Trial until 30 Nov: China and the Modern World: Records of the Maritime Customs Service of China, 1854–1949

[reblogged from University of Oxford e-Resources blog 19 Oct, 2021]

screenshot of landing page of China and the Modern World

We have trial access to China and the Modern World: Records of the Maritime Customs Service of China, 1854–1949 via Gale until 30 November 2021.

China and the Modern World: Records of the Maritime Customs Service of China, 1854–1949 provides an excellent primary source collection, mainly in English, for the study of China and its relations with the Imperial West in the late Qing and Republican periods. The records included in this collection– official correspondence, despatches, reports, memoranda, and private and confidential letters– constitute invaluable and often unique evidence of Chinese life, the economy and politics through the Taiping Rebellion, the Boxer Rebellion, the Revolution of 1911, the May 30 Movement, the two Sino-Japanese Wars, and the Chinese Civil War.

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Trial – The Middle East Online: Iraq, 1914-1974 (GALE Archives Unbound) until 30 April 2021

The Middle East Online: Iraq, 1914-1974 (GALE Archives Unbound)

Trial until 30 April 2021 – accessible via Databases A-Z  Please send feedback to and

Map showing the distribution of Kurds in the Middle East, 1963, The National Archives

Iraq 1914-1974 offers the widest range of original source material from the Foreign Office, Colonial Office, War Office and Cabinet Papers from the Anglo-Indian landing in Basra in 1914 through the British Mandate in Iraq of 1920-32 to the rise of Saddam Hussein in 1974. Here major policy statements are set out in their fullest context, the minor documents and marginalia revealing the workings of the mandate administration, diplomacy, treaties, oil and arms dealing. Topics covered include: The Siege of Kut-al-Amara, The War in Mesapotamia and the capture of Baghdad in 1917, Introduction of the British Mandate, and the installation of King Faisal in 1921, The British administration in Baghdad, Gertrude Bell, advisor to the British administration, in both reports and memos, The Arab Uprising of 1920, Independence, and Iraq’s membership of the League of Nations in 1932, Coups d’etat in the 1930s and 1940s, The Baghdad Pact of 1955 and the military coup of 1958 leading to the establishment of a republic, The Cold War and Soviet intervention in Iraq, Kurdish unrest and the war in Kurdistan, Oil concessions and oil exploration, The Rise of Ba’athism and Saddam Hussein, The USSR-Iraq Treaty of Friendship in 1972, Iran-Iraq relations.

Great Britain’s intimate involvement with the foundation of the state of Iraq and with the early direction of its government makes the National Archives at Kew the single major source for understanding the processes which formed the modern state and its politics. It is through the documents filed here that the reader can form an accurate impression of the British administrators, their concerns, their views of Iraq and the Iraqis and their reasons for devising policies that were to have a marked effect on the course of Iraqi political history long after British influence had come to an end.

The files reproduced in this collection have been selected on the basis of the light they can throw on routine policy-making, as well as on key episodes and developments in the political history of Iraq and its relationship with Great Britain. The editorial role has been confined to the selection of subject files which together form a comprehensive and multi-faceted picture of Iraq’s political history. The files themselves are reproduced in their entirety, including all the comments, annotations and revisions made by the officials through whose hands they passed, giving the reader the opportunity to assess how British policy was made and often revised to deal with changing circumstances.

From the National Archives at Kew, UK. Selected by Dr. Charles Tripp, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, these documents cover the political and administrative history of the modern state which has emerged from the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia. This database offers conference reports, ministerial memos and diplomatic dispatches, as well as official letters of correspondence from regional leaders, press releases and arms deal reports. This collection will also appeal to those with an interest in economics, politics and peace studies.

[taken from the introduction by Professor Charles Tripp, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

New LibGuide: World War One Primary Resources

Readers are alerted to a newly created LibGuide, which seeks to highlight a range of primary resources pertinent to the British experience of WWI, pointing users towards key libraries, archives and databases. The resources featured, both printed and electronic, are organised thematically, with a variety of topics covered and a series of illustrative examples provided. Multiple source types are explored, including: maps, official papers, newspapers, diaries and journals, literature, music, posters, cartoons and government reports, many of which have been digitised. Attention has also been drawn to resources available locally, including several which are held within the Bodleian collections.


WISER: courses for Historians, US Historians and Medievalists, Week 3

During Week 3 Bodleian Libraries will be a hosting a series of WISER events designed to help Oxford historians get the most out of the resources available to them. Sessions will provide useful tips and demonstrations, offering students and researchers opportunities to explore sources including ebooks, bibliographical databases, key online collections and web portals.

On Monday 12th May, ‘Online Resources for Historians‘ will offer a general introduction to the vast range of electronic resources available for all periods of British and Western European history. Aside from an exploration of bibliographical/reference research aids and databases, presenters will provide an insight to ebooks, ejournals, web portals and collections of online primary source materials. Students, researchers and anyone interested in the growing availability of online resources will benefit from this session. Book your place.

Also on Monday 12th May, ‘Sources for US History‘ will deliver an introduction to key information sources and finding tools for the study of colonial America and US History until 1990. For further details on this session, please see earlier blog post, or book your place.

On Friday 16th May, ‘Sources for Medievalists‘ will provide an overview of a range of e-resources relevant to British and Western European medieval studies. The session will include information on bibliographical databases, web portals and collections of online primary source materials including Greek/Latin texts, Anglo-Saxon sources, chronicles, charters and literary works. The material presented will be of use not only to students, but also researchers and academics with an interest in this area. Book your place.

If you would like to attend any of these WISER sessions, please book your place using the links provided. For further details, see the posters below.

WISER Online Resources poster

WISER US history posterWISER Medievalist Poster



Trial until 4 Dec: English Historical Documents Online

Oxford users are now invited to trial English Historical Documents Online (EHDO).

English Historical Documents Online homepageEHDO provides online access to the very well-known English Historical Documents series, essential to historians engaged in the study of British history from the early medieval ages to the 20th century and US history from 1776.

The selection of documents includes a wide range of sources, such as government and cabinet proceedings, military dispatches, newspaper articles, pamphlets, personal and official letters and diaries, covering political and constitutional history, religious, cultural and economic history.

As well as searching by keyword in the full-text, you can browse by volume (ie by period), but you can also find documents by themes, such as economic history, military history, social history, etc.

There is a handy list of abbreviations of sources selected and the editors’ prefaces.

English Historical Documents

The trial ends 4 December.  Please send feedback to  or leave comments on the History databases desiderata & trials site.

Did you know that…

… we already have bought e-access to many of the EHD volumes. Search SOLO or follow the links:

Sessions on digital images and open access plus Thesis Fair this week


There are two WISER sessions coming up in weeks 3 and 4 this term:
Digital images: ARTstor, Bridgeman Education and VADS for teaching and learning  (Tue 07 May 14:00-16:00) (wk 3)
The course examines two major digital image collections subscribed to by the University – ARTstor and Bridgeman Education – and a third resource, free for educational use, VADS. All of these are geared to research and teaching in the humanities, history of science and medicine, and social sciences. Viewing, presenting and managing images are also covered.
Presenters: Clare Hills Nova and Vicky Brown > Book Now
WISER: Open Access Oxford – what’s happening? (Thu 16 May 11.00-12.00) (wk 4)

A briefing on open access for research publications and Oxford’s position: Green vs. Gold; funder mandates and publisher policies; Oxford Research Archive (ORA) and Symplectic; new OA website/ helpline.
Presenters: Craig Finlay and Andy Kernot > Book Now

Keeping up with Bodleian Libraries training opportunities
Why not follow join our mailing list by sending an empty email to, follow us on Twitter at or visit the BodWiser blog at

Not a member of Oxford University?
If you are not a current member of Oxford University but would like to attend a workshop please contact Please quote your Bodleian readers card barcode number.

Please contact

plant 474 x 267 morguefile ANThesis Fair for 2nd year historians

Thursday 9 May 2.30-4.30pm
North Writing Schools, Exam Schools, High Street, Oxford

The Thesis Fair is running on Thursday afternoon and is an opportunity to talk to expert librarians, archivists and other subject specialists about how to find resources for your subject.  Whether you’re still picking your topic or have already started researching, advice is available on resources, skills training, reference management and tips on how to manage your thesis from a fellow student. This is a drop in session throughout the afternoon, 2.30-4.30pm and no booking is necessary.

Related Links WISER Workshops LibGuide | Bodleian History Faculty Library Training webpage | Thesis Fair Webpage | Reference Management LibGuide | Contact Us

History Database of the Month: Rock and Roll

Our database of the month for March is Popular culture in Britain and America 1950-1975: Rock and Roll, Counterculture, Peace and Protest.

Homepage of the database

Homepage of the database

What is this database?

An example image from the database - Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament © The People's History Museum

An example image from the database – Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament © The People’s History Museum

The database includes a variety of primary sources, including video, images and printed material covering the period 1950 to 1075 in the UK and US.  It also has some material on other parts of Europe (for instance Mai ’68 student protests in France).  The collection can be browsed by type of material, topic and date and also searched for key words.  The main themes covered by the material are:

  • Changing Lifestyles, 1950-1975
  • Youth Culture
  • Student Protests across Europe and the US
  • Mai ‘68
  • Popular Culture; TV; Music; Movies
  • Book, Magazine and Film Censorship
  • Civil Rights; Women’s Liberation; Minority Groups
  • The Space Race
  • Consumerism; Credit Cards; Computers
  • The Vietnam conflict
  • Nuclear Disarmament

In addition to the primary sources, chronologies, essays by specialists such as Robert Opie, a dictionary of key terms and links to other online resources are included in the database.

oxlip +How can I access it?
University of Oxford members can access this subscription resource on and off campus via OxLIP+. Remember to sign on to OxLIP+ with your single sign on when accessing the database off-campus.

Other useful databases on 20th century popular culture

Related Links OxLIP+ | Primary Sources Online Guide for Historians (PDF)  | Modern History Sources Guide (PDF) | Guide to using OxLIP+Contact the History Librarian

History Database of the Month: State Papers Online

Each month we will be highlighting an online database available to Oxford University historians here on our blog and on the noticeboard in the Upper Radcliffe Camera.

February’s database is State Papers Online I – IV: The Tudors, Stuarts & Commonwealth 1509-1714 (Foreign & Domestic).(c) Gale Cengage

What is State Papers Online?

State Papers Online (SPO) contains the Tudor and Stuart government ‘domestic’ and ‘foreign’ papers – the equivalent of today’s documents from the Home and Foreign Offices and the Royal Archives.

Research Tools area on SPO

Research Tools area on SPO

These everyday working papers of the British royal government reveal 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. This major resource re-unites the Domestic, Foreign, Borders, Scotland, and Ireland State Papers of Britain with the Registers of the Privy Council and other State Papers now housed in the British Library.

The papers are accompanied by fully searchable calendars, and each calendar entry has been linked directly to its related state paper.  As well as being able to search and browse through papers and calendars, there are additional research tools, including information about dates, money and maps, image galleries and essays by historians.

More information about the resources is available in the SPO online guided tour.

SPO via OXLIPHow can I access State Papers Online?

SPO can be accessed via OxLIP+ or SOLO by searching ‘State Papers Online’.  Current student and staff members of Oxford University can access SPO off campus by signing into SOLO or OxLIP+ using their Single Sign-On (SSO).

Other useful databases covering the 17th century

These databases are all available via OxLIP+

Related Links Primary Sources Online Guide for Historians (PDF)  | Early Modern History Sources Guide | Contact the History LibrarianGuide to using OxLIP+ |

Database of the month in the Upper Camera

Database of the month in the Upper Camera

Save Oxford Medicine Project catalogues papers from the Rhodes House Library

screenshot of blog

Newly catalogued papers from the Rhodes House Library

Three collections of personal papers from the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies have recently been catalogued byt the Save Oxford Medicine Project and made available to researchers. The letters, written by British doctors and nurses working in various parts of Africa in the second half of the 20th century, were sent home to family and friends and contain striking first-hand accounts of their lives.
  1. Letters of Barbara Akinyemi who worked as a nurse in the UK during World War II and Nigeria in the 1940s and 1950s.
  2. Letters of Peter Bewes describing his work as a surgeon and lecturer in Uganda and Tanzania in the 1960s and 1970s.
  3. Letters and papers of Cyril Sims Davies, a doctor, describing life in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Related links: