Entering and exiting the RadCam – video

The Radcliffe Camera is so beautiful and famous that many tourists and members of the public, quite understandably, want to come in and take a look. As it’s a working library, however, access is restricted to registered readers only. This means that our readers will have to swipe themselves into the library – twice!

Here is a little 60 second video explaining how this is done.

Entering & exiting the RadCam - 60sec video - IH

Click to start video. Turn on sound to hear the jaunty tune – but not if you are in a reading room!

Tourists and other visitors are invited to book themselves on a tour if they want to see the inside of the Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera. You can also catch a glimpse inside the historic Radcliffe Camera with this 360-degree panorama:

RadCam 360 degree - snapshot

We also have some more photos on our Flickr pages.

If you yourself are a member of the University and want to take a guest in, then I’m afraid you can only show them then even more beautiful Duke Humfrey’s Library, Old Bodleian. You will need to get a visitor pass of your guest(s) from the Bodleian Admissions Office, Weston Library.

And if anybody wants to join the library as a reader, then you are more than welcome to do so. Please also see the Bodleian Admissions Office website for more information.

Library tours for freshers and new graduates

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACome and meet library staff and take the chance to familiarise yourself with the library at the start of your studies.  We will be organising separate tours for new undergraduates and postgraduates during 0th week and beyond.

Undergraduate Radcliffe Camera and History Faculty Library orientation tour [booking not required, just turn up, 10 max per tour]

Mon 5 Oct, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm
Tues 6 Oct, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm
Weds 7 Oct, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm
Thurs 8 Oct, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm
Fri 9 Oct, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm

Library staff will take new undergraduates around the Radcliffe Camera showing you where things are located and enabling you to use the library with ease.

Treasure Hunts: complete the optional library trail at the end to be entered into our freshers’ prize draw.

Students will need to bring their university card to enter the library.

Location: Meet Reception, Radcliffe Camera.

Postgraduate Bodleian and History Faculty Library orientation tour [booking required]

Mon 5 Oct, 9.15-10.15am
Thurs 8 Oct, 9.15-10.15am
Fri 9 Oct, 9.15-10.15am
Mon 12 Oct, 9.30-10.30am
Tues 13 Oct, 2.30-3.30pm
Wed 14 Oct, 9.30-10.30am
Thurs 15 Oct, 2.30-3.30pm
Fri 16 Oct, 9.30-10.30am

Not sure how to find your way round the Bodleian Library, Gladstone Link and History Faculty Library (HFL) and which facilities are available? Join the History Librarian for a 60min orientation tour of the central Bodleian Library site, including the Radcliffe Camera where the HFL is located, and briefly enter the recently opened Weston Library which is relevant for Special Collections and African & Oriental studies.

Students will need to bring their university card to enter the Library.

Location: Meet Proscholium, Old Bodleian

Book now (via the HFL WebLearn Sign-up at https://weblearn.ox.ac.uk/portal/hierarchy/humdiv/history/lib – SSO required)

Tour leader: Isabel Holowaty

Max nos of students: 10

Newspapers and other online news sources from the 17th-21st centuries – Tuesday 26 May 14.00-15.30

iskills newspapers[re-blogged from Bodleian iSkills blog]

Using newspapers in your research

Newspapers are wonderful resources for both historical and contemporary research not only providing a record of events, politics, the law and international affairs but also rich information about the zeitgeist of the age, social and cultural life, language and much more.

However, newspapers can be tricky to use in research. Tracking down papers can be difficult not least because historical newspapers are spread across a range of digital resources whilst in the modern age the huge scale of the resources available and the plethora of editions can make research tricky.    Mastering the appropriate resources in order to search them effectively and to make the most of the items you find can also be a challenge.

To develop your skills in using newspapers in research, why not come to the Bodleian Libraries’ iSkills session Newspapers and other online news sources from the 17th-21st centuries on Tuesday 26 May 14.00-15.30. During the session we will look at a wide range of resources for both historical and contemporary research and how to make best use of them.  > Find out more about this course and book a place.

Book now: Online resources for historians – 1 May 9:15am

It’s not yet too late for Oxford historians to book themselves on the Bodleian iSkills: Online resources for Historians course, 1 May, 9:15-10:45am.

What does it cover? It’s a general introduction to the vast range of electronic resources which are available for all historical periods for British & Western European history: bibliographical databases, biographical / reference research aids, ebooks & ejournals, web portals, and collections of online primary source materials.

Who is this session for? Students, researchers and anyone interested in this topic

iskills Online resources for historians - screenshotIf you can’t attend, then slides are available from the HFL Presentation webpage.

Related links:

Bodleian iSkills: Sources for US history
Friday 1st May (Week 1) 10.45-12.15
Introduction to key information sources and collections for the study of colonial America and US history. The session will provide an overview of the primary sources available in Oxford and online, as well as guidance on locating material for your research.

Who is this session for: Students, researchers and anyone interested in this topic.
Presenter: Jane Rawson
Venue: IT Services 13 Banbury Road >Book online

Bodleian iSkills:  Information sources for African studies  Friday 15th May  (Week 3)   11.00-12.30
This session will introduce key information sources for African Studies. You will be shown useful finding tools to locate relevant material via SOLO and how to search them, as well as important portals and gateways to libraries and archives of online primary texts. There will be time for a brief hands-on.

Who is this session for? Researchers, academic staff, graduates and anyone interested in the topic.
Presenters: Lucy McCann, Sarah Rhodes
Venue:  IT Services, 13 Banbury Road >Book online

Bodleian iSkills:  Newspapers and other online news sources from the 17th-20th centuries 
Tuesday 26th May  (Week 5)  14.00-15.30

Newspapers are a valuable resource for researching, not only news but also many other aspects of society. In this session we will introduce key historical and contemporary sources of news and how to make best use of them.

Presenters:  Isabel Holowaty,  Angela Carritt
Venue:  IT Services, 13 Banbury Road > Book now

Bodleian iSkills:  UK parliamentary and government materials – an introduction  Thursday 11th June (Week 7) 10:00-12:00 noon
A general overview of the main sources for finding and accessing historical UK parliamentary material, pre 1800 and post 1800 including sources for government publications both in print and in electronic format.

Presenter: Hannah Chandler
Venue: IT Services, 13 Banbury Road > Book a place now

Bodleian iSkills: Sources for Medievalists
Thursday 18 June 14:00-16:00

General overview to a range of e-resources relevant for British and Western European medieval studies: bibliographical databases, biographical/reference tools, web portals and collections of online primary source materials of Anglo-Saxon sources, Greek/Latin texts, chronicles, charters and literary works and manuscript sources.

Who is this session for? Researchers, students, academics, staff e.g. Classicists, Historians, Philosophers, Theologians etc.
Presenters: Isabel Holowaty, Sue Usher, Hilla Wait, Charlotte Goodall, Eva Oledzka
Venue: IT Services, 13 Banbury Road > Book online

Calling students: Travelling Incognito? Help us unmask some anonymous authors of manuscript travel diaries, c. 1790-1830

The Detective by Paurian (Flick)

The Detectuve by Paurian (Flickr) http://bit.ly/1J8I4s3

Oxford History Faculty students are invited to come to the Weston Library on Thursday 11 June to use their detective skills and help us solve some manuscript mysteries.

Over many decades the Bodleian has acquired a very large number of manuscript diaries which together form a vital source particularly for social history. Many of these date from the late-18th to the mid-19th century, and travel diaries are the most represented genre. We have never been able to find the authorship for several of these diaries, and their interest and usefulness for research would increase considerably if we knew who had written them. They were mostly acquired before the Internet began to change the possibilities for research, so now, in the light of the increasing range of information available online, it is time to revisit our anonymous diaries to see if we can unmask the authors.

The inspiration for this idea has come from several successful efforts to establish authorship of recently acquired manuscripts. There is a blog post on the ‘Archives and Manuscripts at the Bodleian’ blog, explaining how the author of one diary was discovered. This will help to give some idea about how the problem can be approached.

So now we need your help! Come and help us to read through as many of the diaries as we can, looking for internal clues as to their authorship – names of friends and family, addresses, marriages, christenings, burials – anything that can be used to bring the vast array of internet resources to bear on the subject.


Thursday 11 June, in two sessions 11.00am to 1.00pm and 2.00-4.00pm. We hope you can attend the whole day, but you are free to go when you like! Places are restricted so book your place here. (SSO required; only open to history students.).


Weston Library, Centre for Digital Scholarship (CDS) – meet in the reader Enquiries area (green sofas) on the 1st Floor.

What we will do on the day

  1. Create small teams of 2 or 3 students and allocate a diary to each teams
  2. Read as much as possible of the diaries, and take notes of interesting names, places, events or other information that might help to identify the author, or at least add value to the description
  3. Use the extraordinary range of digitised books, manuscripts and catalogues, academic and family history material to track down names and see how powerful these tools can be if used carefully.
  4. Invite participants to take digital images of pages from the diaries so that they can continue to work on them if they wish and send us further findings.
  5. Invite participants to contribute to the Bodleian blog to highlight discoveries

What you will gain from the experience?

  • This is a chance to meet staff in Special Collections and to use original manuscript resources.
  • To be part of the discovery process, and contribute to the enhancement of catalogue descriptions
  • Learn techniques for reading tricky handwriting
  • Learn about the array of internet resources helpful for historical research, and how to harness the power of Google.
  • Learn about the catalogues of manuscripts in the Bodleian, and the relationship between items and their descriptions.

What you will need

  • Bring your laptop, tablet, i-pad, digital camera or smartphone. We hope to be able to use the resources of the CDS but it is not fully functioning yet.
  • Pencils (but not pens!)
  • Remember to bring your library card and a £1 coin for the Weston lockers.

Any queries?

Contact: Mike Webb, Curator of Early Modern Archives & Manuscripts, Email: mike.webb@bodleian.ox.ac.uk, Tel.: 01865 (2)77164

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.

2nd year Undergraduate Thesis Fair Thursday THIS WEEK 3-5pm

Growing plant

Are you planning your thesis writing for the long vacation? Don’t know where to begin your research, or what resources are available to you? The History Faculty Library’s annual Thesis Fair can help! Bringing together academics, librarians, archival experts and subject specialists, the Thesis Fair is the ideal opportunity to take stock and make connections before you begin your research.
This year the Thesis Fair will take place on Thursday 5 March 2015 (week 7) from 3pm to 5pm in the North Writing School, Exam Schools.

Due to popular demand, we need to allocate 2nd year students to a timed slot.

3-4pm: Balliol, Brasenose, Christ Church, Corpus Christi, Exeter, Hertford, Jesus, Keble, Lady Margaret Hall, Lincoln, Magdalen, Mansfield, Merton, New College

4-5pm: Oriel, Pembroke,Queen’s, Regent’s Park, Somerville, St Annes, St Benet’s Hall, St Catherine’s, St Edmund Hall, St Hilda’s, St Hugh’s, St John’s, St Peter’s, Trinity, University, Wadham, Worcester

If you cannot make your slot, do come along anyway!

The Fair and follow-up workshops aim to help you locate relevant source materials for your thesis and to show how to make good use of tools and resources available to you.

This year the Thesis Fair stalls include:

  • medieval, early modern and modern sources
  • Visual Resources
  • global history: India, Africa & Commonwealth, US, Latin America, etc.
  • Legal History
  • Bodleian iSkills
  • Marine Lives collaborative research project
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  • Maps for historians
  • History of Science and Medicine
  • collections in the HFL and college libraries & archives, and many more…

We look forward to seeing you at the Thesis Fair – come along and let your ideas grow!

ArcGIS for Historians Training Session Wed 11th Feb

Places are still available on the following training course:

This practical session provides an introduction to the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in historical research and analysis. It will focus on making historical maps of study areas, using symbology (colour coding etc.) to encode historical statistics and other information and extracting geographical data from scans of historic maps. Book a place (SSO required)

ArcMap ScreenshotConvenor: Michael Athanson, Deputy Map Librarian, Bodleian Library
Venue: IT Training Room, Radcliffe Science Library

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


Hilary Term Training and Workshops

Start the New Year with new skills!

The Hilary Term programme of Information Skills courses for this term is now available to view on our website.

The programme includes courses on:

  • RefWorks
  • Research Skills ToolKit
  • ArcGIS
  • Social media for Historians
  • Bodleian iSkills sessions on
    • Reference Management
    • Digital Images
    • Online resources for historians
    • Open Access Oxford
    • Copyright

      All researchers and academics can attend Bodleian iSkills workshops. Further details about upcoming sessions and online booking are available at ox.libguides.com/workshops.

For full details of all the training events talking place this term and to book places please go to http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/history/training/PGtraining