SOLO improvements: Journal Search and shortcuts to purchase and Interlibrary requests

We continue to improve SOLO for our users. Here is the latest round of changes and tips.

⇒ We have added shortcuts to the top of SOLO and it’s now easier to recommend a purchase or request an item from a library outside Oxford (InterLibrary Request).

⇒ We have added Journal Search to only search or browse for print or electronic journals.This replaces Journals A-Z.

Top tip: switch from Search Everything to Oxford Collections to only find books, theses, databases, journals (but not 100m+ journal articles, book reviews, etc.)

See our SOLO LibGuide for full details and see below for quick links to useful searches and tools. Once you master SOLO, you will be able to make even more the most of our very rich and extensive collections.

Frontpage of SOLO with pointers highllghting Help to the SOLO LibGuide, Purchase Request to recommend a purchase, Need More? for InterLibrary Requests and '...' (three dots) to see more search options. Further pointers highlight the tip to change the default Search Everything to Oxford Collections and to click on Live Chat on the right to get help during working hours.

More searching options are in the extended section. That is especially useful for browsing for books by subject where you don’t have any author or title.

The Journal Search is also available from here (as well as from the SOLO front page > Useful Links).

A screenshot from SOLO's full list of search options, including browsing by subjects and doing a Journal Search

In Journal Search, you can browse by subject (may not be the best search for a very large subject like History but it could be useful)…

Screenshot from Journal Search, showing how to browse for journals by subject.

… or you can search by journal title (not article title!). This is useful if your journal uses very common words – such as History!

A screenshot from SOLO Journal Search with an example of searching for journals called 'History'.

Getting help

  • During working hours, the quickest to get help is to ask our Live Chat (from front page of SOLO).
  • Check out the SOLO LibGuide.
  • Ask any of our friendly library staff in our libraries.

Say hello to an improved SOLO (August 2023)

Frontpage of SOLO showing the search box and at the top options to Browse, get help, do a new search.Today (24 August 2023) we upgraded to a new library system. Most of the changes are ‘behind the scenes’ but we have also taken the opportunity to make some changes to some aspects of SOLO. For instance, we have made it easier for you to discover and locate physical copies of books and be able to tell whether you can borrow or consult a copy within a specific library.

Below are some key changes which are of interest to historians. See also the full list of changes and guidance on using SOLO (LibGuide).

[TIP = Please clear the cache in any web browsers you have previously used to access SOLO to ensure you are viewing the latest version.]

Standardised and clearer location labels

We have changed some location labels, which will make it easier to understand which library (or location) a book is available at as follows:

  • Bodleian Old Library
  • Radcliffe Camera (incl. History Faculty Library). Note: this includes both levels in the Gladstone Link
  • Weston Library
  • Bodleian Offsite Storage

The History Faculty Library will no longer be listed as a separate library in SOLO. If you want to filter your searches to its collections, use Radcliffe Camera (incl. History Faculty Library).

Snippet from SOLO showing the new location labels for an item which is held in both the Bodleian Old Library and the Radcliffe Camera (incl. History Faculty Library).

Facsimiles of English Episcopal Acta, 1085-1305 / [edited by] Martin M. Brett ; with Philippa Hoskin, David Smith. (Oxford, 2012)

Easier to see all copies of a book held in RadCam and Gladstone Link

You will now see all copies listed under Radcliffe Camera (incl. History Faculty Library) where there are multiple copies of an item on the site.

SOLO is showing 2 copies of a book which are in the Radcliffe Camera: a borrowable copy in the Gladstone Link & a Library Use Only copy in the Upper Camera Gallery.

Party, state and society : electoral behaviour in Britain since 1820 / edited by Jon Lawrence and Miles Taylor. Aldershot : Scolar Press, 1997.

Items in the Upper Reading Room or Duke Humfrey’s Library will be listed under Bodleian Old Library.

You will now need to sign into SOLO to see borrowing options 

If you are not signed into SOLO you will only see whether an item is available or not, rather than whether an item can be borrowed or for how long. It is always best to sign first as you get a better service from SOLO. 

Once signed in you will now see loan periods personalised to you 

The terminology for loan policies has also been improved to make it clearer how long you can borrow the book for. (e.g. 7 days; 28 days etc). Please note that you can only borrow from libraries where you are a member, for example, the Bodleian Libraries and your college library. 

Snippet showing an example where one copy is borrable and one which can only be used in the library.

Check for available copies before requesting from offsite 

To try to help you avoid reserving and waiting for a book out on loan when there are copies already available on library shelves for you to fetch immediately, we have added this additional message to SOLO: 

 Before requesting, check for 'item in place' copies - it will be quicker for you to fetch it from the shelf than to wait for a request


Bodleian Libraries lending copies will auto renew for up to 112 days – unless somebody else places a hold. Find out more about the Bodleian Libraries’ borrowing policy.

Book already on loan? Place a hold request!

If you want to borrow a loanable Bodleian Libraries book (which another reader already has on loan) we recommend you place a hold request via SOLO If you don’t place a request, the book will continue to renew automatically for the original reader.  

If you have a book on loan, you will be notified via email if it has been requested.

Alternatively, look for another copy, including one which can be used in the library (Use in Library Only).

Snippet showing the HFL copy on loan, gives the return date and gives options for a hold request or a Scan & Deliver request to be placed.

The politics of design in French colonial urbanism / Wright, Gwendolyn. (Chicago, 1991)

More information how to use SOLO is at SOLO LibGuide.

LibraryScan streamlined with Scan & Deliver service 

The LibraryScan service has now been streamlined with the existing Scan & Deliver service (for items in offsite storage) into a new integrated service. If scanning is an option for any type of item you will now just see the ‘Scan & Deliver’ button. 

The Scan & Deliver request form has been improved, particularly the wording on how much you can have scanned (not the whole book!) including advice that you can ask for the index or table of contents in addition to your final choice of chapter. 

Requesting items from other libraries, beyond Oxford 

If we do not hold an item in Oxford it is now really easy to request an item from other libraries, beyond Oxford. Simply click on ‘Need more?’ from the menu at the top of the page and fill in the form. 

Help & support

If you need any help, please do get in touch with library staff who will be more than happy to help you. Here is how you can contact us:

Your feedback matters

We have undertaken extensive testing of the new version of SOLO, gathering feedback from 80 students using the system in real-world situations, and consulting widely on the borrowing changes (see link above). However, we recognise that not everything will be perfect from the start, and development will continue. We are using this feedback form to gather feedback on the changes to SOLO, which will help us make further improvements.

SOLO maintenance: 12-15 August 2016

SOLO will be undergoing essential maintenance from 5pm Friday 12th August to 9am Monday 15th August 2016. SOLO will still be available but will have limited functionality:

  • SOLO-logoFind & Request tab (location information) will not display.
  • Viewing and renewing loans will not be possible.
  • Placing requests will not be possible.
  • Self-issue machine will not work.

Access to e-resources will be unaffected; readers will still be able to view ebooks and online journal articles.

To search for books and journals held in Oxford, use COPAC – though bear in mind that it will not display the up-to-date status of a book, e.g. when it is due back from loan.

Apologies in advance for the inconvenience caused. Do contact library staff if you need any help.

SOLO maintenance: 8-11 April

SOLO will be undergoing essential maintenance from 5pm Friday 8th April to 9am Monday 11th April. SOLO will still be available but will have limited functionality:

  • SOLO-logoFind & Request tab (location information) will not display.
  • Viewing and renewing loans will not be possible.
  • Placing requests will not be possible.
  • Self-issue machine will not work.

Access to e-resources will be unaffected; readers will still be able to view ebooks and online journal articles.

Finding Brill Open Access monographs in SOLO: tips

As more and more monographs also become Open Access, our colleagues in the Bodleian Library are cataloguing those so they can be found and accessed via SOLO.

For instance, if you wanted to find Brill Open Access monographs in SOLO, then simply search for:

“brill online books and journals” “open access”

Brill OA books SOLO search

You can then use the facets on the side to explore which subjects are covered.

Look out for more Open Access monographs. They are freely available and, now that they are integrated into SOLO, should also be discoverable in addition to our purchased and Legal Deposit collections.

Related links

SOLO upgrade 14 July: new features & improvements

SOLO was upgraded this morning. Some highlights of the changes include:

1. Online access indicators – prominent green dots show where we have the item online and also notes the existence of physical copies. electronic Legal Deposit items display an orange dot.

SOLO upgrde 14 July 2015 - dots and permalinks2. Info buttons in Find & Request tab – these currently link to the library information pages at upgrde 14 July 2015 - info button3. Browse related titles – any book records with a Library of Congress or National Library of Medicine classification field will show results with pictures of book covers underneath. This allows readers to scroll through books with adjacent classification numbers.

SOLO upgrde 14 July 2015 - browse related Other features include:

  • Boolean operators now available in advanced search interface to help build complex queries
  • Holdings information display improvements for items with multiple lines. SOLO upgrde 14 July 2015 - holdingsIf you click on “More holdings information” there is this pop-up:

SOLO upgrde 14 July 2015 - holdings pop up

  • Permalink – a stable url is now provided more prominently, giving you a quick way to copy the link to a particular result in SOLO to send to a reader or refer to in a guide/reading list. The previous ‘link to this record’ links are no longer visible although they will still work.

SOLO upgrde 14 July 2015 - permalinksImprovements have also been continuing apace between upgrades. You may have already noticed that:

  • if you try leaving an open SOLO session unused for a while (up to 30 minutes, which is the official timeout period), you should now be able to continue with the same session.
  • the Search Everything tab is now better at intermingling results from the other two tabs (Oxford Collections and Articles & More)
  • searching for Chinese and Japanese materials are much improved
  • Hebrew alternative spellings are now included in searches

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


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

Working on your thesis? Do you have right research and information skills? Do you need to brush up your Français?

Second year undergraduate historians currently working towards their theses are encouraged to attend newly announced training sessions for Trinity Term. They will provide you with valuable information and support sure to stand you in good stead for your research.

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 scheduled include:

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 searches in SOLO and the benefits of using RefWorks to manage your citations during dissertation research. Staff will be on hand to provide step-by-step demonstrations, with opportunities for putting theory into practice also provided.

For further details on these workshops, along with booking information, please visit the HFL website.


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 to arrange a 1:1.

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

Do you have the right language skills? 

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

SOLO upgrade tomorrow (3 Sept): browse, date range search

SOLO Upgrade: Tuesday 3rd September

The software that powers SOLO, the Bodleian Libraries’ online catalogue, will be upgraded tomorrow.  While SOLO will function the same following the upgrade, the new version of the software brings with it various additional new features, many of which have been requested by readers.

1. Browse searching

The new browse search allows users to browse records using A-Z lists of authors, titles or subjects.  The browse lists cover the holdings of the majority of libraries within the University, but they do not include the databases indexed in OxLIP+ or research papers and theses indexed in the Oxford Research Archive (ORA). You can browse OxLIP+ or ORA within their own dedicated search interfaces.

SOLO browse search Sept 2013

2. Date range search (Advanced search)

This is a new option in the advanced search screen which allows users to limit searches by specifying a publication date range. Results from the search will only include material where the publication date falls between the start and end date set.

SOLO date range search Sept 2013

3. Improved export options

The facility to export records to reference managers has been greatly improved in this new version of SOLO.  It is now possible to export directly from individual records without saving to e-shelf and to export to desktop reference management software such as Endnote and RefWorks.

It is now possible to refine your results using more than one option in the facet list on the left-hand side of the page. To do so, click on ‘refine further’. This will also offer the option to exclude facets.

4. Multiple selection/exclusion of facets (Refine your results)

It is now possible to refine your results using more than one option in the facet list on the left-hand side of the page. To do so, click on ‘refine further’. This will also offer the option to exclude facets.

SOLO refine further Sept 2013

Please note: Readers using the “Libraries” facet are strongly advised to avoid excluding libraries.   This is because if an item is held in a number of libraries and you choose to exclude one of them, you will not see the item at all, even though it is also available in other libraries that you have chosen to include.  For example, if you exclude the Bodleian, you will not see items in other libraries if they are also held in the Bodleian.  To refine your search by library you are advised to use the “include” option but not “exclude”.

We continue to work to develop and improve SOLO, and welcome comments via the feedback link on the SOLO front page. For help and guidance using SOLO, please see the SOLO online guide or ask library staff. The Bodleian Libraries Live Help service is also available on the SOLO front page from 9am-5pm on weekdays.

SOLO down for software upgrade 3 August 8am to 5 August 9am

A significant upgrade of the underlying library software (from which SOLO takes much of its content and data relating to item availability etc) means SOLO will be unavailable between 8am on Saturday 3rd August and 9am on Monday 5th August.

How do I find out what is held in Oxford during this downtime?

To search for books and journals held in Oxford, use COPAC – though bear in mind that it will not display the up-to-date status of a book, e.g. when it is due back from loan.

Can I still renew books or place holds online?

No, unfortunately during this time patron functions are not available. Please contact the owning library if you need help.  For enquiries relating to HFL books, contact HFL staff.

Can I still access databases and ejournals?

Yes, you can still access our database and ejournal subscriptions via OxLIP+.


Apologies in advance for any inconvenience.