Category Archives: Fun

November News and Holiday Reminders

Holiday Opening Times and Deliveries

Over the Christmas Vacation, we will be opening from 9-7 until the week beginning 11th December, when we will start to close at 5pm.

We will be closed for Christmas from 5pm on Thursday 21st December until 1st January inclusive.

After Xmas we will be opening until 5pm for the first week back, from Tuesday 2nd January and then reverting to our Term time opening of 9am to 7pm from Monday 8th January.

The last book delivery from the Book Storage Facility before Christmas will be on the morning of Thursday 21st December; any books ordered after 7pm on Wednesday 20th will be fetched on Tuesday 2nd January, either in the morning or afternoon runs, depending on the backlog of orders which has built up over the vacation.


Care of Library Materials

Readers are politely requested to please take the best care possible of books borrowed from the Oriental Institute, as any damage caused may result in the removal of the book from circulation, and therefore its loss to everyone who might have wished to use it.

Some of our materials are quite old and quite fragile, or have been misused in the past and suffered damage, and we rely on our readers to make sure they do not become any more damaged than they already are.

A short while ago a book was returned to us which was soaked with coffee – fortunately only on the covers and the edges of a few pages – which, had it been worse, might have been removed from circulation altogether. We were able to rescue it, but we would really rather not have to deal with situations like that in the first place.

No action was taken against that particular reader, but we do reserve the right to charge for the replacement of damaged library items if they cannot be salvaged.


Food and Drink in the Library

With this in mind may we also remind everyone that *only* water is allowed in the library. A bottle of Oasis juice was found by the Photocopiers earlier this week and several staff have observed coffee cups in the wastepaper baskets. Sugary drinks may attract pests, which might then damage the books, and may also cause mould outbreaks which can be a health hazard.

There is a common room downstairs, and most library materials – apart from the BSF books which cannot leave the library – can be borrowed, so we would much prefer people take their refreshments outside the library. A break from your desk is supposed to be beneficial, after all!


Shiny new pipes!

Observant* readers may have noticed a new set of shiny copper pipes, which have appeared on the wall around the Photocopiers and along the edge of the Periodicals section, as well as in the Back Office.

These have been installed in advance of the new heating system which is due to be fitted next summer. Fortunately all the work took place outside normal opening hours so we have not been disrupted by noise.

*They had been there for several days before your humble blogger noticed them, but I do tend not so spend too long looking at the ceiling…


We would like to wish all our readers a good break, a Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it and a Happy New Year to all. We will be back in January with our usual review of 2017 and (hopefully) fewer complaints about food in the library!


Stapler Competition Winner

The end of term crept up on us too soon, so we were unable to do this before the new year, but we are delighted to announce that, after a late rush of entries, we have a winner for OIL’s “Name the Stapler” competition.

Stapler Competition winner

Rowena Abdul Razak wins a generous prize of a £10 book voucher and a bottle of wine for her suggestion “Sir Manytooth Steelmate, Director of Stapler Studies at the Oriental Institute”. We may shorten this for the label, though!

We also have a runner up, Clementine Brown, who suggested “Al-Stabul Ur-Text”, and who wins the second prize of a box of chocolates. We particularly liked the fact that she explained that she had used a letter b as there is no letter p in Arabic.

All prizes were generously donated by Dinah Manisty. Thanks Dinah!

A special mention goes to Ryan Lynch, whose suggestion included a long introduction to the reasoning behind it; we appreciated the effort and thought, but as you were a runner-up last year we thought that it would be better to allow others to win the prizes.

Other entries were as follows:

“Alligator” – from Saba Halepota

“Zubayr” – from Ryan Lynch

“Colossus” from Amelia Green

“The Quire Master” from Henry Mason

“Attila” from Stephanie Pambakian

And finally two more suggestions from Clementine Brown: “The Quire master” (again!) and “Pulp Fixion-er”.

HUGE thanks to all our entrants! Things took a while to get going, but it was pleasing to have a last rush of entries. It is only a bit of fun, but we think this kind of thing adds to the friendly atmosphere which makes OIL a fun place to work, and hopefully to study!


November Headlines and Reminders for December

November Headlines

November saw things settling down a little from the beginning of Term, but we have still seen many new faces and enjoyed meeting all the various people who are now using the Library. As always, do ask us if you can’t find something; we know that the set-up here can be a little confusing!

Term is still upon us for the next week, so we would encourage anyone who hasn’t to enter our “Name the Stapler” competition, a winner of which will be announced on Friday.

Vacation Loans are now in operation, having started on Saturday 28th November; books borrowed from then on will be due back on the 20th January (Tuesday of 1st week).


December Reminders

We are running a Research Skills Toolkit session on Thursday 4th December – there are flyers at the front desk for anyone who is interested in attending and learning more about this valuable resource.

We will be doing some reorganising in the Library of Congress section over the vacation, moving books up into the spaces vacated as Kate has been reclassifying the collections, so may be making a bit of noise and/or leaving the desk for periods of time, but there will be someone around in the office and we will leave a note telling readers where we are. This is essential work – there is no more room in certain sections due to the volume of material being added – so we beg your patience for a few weeks until we can get things back to something resembling order.

And finally, the Library closes for Christmas on the 23rd December at 5pm, re-opening on Monday January 5th at 9am.


October Headlines and new e-Resources

As ever, we’ve had a very busy month, so apologies if this is a bit of a long post…

Firstly, and most importantly for those of you who hadn’t realised, the Library now opens at 0900 rather than 0915, allowing an extra quarter of an hour a day for all that essential reading!

The OIL open day for new students (and anyone else tempted by the sweets) was held on the afternoon of Friday 10th October and was well-attended, with many of the students staying behind after the introductions for training on SOLO, PCAS and other library-related matters, and also to sample the abovementioned sweets, generously provided this year by Dinah Manisty and Alasdair Watson. Alasdair also made himself available to talk to people about Arabic Manuscripts, and had an interesting slideshow on his laptop showing some fine examples.


Kate hinted during the introductions that there would be a new competition for Michaelmas Term, the final announcement of which was delayed by a week due to operational matters (she and her colleague at the Humanities Theses desk, Rob Wilkes, moved into the Weston Library from Osney Mead on the 16th October and things were a bit hectic for a few days). We have now, however, launched the “Name the Stapler” Competition – see posters at the Library desk or the previous blog post for details. We hope to have a good number of entries before the competition closes in 8th week, so get naming!

We welcomed Dawn back from her trip to Australia on the 20th – it sounds like she had a lovely time!

New e-Resources for Arabic materials

Dinah has asked that we pass on information about the following exciting new electronic resources which are available to Library users.

Firstly, there is the Qatar Digital Library Online portal at the British Library, a great new archival resource on the region.

Qatar clip

The QDL has been developed as part of a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding on Partnerships between the Qatar Foundation, the Qatar National Library and The British Library.
A wide range of content from the British Library’s collections (more specifically their colonial archives related to the Gulf Region) have been digitized since 2012, reaching a total of 500,000 images that will be available to browse and search by the end of 2014.

The Qatar Digital Library (QDL) is making a vast archive featuring the cultural and  historical heritage of the Gulf and wider region freely available online for the first time. It includes archives, maps, manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs and much more, complete with contextualised explanatory notes and links, in both English and Arabic.

This archive is bound to transform the study of Gulf history, improving understanding of the Islamic world, Arabic cultural heritage and the modern history of the Gulf.

You can find more info on the Qatar Digital Library at

Try it for yourself (Qatar Digital Library portal) and please let the students know about this great (and free!) new resource.

Also, do let us know what you think of the following, available until November 22nd:

1) Classic Arabic Texts Online (trial until 22 November 2014)

And finally, we have added the following to our Brill package:

2) Early Western Korans Online: Koran Printing in the West, 1537-1857

Dinah is responsible for this side of the Library’s work, so do let her know if you have used these and whether you have any feedback to give; we try to keep up as best we can with the latest resources which are available, but if any of you know of any we should have and don’t, please do get in touch!

As we said, a bumper post for October! We hope for more of the same in November!

It’s Competition Time!

Announcing… the Michaelmas Term competition at OIL!

After the success last year of the “Mystery Object”, the decision has been taken to run another competition for readers at the Library during Michaelmas Term 2014.

In the absence of any more obviously “mysterious” objects (the previous incumbent being a piece of reinforced concrete bent into an interesting shape after being rescued by a former member of staff during a refurbishment project), we have instead decided to link our new competition to a bit of library psychology, and equipment.

The blog below was the inspiration for this year’s adventure:

Blog snipping






To summarise, the author mentions that staplers which have been given a name tend not to be broken as quickly as those which remain nameless, possibly because the users identify with them a little more as objects. With this in mind we have decided to run a “Name the Stapler” competition, having acquired over the summer a large, heavy-duty stapler which we would rather not die too soon. Anyone wishing to read the whole post can find it at:

The rules of the competition are simple: find a name for the stapler. Entries can be via the Facebook Page or at the Library Desk, where a suitable receptacle will be found for paper entries.

Entrants must be a member of the University or hold a valid Library card.

The top prize for this year’s competition is a £10 book token, generously donated by Dinah Manisty. There will also be a chocolate-related runner-up prize.

Please refrain from any offensive or obscene suggestions; this is a bit of fun. Anything we deem inappropriate may be reported.

The winner and a runner-up will be announced during 8th Week.