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

Reading rooms in Weston Library open 29 Sept

Today (29 Sept 2014) is an important milestone in the history of the Bodleian Library: The Weston Library (formerly New Bodleian Library) opened its three reading rooms to readers. The temporary Special Collections Reading Room in the RSL and Rhodes House Library have now transferred to the Weston Library.

At the moment the building is initially opening exclusively to readers. Some disruption, due to continuing collection moves and fitting-out of public areas, including exhibition galleries and tearoom, will continue until the official opening in March 2015.

Where is the Weston Library?

The Weston Library is on the site of the former New Bodleian Library, ie the corner of Broad Street and Park Road. The reader entrance is on Park Road.

Weston on map

What are the opening hours?
Mon-Fri 9am – 7pm; Sat 10am – 4pm; Sun closed

Which reading room should I use?

  • RARE BOOKS, ARCHIVES AND WESTERN MANUSCRIPTS is in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room (Level 1)
  • MAPS are in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room (Level 1)
  • MUSIC is in the Mackerras Reading Room (Level 1)
  • ORIENTAL MANUSCRIPTS AND RARE BOOKS are in the David Reading Room (Level 5)
  • COMMONWEALTH AND AFRICAN STUDIES COLLECTIONS are in the David Reading Room (Level 5)

You can order normal stack request items to any of the reading rooms.

Moves of collections into the Weston Library will take place until Summer 2016 as material currently kept at other locations is transferred. During this period items may still be ordered as normal, but will be subject to a 24 hour delivery time. Updates of collection moves.

Duke Humfrey’s Library is now closed until Monday 13 October 2014 when it will re-open as an invigilated reading room supporting higher-level studies in the Humanities. Open-shelf material, esp local history in R.Top and R1-R3, etc. will remain in Duke Humfrey’s. During the closure period, contact library staff if you need any material in R.Top or R1-3.

Related links:

Special Collections Contact details

19000 images from Walters Art Museum added to Wikimedia Commons

19000 art images from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, USA have been added to the Wikimedia Commons website under creative commons licenses.  There are digitial images of paintings, sketches, books and objects.  You can limit your search on Wikimedia to this collection only by searching for by entering “Walters Art Museum” and any other search terms (for instance medicine) in the main Wikimedia search box.

Walters Art Museum images on Wikimedia (click to access)

The Walters Art Museum images can also be searched and browsed in the museums own website.  The images are displayed in a more user friendly layout.  The images can be browsed by category, such as ‘Baroque Europe’ or ’18th and 19th centures’, or by date or creator.  The advanced search tool allows more specific searching.

A more user-friendly result from the Walters Art Museum website (click to access)

Related links: The Walters Art Museum collections on Wikimedia | The Walters Art Museum homepage

Lyell Lectures 2012

Engraving by Droeshout, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

The Lyell readership in bibliography at Oxford University is endowed by a bequest from James Patrick Ronaldson Lyell (1871–1948), a solicitor, book collector and bibliographer. Each year since 1952, a distinguished scholar has been elected to deliver the lectures, usually six in number, on any topic of bibliography, broadly conceived.

Lyell Lectures 2012

Lukas Erne, University of Geneva

“Shakespeare and the Book Trade”

Location: TS Eliot Lecture Theatre at Merton College, all lectures take place at 5pm.

  • Tuesday, 24 April (TODAY), ‘Shakespeare and the Book Trade, 1593-1622: An Introduction’
  • Thursday,26 April, ‘Shakespeare, Publication, and Authorial Misattribution’
  • Tuesday, 1 May, ‘Introducing Shakespeare’s Early Publishers’
  • Thursday, 3 May, ‘Investing in Shakespeare’s Playbooks’
  • Tuesday, 8 May, ‘Investing in Shakespeare’s Poems’

Related links: Lyell Lectures webpage

Book conservation talk today at Christ Church Library using Remmelinus’s anatomical atlas

Location: The Upper Library at Christ Church, at 5.15 pm today (Tuesday 21 February 2012).
Speaker: Victoria Stevens (Oxford Conservation Consortium)
Title: Conservation issues, conservation solutions: illustrated through a description of the treatment of Remmelinus’s “Catoptrum Microcosmicum”

Christ Church Library Talk posterThis is the first anatomical atlas to use dozens of engravings superimposed as a series of opening flaps as method of illustration. It is also the first conservation project undertaken by the Oxford Conservation Consortium following Christ Church joining in October 2010.

The talk accompanies the new exhibition open in the Upper Library entitled ‘Time Management – Conservation of Collections (

OBS Lecture by Brian Cummings 23 Jan 2012

Details of the next Oxford Bibliographical Society lecture

Date: Monday, 23 January 2012

Location: Taylor Institution, Seminar Room 3, at 5.15 p.m.

Lecture: The Book of Common Prayer and the History of the Book – Brian Cummings

Poster for OBS Lecture by Brian Cummings 23 Jan 2012Brian Cummings  is currently Professor of English at the University of Sussex. He specialises in many aspects of early modern English literature, especially More, Wyatt, Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton. He also works on the history of the Reformation, the history of theology and of heresy, the English Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, medieval and Renaissance philosophy, humanism, especially Erasmus, the European Renaissance and the reception of the classics, grammar, logic and rhetoric and on literary theory and the philosophy of language. He has recently published The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 (Oxford University Press, 2011), a unique edition of the Book of Common Prayer that brings together the texts of three different versions – 1549, 1559, and 1662 – to provide a panorama of the history of ritual in England from the Reformation to the twentieth century. He is also the author of The Literary Culture of the Reformation: Grammar and Grace (Oxford University Press, 2002), a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year for 2003. A paperback edition of this book appeared in July 2007. He has also published widely in journals such as English Literary Renaissance and Studies in Church History, and is a contributor to The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature (1999) and The Oxford Companion to the Book (2010). This year Professor Cummings is guest curating an exhibition for the 350th anniversary of the BCP at Lambeth Palace Library which will run  from May to July 2012, entitled Royal Devotion: the Monarchy and the Book of Common Prayer. Later in 2012 he will be giving the Clarendon Lectures in Oxford.

Rare Books in the History Faculty Library

Chürpfalzbaierische militair Etat, an 18th-century manuscript in the collection

This is a guest post from Clare Bristow, the HFL’s Graduate Trainee in 2010-11, on her final day:

Over the past year, I have been working on a project making an inventory of the HFL’s collection of antiquarian books, which are kept in closed stacks.  This involved looking through over 500 volumes and recording their bibliographic details and any features of interest such as provenance or annotations.

The HFL Rare Books blog is the outcome of this project.  It contains details of all the books, most of which are not on SOLO.  Here, you can browse the collection by author, date, publisher and place of publication, or use the tags to find books of a particular provenance.

The books are available for use by registered library readers – just ask a member of staff in the library, or contact us.

I hope the Rare Books blog will help to make readers aware of some of the uncatalogued gems in the HFL, and the varied backgrounds of the library’s collections.  This collection is particularly strong in British history, including long runs of parliamentary source material such as Journals of the House of Commons and Public General Statutes.

On a personal note, I would like to thank all the staff and readers who have made my year in the HFL so enjoyable and worthwhile, and wish all the best to next year’s Graduate Trainee.