Library PC and WiFi Router Upgrade (December 2019)

We are planning some improvements to our library PCs and Wi-Fi routers. For the PCs, increased memory and processing power will result in faster loading times and the ability to better handle our diverse range of programmes. They will also be sustainably built, take up less space and have an ergonomic design. New Wi-Fi routers will be mounted on our ceilings to improve the reliability and strength of our Wi-Fi signal.

The work will be taking place in December, full details are as follows:

The PCs in the Information Skills Training Room will be replaced on 5 December. The room will be inaccessible during the period of work. Alternative PCs can be found in our main computer area (behind our Self Issue machines).

The PCs in our main computer area will be replaced (except for the Bloomberg and Eikon PC in our Data Area) on Monday 9 to Tuesday 10 December. Work will be carried out to each desk in turn, so there will always be some PCs available for use in this area. Additional PCs can be found in our our Information Skills Training Room.

Also on the week of 9 December, work will be carried out in the library to add new routers to our ceilings to improve the Wi-Fi signal. Disruption should be kept to a minimum as the noisy work will take place outside of library opening hours.


Forgotten something? find out more about the equipment we lend and the stationery we sell

The SSL has a whole range of equipment you can borrow for library use only and stationery and equipment that you can purchase. Just ask staff at our Issue Desk for details.

Equipment to Borrow

All equipment is for library use only (apart from the padlocks which can be borrowed for use with the lockers behind the main building Reception desk). To borrow an item, ask a staff member at our Issue Desk. For more information and a full list of items, click on the image below:


We recently added a Lumie Daylight Desk Lamp to the items that we lend. Using this desk lamp will provide you with the bright light your body needs during the dark winter months. It can help boost your energy levels, put you in a better mood and make you feel more awake. It is particularly beneficial for those that suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).




Items for Sale

We have a range of stationery and equipment that we sell at cost price. Where possible, we try and source environmentally friendly products. To buy an item, ask a staff member at our Issue Desk. For more information and a full list of items, click on the image below:

Not sure where to study in the SSL? Find out more about our study spaces

Not sure where to study in the SSL? We have a variety of study spaces/seating for you to choose from. We also have different volume levels assigned to our study spaces, so you can easily find a silent space or somewhere you can talk. Read on below to discover the different options and then all you have to do is decide what suits you best.

Prefer to study with your friends? Does being surrounded by other people studying help you get down to work?

Our open plan seating might be your best choice. We have 2 options available:

A large open plan seating area on the south side of the library. Floor to ceiling windows ensure lots of natural light. The desks are roomy which means you can spread out your study materials. Desks are equipped with devices to lock your laptops to, ethernet and power sockets (either above or below the desks). This area of the library is designated a Silent Zone (silent study, no conversations)

Our second area of open plan seating is located on the east side of the library. These desks are partitioned, to allow for a degree of privacy. Again there is plenty of natural light from the windows adjacent to the seating. Desks are equipped with power and ethernet sockets. This area of the library is also designated a Silent Zone (silent study, no conversations)

Is being surrounded by others distracting for you? Do you prefer a space where you can be completely on your own or with only a few people nearby?

Our study carrels, individual partitioned seating or individual study desks will be your best choice:

We have 10 study carrels. Two are double carrels and the rest are single. All are sound proofed, have power sockets and Wi-Fi. All have over head lighting and are equipped with desk lamps. The carrels designated for general use operate on a first-come, first served basis. See our guide to study carrel etiquette.

If the study carrels are all in use, there are individual desks situated on the west perimeter of the Library, overlooking the car-park, which are also helpfully removed from distractions and noise (turn right at the end of the Issue Desk and then go left past the Discussion Rooms to reach this area). Note that these desks do not have power sockets. This area of the library is designated a Silent Zone (silent study, no conversations)

photo (c) John Cairns

The alternative is the study area at the back (north) of the library (running along from in front of the Central Graduate Study Room towards the East Graduate Study Room) this is a partitioned seating area for quiet individual study. Half of these seats have been designated a laptop free zone. We request that readers do not use a laptop or a device with an external keyboard at these seats. Tablets and other devices with silent keyboards may still be used. The seats in this area are clearly labelled. All desks in this area have power and ethernet sockets. This area of the library is designated a Silent Zone (silent study, no conversations)

Looking for a space to have a discussion, give a presentation or engage in group work? Our Discussion Rooms will suit your needs.

photo (c) John Cairns

The small room comfortably seats 8 and the larger room seats 16.  Both rooms are equipped with whiteboards and projectors. Marker pens, board rubbers and remote controls for the projectors can be borrowed from the issue desk. Ethernet and power sockets are also available. Both rooms are equipped with dimmer switches, so you can choose the light level you require. These rooms can be booked in advance by members of the departments in the Social Sciences Division for academic-related purposes. If they are not booked, please feel free to go in and use them. These 2 rooms have been designated a Discussion Zone: Discussions, presentations, group work and conversations are permitted

Are you a Social Science Graduate student and want a dedicated area to study? Do you want plenty of desk space to spread out? Our 2 Graduate Study Rooms will be a good choice for you.

The Central Graduate Study Room is equipped with white boards and all desks have power and ethernet sockets. A Manor Road IT printer is also located in it. The room contains two electronic and one manual height-adjustable desk. Windows along the back wall provide natural light. This room has been designated a Quiet Zone where brief, low volume conversations are permitted.

The East Graduate Study Room contains desks with partitioned seating and power and ethernet socks. The room contains a standing desk and an electronic height-adjustable desk. Widows on 2 sides provide natural light. This room has been designated a silent zone (silent study, no conversations).

An alternative space is the Q-Step Centre Teaching Lab. The room is used for teaching Quantitative Methods from 1pm – 6.15pm every weekday of the teaching term (Weeks 1 – 8). Outside of these hours the room is accessible to all Social Sciences graduate students. Undergraduate students who attend Q-Step sessions and who wish to practice on these PCs may be registered to use the room on request: ask a member of Library staff.

Forgotten your laptop or would prefer to work on a proper computer with desk space? Our computer area or Information Skills Training Room will be a good choice.

Our main computer area is equipped with 23 PCs, this includes a dedicated Data Area with PCs containing specialist software.

The Information Skills Training Room offers 20 PCs, LCD projector and screen. It is occasionally booked for training sessions but if it is free, you are welcome to use it. This area is normally less busy than our main computer area. All the monitors and keyboard are housed within the desk, so lift the covers of the desks to access them. This room is equipped with a dimmer switch, so you can choose the light level you require.

Prefer to be more relaxed and sit in individual comfortable seating? Our comfortable seating area will suit your needs.

There are 8 blue comfortable chairs on the south side of the library next to the open plan study area. There is plenty of natural daylight and a power socket available under the coffee table in this area.This area of the library is designated a Silent Zone (silent study, no conversations)

We also have a range of ergonomic furniture for you to use:

The Library has 7 height-adjustable desks (5 electronic, 2 manual) and 6 fixed height standing desks in the following locations:


Electronic Height-Adjustable Desks

  • 1 at the end of the Reader PCs Area (also equipped with a PC)
  • 2 in the study area on the east side of the Library
  • 1 in the Central Graduate Study Room
  • 1 in the East Graduate Study Room


Fixed-Height Standing Desks

  • 3 in the study area on the east side of the Library
  • 1 at the end of the partitioned searing area outside the East Graduate Study Room
  • 1 in the quiet study area on the west side of the Library, outside the Q-Step teaching lab
  • 1 in the East Graduate Study Room

Manual Height-Adjustable Desks

  • 2 in the Central Graduate Study Room

Ergonomic Chairs

The Library also has 10 RH Logic ergonomic chairs in the following locations:

  • 2 in the study area on the south/southwest side of the Library
  • 2 in the Laptop-free zone / partitioned seating area
  • 5 in the study area on the east side of the Library
  • 1 in the Reader PC area (with the height-adjustable desk)

Standard adjustable chairs are available in the Graduate Study Rooms and at desks equipped with PCs. Library staff will fetch or move these on request.

Look out for signage indicating the volume level for a zone:


Silent Zone: Silent study, no conversations

Main seating areas & East Graduate Study Room



Quiet Zone: Brief, low volume conversations permitted.

Central Graduate Study Room



Discussion Zone: Discussions, presentations, group work and conversations are permitted

Large Discussion Room and Small Discussion Room




Our Book of the Month choice for November

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.


The ghost map: a street, a city and the hidden power of urban networks

by Steven Johnson

Penguin, 2008

Shelfmark: RC133.G6.JOH 2008





Our Book of the Month choice for November was selected by Andy Kernot, Subject Consultant for Geography, Social Policy, Internet Studies and Public Policy.

Why was it chosen?

Set during the Cholera endemic of London in 1854, the book shows how plotting the incidence of cholera deaths on a street map of London led to an understanding of the source of the disease and how it was spread. It was chosen because it provides an example of how an innovative visualisation of data helped overcome one of the major problems of urban growth and planning.

Book Overview

Steven Johnson is one of today’s most exciting writers about popular culture, urban living and new technology. In The Ghost Map he tells the story of the terrifying cholera epidemic that engulfed London in 1854, and the two unlikely heroes – anaesthetist Doctor John Snow and affable clergyman Reverend Henry Whitehead – who defeated the disease through a combination of local knowledge, scientific research and map-making.

In telling their extraordinary story, Steven Johnson also explores a whole world of ideas and connections, from urban terror to microbes, ecosystems to the Great Stink, cultural phenomena to street life.


“It is difficult to do justice to the exuberance of Johnson’s ideas, or to his uncanny knack of finding connections and parallels between the most diverse and esoteric disciplines. The Ghost Map is a challenging and exciting work which removes historical non-fiction from the heritage industry and puts it back into lively, impassioned debate.”

Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday

Johnson’s account of the 1854 epidemic, along with the meditation on cities that he extrapolates from it, doesn’t need to call attention to its own cleverness. The Ghost Map is elegantly sufficient, without that, to get readers to do some thinking on their own.”

David Quammen, The New York Times

“Steven Johnson’s book provides a vivid and gripping account of the outbreak of 1854, as well as the state of public health during the late 19th century. He theorises on the relationship between urban living and the opportunities, both good and bad, it entails. But what is most enthralling is the way in which he interweaves seemingly self-contained disciplines and renders the cholera episode relevant to modern urban life.”

Sarah Birke, New Statesman

Where can I find it?

We have two copies of the book. One is for library use only and is currently on top of our New Books Display Area (located around the corner from our Library Issue Desk). The second copy is a normal loan copy and can be borrowed. The shelfmark for the title is RC133.G6.JOH 2008

The book was originally published in America with a slightly different sub-title ‘The Ghost map: the story of London’s most terrifying epidemic – and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world.’ We have 3 copies of this title, find it on SOLO here.

In addition, we have an electronic legal deposit copy of the American published title. Online access for this material is restricted to library computers in any of the Bodleian Libraries. A link to it can be found on SOLO.

What would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

Box of Broadcasts: an On Demand TV and Radio Service for education

Box of Broadcasts is an on-demand TV and radio service for education. Whether you want to research current events, news from the past or documentaries, Box of Broadcasts provides a wide range of audio-visual possibilities. It allows members of subscribing institutions to search an archive of over 2 million broadcasts, record programmes from over 65 free-to-air channels, and create their own playlists and clip compilations.

Content includes BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four, ITV, Channel 4, Film4, 10 foreign language channels and more.




15 new channels were recently added to BoB!





Use the playlist tool to create and share a playlist or to keep track of your own research.

The clips tool can be used to make handy snippets for teaching.


Box of Broadcasts is available to current members of the University of Oxford. Access the resource via SOLO and log in with your Single Sign-On (SSO). The first time you access Box of Broadcasts you will be required to register for an account by entering your email address and name.

Find out more by viewing these online tutorials.

International Open Access Week (21 to 27 October)

The SSL supports these International Open Access Week Oxford events.

This year’s International Open Access Week runs from 21-27 October and takes as its theme “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge.”

For a full programme of events and booking information, click here. All sessions are open to current students and staff members of Oxford University.

If you have any questions please email the OA Enquiry team

Missed your Library Welcome Session? Take a look at our Training Materials Archive

Did you miss your Library Welcome Session, or would you like a quick recap? Visit our Training Materials Archive to find this Term’s Welcome Session Presentations.

You can also take a look at our Getting Started webpage for all the key information you will need to get started using the Bodleian Libraries. Find out how to search our library catalogue (SOLO), how to make sense of your reading lists and much more …

We also have two Introduction to the Social Science Library (SSL) videos. One for new Undergraduates and one for new Postgraduates. The videos can be viewed by clicking on the images below:

Questions? Need some help? Talk to our friendly library staff, who will be happy to help with any queries you may have. Speak to us in person at our Issue Desk or you can contact us via phone (01865 2-71093) or via email.