographiés. Les photos doivent être réalisées à des fins d’usage privé et sur une place désignée à cet effet.

Une autorisation de prise de vue est à demander au bibliothécaire.

La photographie des écrans d’ordinateurs ou d’appareils de lecture de microformes est interdite.”

Trinity Term training opportunities for 2nd year historians: book your places now!

Do you have right research and information skills for your undergraduate thesis? Let the libraries help you on your way!

Second year undergraduate historians currently working towards their theses are encouraged to attend the following training sessions for Trinity Term. They will provide you with valuable information and support which will stand you in good stead for your research, now and in the future.

The programme on offer aims to help you with locating and utilising a variety of source materials, whilst equipping you with knowledge on some of the key research tools available. Workshops are available run by History Faculty Library staff as well as by our other colleagues in the Bodleian iSkills strand; the schedule includes training on subjects such as:

Aside from highlighting some of the key resources available locally, these sessions will also provide opportunities for refreshing and upgrading information searching skills. There will be chances to explore databases, e-journals and web portals, along with advanced searching in SOLO and the benefits of using reference managing databases such as RefWorks to help you with your citations during dissertation research. Staff will be on hand to provide step-by-step demonstrations as well as hands-on time in most sessions.

Further details and booking information can be found via the HFL website.

HFL Undergraduate Training

Can’t come to a course?

The handouts and slides of sessions will be made available on HFL WebLearn > Guides & presentations.

Need specialist help?

Isabel Holowaty, Bodleian History Librarian is happy to discuss what sources and literature searching tools are best suited to anybody studying British and Western European history. Email her at isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk to arrange a one-to-one session.

If you are studying history outside Britain and Western Europe, you can find your subject specialist here.

Do you have the right language skills for your chosen subject? 

The Language Centre has a lot to offer for historians wishing to upgrade their language skills or simply to start learning a language. More on this.

Introducing Heraldica Nova: a blog on a cultural history of heraldry

[Guest blog post by Marcus Meer, research assistant at Münster University, Germany. ]

Heraldica Nova: new perspectives and sources for a cultural history of heraldry

Coats of arms tend to receive scanty attention from historians. This is partly because heraldry and its sources appear inaccessible due to the complicated terminology of the blazon and the tedious chase of arms in armorials, but also because it seems like heraldic signs have little other to tell the cultural historian than the identity of their armigers.

The blog Heraldica Nova tries to prove the opposite by presenting and discussing cutting-edge research on heraldry from the perspective of cultural history. Since heraldic signs were an ubiquitous phenomenon of medieval and early modern societies, the blog argues, coats of arms can open up new perspectives for historical research taking an interest in historical discourses, symbolic communication and visual culture, focusing on topics such as identity, familial, amicable and political alliances, mentality, the imaginary or gender. These new perspectives are promoted in programmatic posts on the potential of using heraldry in cultural history, and demonstrated in case studies and summaries of on-going research in the field.

Since getting started with heraldry, just like other ancillary sciences of history, can prove quite cumbersome, the blog provides materials to guide your first steps in investigating heraldic signs.  This includes tutorials on identifying unknown arms , overviews of the most important bibliographies and journals of heraldry, databases and tools that will help to analyse heraldic sources, and overviews and reviews of recent publications applying modern approaches to medieval and early modern heraldry.

Additionally, a list of digitised armorials, linking to digital copies of 48 medieval armorials from all over Europe, provides immediate access to one of the major heraldic sources. For the time being, the list contains all the genuinely medieval armorials available in digital format, some of which are also accessible at your fingertips in the Bodleian Library stacks. In the future, later copies of medieval armorials (which are excluded as for now) and a vast number of early modern armorials will be added to the collection.

Heraldica Nova is meant to serve as a platform to present and discuss within a community of historians and heraldists from all over Europe that already attracts more than 4,500 visitors per month. Students and academics alike that would like to share ideas they have, problems they face, or results they found in their research on medieval and early modern heraldry are invited to discuss them within the blog’s community. Case studies, research notes, summaries of talks, papers or presentations, suggestions and reviews of interesting literature as well as calls for papers are all most welcome in English, French and German. Of course, readers are most welcome to comment in these languages, too.

Apart from receiving updates via RSS or newsletter, you can also keep in touch with the blog on Twitter (@HeraldicaNova), Facebook, and Google+.

Do you know where to find past History UG thesis?

Are you preparing to write your UG history thesis? A selection of past Oxford undergraduate history theses are held in the Upper Camera Office where you can request to view them.

Search “Final Honour School of Modern History: undergraduate thesis” in SOLO.

SOLO - searching for UG theses

Related links


Knowing your EBL from your ebrary: guide to ebooks

EBL, Ebrary and EBSCOhost e-books logos

Are you struggling to find our ebooks in SOLO? Do you want to learn how best to use ebooks?

Read here about LibGuide on Ebooks, which ebook collections are available and where you can sign up for eBooks courses.

Bodleian Libraries provide access to thousands of online books across many subjects. We have subscriptions to modern monographs as well as early printed books.

> Overview of ebook collections in Oxford.

To help our readers find the ebooks and make best of them, a new LibGuide on eBooks has now been published at http://ox.libguides.com/e-books.

Use the guide to learn more about:

  • the different ebook providers and how their “loan” policies differ.
  • which devices are compatible with different formats. This is useful if you are thinking of buying an ebook reader.

ebook LibGuide screenshotMultidisciplinary ebook packages

eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) – Currently Oxford Libraries have over 2100 purchased e-books across all subjects (‘Our Collection’) plus more than 3000 free e-books.
Access to each e-book is normally limited to two simultaneous users.

E Book Library (EBL) – a growing collection of e-books from major academic publishers worldwide in humanities, science and medicine and social studies. The collection also provides 5 minutes free browse to over 200,000 “non-owned” books in the collection, with the option to send purchase requests to library staff.

Ebrary Academic Complete – a collection of around 110,000 e-books from over 500 academic publishers. University members may also download books for 14 day loans (loan limit of 10).

University Press Scholarship Online – 16,000+ titles in 28 subject areas, from Oxford and 17 other leading scholarly presses, e.g. British Academy, Chicago UP, Edinburgh UP, Liverpool UP, Stanford UP, Yale UP, University of California UP, etc.


Early printed books

Free online books

Google Books Millions of books digitised by Google.  Many only available in Snippet View. Be careful you know what exactly you are looking at. Describing multivolume works or different editions is not Google’s strength.

Internet Archive  (archive.org) Giant digital library of 1.8 million texts. Excellent also for digitised European books, esp. of the 19th century.

Project Gutenberg “Download over 30,000 free ebooks to read on your PC, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone or other device. Project Gutenberg is the first and largest single collection of free ebooks.”

Need more help? Sign up for the Bodleian iSkills course on ebooks

iSkills: e-Books

Date: 21 Nov (wk 6), 9:15-10:30

An overview of academic e-books looking at what is currently available in e-format, how to find and access e-books and how to make the most of e-book functionality. Who is this session for? All members of Oxford University and other Bodleian Libraries readers. Book now.

Location: IT Services Help Centre, 13 Banbury Road
Presenter: Hilla Wait, Jo Gardner

iSkills: e-Book Readers

Date: 21 Nov (wk 6), 10:45-12:15

How useful are e-book readers in academic work? Can they be used for accessing library materials? What are the features to look out for when considering purchase? These and similar questions will be considered with reference to the i-Pad, the Amazon Kindle and Sony Touch e-readers and smart phones. Who is this session for? All members of Oxford University and other Bodleian Libraries readers. Book now.

Location: IT Services Help Centre, 13 Banbury Road
Presenters: Hilla Wait, Ian Chilvers

Do you produce data as part of your research?

In response to the increased importance of accessible research data, the University of Oxford is currently enhancing its data management and archiving services. The end of this year will see the launch of ORA-Data, an important part of this process which will deal with archiving data from completed projects.

In light of these developments, and in order to ensure that they best suit the needs of the research community, a survey is currently being conducted with the aim of finding out more about the types, varieties and volume of data being created during research. Gathering feedback will help ensure that future researchers have access to the most useful and appropriate tools, and readers are encouraged to take part by visiting the following link before Monday 26th May: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/C7YJZ6R.

For further information on the aims and objectives of the of survey, please see the poster below.

Research Data Management Survey Poster