Category Archives: Uncategorized

May Headlines


May has been a month during which the library has been very well-occupied by readers preparing for exams. We would like to wish everyone the best of luck! We hope that we are providing somewhere calm and welcoming for people who are a bit stressed and worried; as ever, do let us know if there is anything we can do to help – even if it is just making sure the photocopier has enough paper.

We had some drama last week when one of the stair treads came loose on the stairs leading down to the basement, leading to Dawn having to take the decision to close the stairs. The lift (which is in the corner of the library past the photocopiers) never saw so much action! Fortunately it also behaved itself, which is always a bit of a worry with such an antique piece of equipment… The stairs were repaired quickly and we are happy to report that there were no injuries as a result of the problem.

Readers will have noticed that another survey, different to the one which was sent out for students, has been being publicised via notices around the library. We hope that everyone who wished to give feedback successfully did so in the time available. When we have official news about the proposed changes to the library service we will, of course, pass it on. We are bound, however, to only doing this when approved by senior staff, so do bear with us if we’re not saying much!

Announcements for June

Vacation loans will begin next week (8th June) and will run through until 13th October (Tuesday of First Week). Books borrowed before that time can be renewed for the longer loan period as long as you have not renewed more than twice before. If you have any problems please contact library staff.

We have been asked to pass on a reminder to finalists to use up your PCAS credit! Accounts do stay active for about two years, but it is probably worth trying to leave them as empty as possible if you are leaving us for pastures new.

We would also like to gently remind finalists to please return your books to the library before you go; and to please make sure that you return the correct books to the right places!


Your Chance to Have Your Say

Don’t forget to fill in the survey!

All students of the Faculty of Oriental Studies will have been sent a link to an online survey about the proposed changes to the Library – moving our services and books into the Sackler Library on St John St in Summer 2016.

Library staff can answer broad questions, but much of the detail is still to be worked out as the proposal at this stage is just that – a proposal. Nothing is set in stone, regardless of some of the rumours which are going around.

You have until next Tuesday to respond; the survey is very short so please do not miss this opportunity to have your opinions heard, whether you think the change is a good idea or whether you think the Library at the Oriental Institute should remain in the Oriental Institute.

If you want to have a say about this, now is the chance!

2014 Round-up

Happy New Year!


2014 was a busy year for the Library, with much going on as ever.

We have continued to develop and improve our online presence, with the introduction of the OIL page on the University’s WebLearn platform, which is now coming up for its first birthday and contains scans of many resources added at the request of the academic staff. We also have the LibraryThing widget on the blog, which enables readers to keep track of our new additions.

March saw the completion of the project to upgrade the Library’s windows, which led to some disruption for a time at the far end of the library and on a related note all the computers were also upgraded to the Windows7 operating system (ha ha).

Later in the spring we began displaying the beautiful merchandise from the Bodleian’s Love and Devotion exhibition – items are still available and are on display at the entrance to the Library. The posters have proved especially popular.

Over the summer we undertook a few alterations. The Apply Staff books were reclassified into the Library of Congress classification to bring them into line with the rest of the library (more of which later), which has happily proven not to be as confusing for anyone as we feared it might, despite items shifting around a bit.

OIL staff were also involved in the reclassification of the books on Open Shelf at the RSL in the Special Collections Reading Room, prior to that collection’s move into the Charles Wendell David Reading Room in the Weston Library, which opened its doors to readers on the 29th September.

Michaelmas Term saw the excitement of the Name the Stapler competition – a winner for which has been nominated but has yet to be presented with their prize, hence the lack of official announcement – and the usual busy period as our new intake found their feet and our more established readership got back into the swing of things.

As soon as Term finished, Kate started moving the books in the Library of Congress sequence into the space vacated by the DS section which she had been reclassifying. The LC section is now all the way round to the first bay by the windows in the nearest corner to the Sackler, and runs under the windows at the side. Labels are in place, but do ask if things have moved a long way from where they were. The total number of books reclassified in 2014 was 2231 items, representing 1635 shelfmarks, and there is still a long way to go!

The move finished just as we were closing for the Christmas break, which was convenient as it means that the reclassification can begin again in earnest now that things are back to normal.

We hope everyone had a relaxing holiday, and wish everyone all the best for 2015!

February Headlines

February has been a fairly quiet month, news-wise at OIL, although as it is currently Term time we have been busy with our regular readers and welcoming new ones from various departments – it is surprising how much our collection crosses disciplines!

There was a certain amount of excitement* when Kate finished the last of the BP section in her ongoing reclassification project, which is a big milestone as that was the largest section in the old classification. There are still some of the old BPs left as not all of them were easily reclassified, and these will shortly be moving to a new home close to their current location when we do the next round of book moves to use some of the space under the windows at the Ashmolean end of the library. (*Not really. There was a certain amount of “Wow, that took a long time…”, but then she did start in 2010).

This next move will happen during the Easter Vacation, in order to annoy disturb as few people as possible. We will also be moving the folios (large books) in the LC section into a new location at the far end of the back wall of that section, and we’ll make sure that the signs are kept up to date so people can find things again!

There are a couple of announcements for March. Firstly: the Vacation Loan period for the Easter Vacation will begin from next week, and books will be due back on the 29th April (Tuesday of 1st Week), and secondly, readers might be interested in this eBook workshop which is running at IT services to coincide with World Book day on 6th March:

In wider Bodleian Libraries news, the Oriental Institute Library would like to congratulate Richard Ovenden on his appointment to the post of Bodley’s Librarian. Richard was here at OIL last year for the opening of the Window on Korea (below left), and we wish him all the best for his new role.



July headlines and announcements for August

We trust everyone is having a lovely summer? The recent spell of very hot weather made for some slightly stuffy days in the office, which does not have windows that open, but after last summer with the constant sound  of rain pattering on the skylights it was welcome!

As usual, July has been fairly quiet. However, there was some excitement with the launch of the Oriental Institute Library’s new website, which we hope will prove to be useful to our readers. The site can be found at

OIL website screenshot

Elsewhere, Kate has been taking advantage of the quiet at the issue desk to continue the ongoing reclassification project, and this year is counting how many she books she reclassifies during the Vacation. Updates as to how she gets on will follow in September, when there will also be a minor book-move to fill up the spaces.

That’s all the news for July, I’m afraid. There are, however, a couple of early reminders of closures later on:

Firstly, the entire Bodleian Libraries, including OIL, will be closed over the August Bank Holiday Weekend – Saturday 24th August to Monday 26th August inclusive.

Secondly, OIL will be closed as usual during St Giles’ Fair, which this year will be the 2nd and 3rd of September. We will post notices and update the Facebook page nearer the time.

May Headlines and Announcements for June

A slightly topsy-turvy post this month…

Firstly, to get things out of the way (and make sure that people notice them), we have some

Announcements and reminders:

FINALISTS! Don’t forget to return your books to the Library or you will not be able to graduate!

The reminders for library fines have now gone out; outstanding fines will also prevent graduation, so make sure you have cleared your accounts!

As we have mentioned before, you can now pay fines for any Bodleian Library in any Bodleian Library, so there is no need to traipse round all the libraries in turn, but please remember that lost book fees may only be paid to the library which owned the book in the first place.

Library staff will be pleased to help if you have any questions.

May Headlines:

May is a month which always seems to fly by; the two bank holidays being one of the reasons, although of course the Library remained open for those.

It is always at this time of year that we notice a change in the readers’ behaviour as revision and exams alter priorities. We also notice a marked decline in the numbers of readers asking directions; most of you are now familiar with the library’s idiosyncrasies, although there are always the perennial “this book says it’s here but isn’t on the shelf” questions…

We also tend to see new readers from different subject areas who find themselves needing to access the Library – Hello to all the History undergraduates who are visiting us! Hope you found us without too much difficulty.

Meanwhile the additions to the Library’s Window On Korea collection are continuing with some urgency; the official Grand Opening will be on the 21st June (watch this space for updates and photos!) and the reclassification of the collections into Library of Congress Classification is also progressing. As we have no major moves planned for this Summer Vacation period – unlike last year when we were moving the Middle East Centre books – we hope to make some real progress with the reclassification during the quieter period.

New Electronic Resource on Trial!

Al-Manhal (trial)

Al Manhal offers a wide variety of electronic publications; eBooks (4522 titles divided into10 collections), eJournals (250 eJournals divided into 9 collections on Humanities and Social Sciences subjects) , eReports (Daily, weekly and monthly news and analyses reports) and eDissertations (Databases of Masters and Ph.D dissertations from the Arab World’s leading Universities). It currently holds rights to over 63,483 publications from the most well renowned publishers regionally.

Al Manhal’s powerful search and discovery tools for Arabic language content include: Full-text search; Contextual linking; Highlighting and annotating; Personal bookshelves; Automatic citations.

You can access it from the front page of OxLIP+ under New Resources and Trials.

Alternatively from OxLIP+ >Find Database>subject>Middle Eastern Studies/Islamic Studies


We are currently focusing on new titles ( mostly academic titles ) and the period we cover so far for books is as per the graph below, but our strategy for phase 2 is to add high value titles regardless the publication year.

September Highlights and Announcements

Before I get to the highlights for September, a big announcement (well, big for us!):

From next week, the start of Term proper, readers will be permitted to borrow 8 books at a time from OIL instead of the former upper limit of 6. The usual two-week borrowing period still applies during Term.

So, September? Always a quiet one for us, I’m afraid. The Library’s annual leave calendar runs October-September, so at some point in June or July everyone panics and books most of the last month off to use up their leave. Subsequently OIL has been without at least one member of staff for most of the month, but given that we rarely have huge numbers of readers during the month before Term starts this has not proven to be an insurmountable problem.

We have not been idle! The work on the Window on Korea room downstairs continues, and the ongoing reclassification of the older BP sequence has been rattling on apace, currently somewhere in the Islamic Law section and therefore keep an eye on KBP in the new sequence, which is shuffling around in various directions as books are added and moved.

We have also been preparing for Inductions; the Library Open Day is this Friday, 5th October, and will feature sessions on how to use SOLO, various subject-related points of contact and also a brief (and easy) session from your humble blogger on the Library’s Social Media presence. Look out for the fliers/posters during the week!

Looking ahead, we have the mammoth task that is processing all the books which will be returned at the start of Term, which is probably a good place to remind people that books borrowed over the Vacation are due back NEXT MONDAY 8th October! I will post a reminder of Facebook nearer the time, but thought it should be mentioned here too.

Network Disruption During the Long Vacation

The Oxford University Computing Service will be upgrading the University network during the Long Vacation, primarily on Tuesday mornings. There are several dates which directly affect the Oriental Institute; including two over the next couple of weeks when your humble blogger will be on holiday and unlikely to post Facebook/Twitter reminders nearer the time.

On Tuesday 26th June and Tuesday 3rd July *all* University network services will be unavailable between 0700 and 1100. SOLO, which is on a separate system and will have to be restarted manually, will be unavailable until 1130 at the latest on those days. Library staff will endeavour to allow borrowing of books using the Offline Circulation function, but access to the catalogue, email, wireless and wired networks will not be possible.

This will also be the case on the 7th August, and on September 4th, but I will post something nearer the time in both cases.

We apologise on behalf of everyone involved for the inconvenience and hope that everything will be up and running sooner than they estimate!