New: Arcadian Library Online: History of Science and Medicine collection

I am delighted to announce that thanks to a generous donation, the Bodleian Libraries has been able to purchase Arcadian Library Online: History of Science and Medicine collection.

This online resource enables easy exploration of the rich holdings of the Arcadian Library. A privately-owned collection of rare ancient manuscripts, early printed books, and documents from the 10th to 20th centuries, the Arcadian Library collects the shared cultural heritage of Europe and the Middle East.

The first module of this online resource, the History of Science and Medicine collection, contains the contributions of early Arab and Persian scientists, doctors and thinkers; their translation, reception and influence in Europe and their lasting influence on the development of Western scientific and medical knowledge. It also brings together 19th and 20th century records of science, medicine and natural history from across the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions.

There are texts on

Content highlights include:

  • Ibn Baklarish’s Kitab al-Musta’ini – Book of simple medicines
  • Haly Abbas’s (Al Majūsī) seminal tenth century medical text Liber Totius Medicine Necessaria Continens
  • Liber de cirurgia by Albucasis (Al-Zahrawi) – a pivotal fifteenth century medical treatise detailing early Arab surgical practices and instruments
  • An early edition of Serapion the Younger’s book of medical botany, Liber aggregatus in medicinis simplicibus
  • Reports of European scientific explorations documenting the animals, plants and geology of countries including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria

I recommend browsing by period, place, people, topic, language and content type to get a sense of the scope of this curated collection.

The vast majority of the content comes from printed works and are in Latin. Texts are also in Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Persian and Spanish. The medieval and early modern periods are particularly strong.

In due course the bibliographical details of each item in this collection will also be discoverable in SOLO.

Features include:

  • High-resolution, full-colour images (400ppi)
  • Searchable in either English or Arabic
  • Dedicated taxonomy enables filtered search by topic, place, period, people, language or content type
  • Commentary articles linked to primary texts
  • Full catalogue records include available provenance and condition notes
  • Integrated Arabic keyboard

Now online: Ambix: the Journal of the Society for the Study of Alchemy and Early Chemistry

Oxford researchers will be pleased to know that Ambix: the Journal of the Society for the Study of Alchemy and Early Chemistry is now available online, starting with volume 44 (1997). For issues before that date, you will need to consult the printed copy.

Ambix is an internationally-recognised, peer-reviewed journal and the leading specialist publication in its field, which is viewed as a major outlet for current research. Published four times a year, in February, May, August and November, its remit is to facilitate the publication of high-quality research and discussion in all areas relevant to the history of alchemy and chemistry, including:

  • ancient, medieval and early modern alchemy
  • the Chemical Revolution
  • the impact of atomism
  • the rise of organic chemistry
  • the chemical industry
  • quantum chemistry
  • interactions between the chemical sciences and other disciplines

The Journal’s scope extends to the history of pharmacy and chemical medicine, environmental studies of the chemical industry, and the material and visual culture of chemistry. ” (, accessed 15 May 2018)

Ambix also publishes reviews in English of books dealing with any aspect of the history of alchemy and chemistry.

Women in science in the archives: seminar 8 Sept 2016

8 September 2016, 9am-1pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre, Weston Library (Map)
Contact:, 01865 283842

This half-day seminar will look at women’s engagement with science in the past through the Bodleian’s historical archives, trace the changing nature of their role, discuss the experiences of female scientists in the 21st century, and explore the challenges of preserving their archives in the future.

Women In Science in the Archives 8 Sept 2016The first part of the seminar will be dedicated to three prominent female scientists, represented in the Bodleian’s archives. Archivists, historians and biographers will give their perspectives on the life and work of:

  • astronomer and mathematician Mary Somerville (1780-1872)
  • physiologist and pathologist Mabel Purefoy FitzGerald (1872-1973)
  • biochemist and crystallographer Dorothy Hodgkin (1910-1994)

The second part of the seminar will bring 21st century women in science into the archives. Professor Frances Ashcroft will talk about her career as a physiologist, and the challenges and opportunities she has seen for women in science since the 1970s.

A panel of early career scientists from the University of Oxford will share their experiences as women in science today, and discuss with archivists and curators how their work can become part of the archives of the future.

View the seminar programme (pdf), including list of speakers.

After the seminar, there will be an opportunity to see selected items from the Bodleian’s Special Collections, and meet the archivists working on them. Please note that this curator-led display has a limited capacity, and places need to be booked separately.


The seminar is free but places are limited so please complete our booking form to reserve tickets in advance.

New: e-access to Nursing History Review, 1, 1993-

[re-blogged from the Wellcome Unit Library Blog]

We are pleased to announce that electronic access is now available for the Nursing History Review, the Official Publication of the American Association for the History of Nursing.

Nursing History Review, an annual peer-reviewed publication, is a showcase for the most significant current research on nursing and health care history. Contributors include national and international scholars representing many different disciplinary backgrounds. Regular sections include scholarly articles, reviews of the best books on nursing and health care history, invited commentaries, and abstracts of new doctoral dissertations on nursing and health care history. Historians, researchers, and individuals fascinated with the rich field of nursing will find this an important resource.

Much content will also be of interest to those researching women’s history.

Access is via SOLO and OU eJournals, and is available from Vol. 1 (1993) to the present day.

New: e-access to Journal of Medical Biography, 1993 (v.1) onwards

Journal of medical biography - coverI am pleased to report that Oxford users now have e-access to the Journal of Medical Biography [ISSN 0967-7720] from vol. 1, 1993 onwards.

Access is via SOLO or OU eJournals. For remote access, Oxford users should use their SSO login.

A peer-reviewed international journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, it covers the lives of people in or associated with medicine.

“… The Journal of Medical Biography covers medical personalities and many others in the field of health care, hospitals, instruments, techniques and so on. It features original research on persons and places, legendary and less well known, and provides a fresh new perspective on life and lives.” Sage Journals,

You can register for email alerts and set up an RSS feed. For more on current awareness tools, see handouts from Bodleian iSkills courses on Getting Information Come To You.

New: Loeb Classical Library online

Loeb - Confessions - coverI am pleased to report that thanks to the Classics Librarian Oxford readers now have access to the Loeb Classical Library online via OxLIP+ and soon via SOLO. Over 520 volumes of useful sources materials for historians are now available in both Latin and Greek with parallel English translations.

The Digital Loeb Library is an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing, virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature. Epic and lyric poetry; tragedy and comedy; history, travel, philosophy, and oratory; the great medical writers and mathematicians; those Church Fathers who made particular use of pagan culture—in short, our entire Greek and Latin Classical heritage is represented here with up-to-date texts and accurate English translations.

Catalogue records for the individual volumes will also soon be added to SOLO.

Related resources

Research workshop: Printing mathematics in the early modern world – 16 and 17 Dec 2013, All Souls College

Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 December 2013: 10am–5pm All Souls College, Oxford

The early modern period saw the printing, in large numbers, of mathematical tables, primers, textbooks and practical manuals, as well as the incorporation of mathematical notation into a wide range of works on other subjects. Algebraic notation, diagrams and even printed mathematical instruments all raised unusual problems for print. The development of appropriate layouts and conventions, the establishment of workable print-shop procedures, and the detection and management of error all required distinctive solutions where the printing of mathematics was concerned.

Those problems and their solutions are the subject of this two-day workshop, to be held in All Souls College, Oxford.

A limited number of places are available for observers. The cost will be £20, and will cover attendance at the conference sessions, with tea and coffee. Unfortunately accommodation cannot be provided for observers.

Further information, including a draft programme, is available.

To reserve a place, or for any enquiries, please contact

New: Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography

I am pleased to report that Oxford users now have access to the online Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography.

Dictionary of Scientific BiographyContaining thousands of biographies of mathematicians and natural scientists from all regions and historical periods, this resource is one of the most trusted science biography reference works.

The Dictionary of Scientific Biography is supplemented by the New Dictionary of Scientific Biography with an additional 775 completely new entries which include scientists deceased since 1980, figures omitted from the original and “postscript” commentaries that detail new research on great scientists of the past.

Today’s Biography of Day …

…is Johannes Kepler, the German astronomer and mathematician (b. 1571, d 1630)

Dictionary of Scientific Biography - Kepler

15 November is the 383rd anniversary of his death. Kepler’s work on the laws of motion were hugely influential on Robert Hooke and Isaac Newton. Check out his biography now!

Othe biographical resources available in Oxford

New: Dissertations Read to the Royal Medical Society, Edinburgh

I am delighted to offer Oxford users online access to the Dissertations Read to the Royal Medical Society, Edinburgh (British Online Archives). Access is via SOLO (shortly) or OxLIP+.

On epilepsy / by William Adair. in DISSERTATIONS, ETC., 1751-1799, v1

On epilepsy / by William Adair. in DISSERTATIONS, ETC., 1751-1799, v1

Founded in 1737, the Royal Medical Society is the oldest student society of its kind in the United Kingdom, whose members were duty-bound to deliver a dissertation for examination by their peers.

This collection comprises over 200 volumes of hand-written dissertations, providing a unique insight into the development in medical teaching and thought during the last 250 years.

In subject, the dissertations range from framboesia to fear, from meningitis to mongolism and many represent the earliest original work of famous men of medicine.

The linked author index is in two parts: vols. 1-95 (1751-1833), and vols. 96-215 (1834-1968). Scanned from the microfilm of the Royal Medical Society collections in the Edinburgh University Library.

Some texts are difficult to read and images are faint. Use the zoom function to enlarge the text.

Images can be saved or printed individually as PDFs.

New: Technology and Culture – now full electronic access

Oxford users now have full electronic access to Technology and Culture, an important journal for the history of technology.

Technology and Culture ejournal tpPublished by Johns Hopkins University Press “Technology and Culture publishes insightful pieces intended for general readers as well as specialists.

Readers include engineers, anthropologists, sociologists, museum curators, archivists, historians, and others.

In addition to scholarly essays, each issue features 30- 40 book reviews and reviews of new museum exhibitions. To illuminate important debates and draw attention to specific topics, the journal occasionally publishes thematic issues.

Recent special issues have focused on biomedical technology, patents and inventions, ecology, engineering in the twentieth century, and gender and technology.”  (from Project Muse website:

Full-text access is as follows:

JSTOR Arts and Sciences 7: From 1959 volume: 1 issue:1 until 2007 volume: 48 issue:4

Project MUSE Miscellaneous: From 1998 volume: 39 issue:3 to current

Table of content of the latest issue (Volume 54, Number 2, April 2013)

How New Technologies Spread: Lessons from Computing Technologies / James W. Cortada

Taming the Microworld: DuPont and the Interwar Rise of Fundamental Industrial Research / Augustin Cerveaux

Food for Soil, Food for People: Research on Food Crops, Fertilizers, and the Making of “Modern” Indian Agriculture / Madhumita Saha

Mr. Taconite: Edward W. Davis and the Promotion of Low-Grade Iron Ore, 1913-1955 / Jeffrey T. Manuel

Inside the Black Box

The Atlas and the Air Force: Reassessing the Beginnings of America’s First Intercontinental Ballistic Missile /  Christopher Gainor

Film Review
Nuclear Waste and Historical Time / Maja Fjaestad

Essay Reviews
All the Tools Fit to Print / Karen Reeds

Science and Technology beyond the Barricades / Theresa Levitt

At Work in the Fields of Their Lords / Veront M. Satchell

Rethinking the Economic History of Early Modern India / Peter A. Coclanis

Book Reviews

The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies ed. by Trevor Pinch and Karin Bijsterveld (review by Andre Millard)

War Games: A History of War on Paper by Philipp von Hilgers (review by Daniel Bessner)

Artisans of the Body in Early Modern Italy: Identities, Families and Masculinities by Sandra Cavallo (review by Anita Guerrini)

Stays and Body Image in London: The Staymaking Trade, 1680-1810 by Lynn Sorge-English (review by Christelle Rabier)

The Colonial Machine: French Science and Overseas Expansion in the Old Regime by James E. McClellan III and François Regourd (review Henry Heller)

Making Tobacco Bright: Creating an American Commodity, 1617-1937 by Barbara Hahn (review by Drew A. Swanson)

Die moderne Strasse Planung, Bau und Verkehr vom 18. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert ed. by Hans-Liudger Dienel and Hans-Ulrich Schiedt (review by Marcus Popplow)

Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State by Jo Guldi (review by Patrick Carroll)

Railway by George Revill (review by Frederick Gamst)

Mountains on the Market: Industry, the Environment, and the South by Randal L. Hall (review by Robert Gudmestad)

Santa Rita del Cobre: A Copper Mining Community in New Mexico by Christopher J. Huggard and Terrence M. Humble (review by Robert L. Spude)

The Quest for Technical Knowledge: Bengal in the Nineteenth Century by Suvobrata Sarkar (review by Daniel R. Headrick)

Locomotive to Aeromotive: Octave Chanute and the Transportation Revolution by Simine Short (review by Glenn Bugos)

Reproduction by Design: Sex, Robots, Trees, and Test-Tube Babies in Interwar Britain by Angus McLaren (review by Maria Björkman)

Astounding Wonder: Imagining Science and Science Fiction in Interwar America by John Cheng (review by J. P. Telotte)

Into the Cosmos: Space Exploration and Soviet Culture ed. by James T. Andrews and Asif A. Siddiqi (review by Jenny Leigh Smith)

California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way ed. by Wendy Kaplan (review by Sarah Lowengard)

Good Guys, Wiseguys, and Putting Up Buildings: A Life in Construction by Samuel C. Florman (review by Henry Petroski)

The Cinematic Footprint: Lights, Camera, Natural Resources by Nadia Bozak (review by Brian R. Jacobson)

Crabgrass Crucible: Suburban Nature and the Rise of Environmentalism in Twentieth-Century America by Christopher C. Sellers (review by Kristoffer Whitney)

Hormones for Life: Endocrinology, the Pharmaceutical Industry, and the Dream of a Remedy for Sterility, 1930-1970 by Christer Nordlund (review by Dominique A. Tobbello)

Embryo Politics: Ethics and Policy in Atlantic Democracies by Thomas Banchoff (review by Simon A. Cole)

The Digital Flood: The Diffusion of Information Technology across the U.S., Europe, and Asia by James W. Cortada (review by W. Patrick McCray)

User Unfriendly: Consumer Struggles with Personal Technologies, from Clocks and Sewing Machines to Cars and Computers by Joseph J. Corn (review by Kathleen Franz)