New library system: delay to ‘go live’ date, now Friday 22nd July

Due to OLIS (the old version) crashing last Thursday, there has unfortunately been a delay to getting the new system up and running.  The new date for all to be working is 9am on Friday 22nd July.

All the arrangements that have been in place for the downtime this week will continue throughout next week. If you need material urgently, the ‘just-in-time’ team will be available to locate alternative copies where possible via the online request form. The SOLO Live Help will also continue to be available for assistance with SOLO, which will remain available until 3pm on Thursday 21st, when it will need to be taken down for the final part of the preparation for the new system.

We apologise for the delay, and thanks for your patience!

Update 18/7/11: The Bodleian Libraries have posted a notice with more information on their website.

Mezzanine seating reserved week beginning 18th July

The RAI is hosting a summer school for sixth form students next week.  They will be using the library for their own studies in the afternoons, and the mezzanine seating will be reserved for them while they are in the library.  Please use alternative seating on the other floors if you are working in the VHL in the afternoons next week.

New sites saved on our delicious page

Since it’s been a while since the last time I did this, a reminder that the VHL maintains a page on Delicious where we save links to useful and interesting web sites for US studies as we come across them. Periodically I will post the most recently saved links to the blog, as below. You can also always see the most recent links listed in the sidebar, as well as on the online US History guide, or of course, check out our Delicious page itself!

Data Visualization: Journalism’s Voyage West
This visualization plots over 140,000 newspapers published over three centuries in the United States. The data comes from the Library of Congress’ “Chronicling America” project, which maintains a regularly updated directory of newspapers. Includes links through to the newspaper entries on “Chronicling America”.
Site which allows you to browse historic photos by location on Google Maps. Photos come from a variety of libraries and archives around the world, as well as uploaded by site members. You can limit by period, and see photos superimposed on streetview. Over 50,000 photos have been added so far. There is also a ‘collections’ feature, which brings together images around particular themes or events.
Treasures of the North Carolina State Archives and the State Library of North Carolina
An online exhibit of some of the most priceless items from the collections at the North Carolina State Archives, with supplemental materials from the State Library of North Carolina to be added later. These archival documents are not available for public viewing except at specifically designated times due to their importance to the state’s history and, in some cases, their fragile condition. Also included in this online collection are some examples of presidential signatures that the State Archives has collected over time. The collections are browsable by period.
Theodore Roosevelt’s scrapbooks digitized
Houghton’s collaborative digitization project of the Theodore Roosevelt manuscript materials with Dickinson State University in North Dakota includes 11 scrapbooks, which are now all available to browse online.
Collections Access — Historic New England
The Collections Access Project makes possible unprecedented online access to museum objects, manuscripts, books, photographs, and other materials in Historic New England’s collections. By searching the online database, visitors to the web site can see images along with descriptive catalogue information and unique stories about objects located throughout the organization’s historic properties and storage facilities.
Historical Newspapers Online (Penn Libraries)
Useful list of links to free digitised newspaper archives.
W.E.B. Du Bois Papers and Photographs (University of Massachusetts Digital Collections)
Search and view correspondence, writings, and photographs in the W.E.B. Du Bois Papers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
North Carolina Family Records Online
This collection contains Bible Records (lists of birth, marriage, and death information recorded in North Carolina Bibles throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries), marriage and death notices that appeared in five North Carolina newspapers from 1799-1893, cemetery photographs, and more to provide easy access to North Carolina’s genealogical past.
Pentagon Papers
The Pentagon Papers, officially titled “Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force”, was commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1967. In June of 1971, small portions of the report were leaked to the press and widely distributed. However, the publications of the report that resulted from these leaks were incomplete and suffered from many quality issues. On the 40th anniversary of the leak to the press, the National Archives, along with the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon Presidential Libraries, has released the complete report. There are 48 boxes and approximately 7,000 declassified pages. Approximately 34% of the report is available for the first time.
Civil War Diaries and Letters (University of Iowa Libraries)
Thousands of pages of diaries and letters from the Civil War period (some also extending for years either side). The pages are scans, mostly without transcription or full-text searching at the moment, although there is a crowdsourcing project underway to transcribe them.
Medicine in the Americas, 1619-1914: A Digital Library
Medicine in the Americas is a digital library project that makes freely available original works demonstrating the evolution of American medicine from colonial frontier outposts of the 17th century to research hospitals of the 20th century.
Newseum | News | Today’s Front Pages | Archive List
The Newseum archive of front pages from a wide variety of newspapers published on historic dates.
National Jukebox (Library of Congress Historic Recordings)
The Library of Congress presents the National Jukebox, which makes historical sound recordings available to the public free of charge. The Jukebox includes recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation and other contributing libraries and archives. At launch, the Jukebox includes more than 10,000 recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925. Jukebox content will be increased regularly, with additional Victor recordings and acoustically recorded titles made by other Sony-owned U.S. labels, including Columbia, OKeh, and others. As well as popular and classical music, the Jukebox contains recordings of political speeches by William Jennings Bryan, W.H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson and others.
Guide to searching State Legislative databases
PDF guide to searching the 50 state legislative databases.

New books for June

With apologies for the delay, the list of new books received in the library during June (selection displayed above) is now available on our website and LibraryThing page. A reminder that you can always see a selection of recently acquired books in the library on the sidebar of this blog and on our Facebook page (click on ‘LibraryThing’ on the left-hand side). You can also subscribe to an RSS feed of our new books from this link:

OLIS downtime: help with SOLO and/or locating material

The Bodleian Libraries have put various things in place to help support readers during the OLIS downtime. Please note that OLIS crashed yesterday and is currently still down; we should find out shortly whether it will be resurrected today before the scheduled downtime begins.  I should underline that this unforeseen crash is completely unrelated to the switchover to the new system, and our systems people are working very hard to restore access today. 

Obtaining material held in the Bodleian stack
If you need to get hold of books that are in the Bodleian stack over the next week (and are unable to wait until the new library system is up and running on Monday 18th), there is a dedicated ‘just-in-time’ team available who are there to try and locate alternative copies of books and journals which are unavailable during the downtime. You can contact them via an online form at:

SOLO help
If you are not familiar with SOLO, and are having difficulty finding things, there is now a live online help service available from the SOLO main page. This will be staffed 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday, throughout the downtime, for any questions you may have or to help you with searching SOLO.  There is also an online guide to SOLO, which should show you how to do most things.

Further questions or help
The Bodleian Libraries email address for questions relating to the downtime is  You can of course always contact library staff in any library as well, and we will all do our best to help you during the transition.

New library system update: using SOLO

Here’s some more information from the Bodleian Libraries about SOLO, which as previously mentioned will be the only way to search the library catalogue when the old OLIS is taken down at 5pm on Friday.

As part of the transition to a new integrated library system at the Bodleian Libraries, on 18 July all patron functions currently offered in OLIS will move to a new version of SOLO. This will replace OLIS (WebOPAC and telnet versions) and can be searched by anybody anywhere in the world. Registered readers need to use only one interface both to locate collections and to order them, but can then also renew loans and holds, check their patron record, etc. Also, once signed on to SOLO (s.b.), Oxford members who are working off-campus will have seamless access to subscription e-resources without having to sign on again.

More about SOLO
Since October 2008 SOLO has been a search and discovery tool for the major collections of the libraries of the University of Oxford. As well as searching the University libraries’ print and electronic holdings and title links to more than 1,100 databases on OxLIP+, it also searches ORA (Oxford University Research Archive), the Bodleian Library Allegro Chinese and Allegro Japanese catalogues and the Refugee Studies Cardbox catalogue (mostly grey literature published before 2004).

On 18 July, in addition to patron functions, the new version of SOLO will also feature enhanced searching functionality, esp. in Advanced Search where an additional search box and new fields have been added. For instance, scholars researching early printed books will welcome the addition of certain searches such as date of publication, place of publication and publisher.

Unlike OLIS, SOLO allows registered readers to save search results and set up search alerts; all registered readers, including non-Oxford users, can also save details of collections to a personal e-shelf.

Signing on to SOLO after 18 July
Readers who wish to check the status of books, stack requests, use the e-shelf, etc. need to be registered readers before they can sign on to SOLO. Oxford members should sign on with their Single Sign On details; non-Oxford members will continue to sign on with their Library Card barcode and associated password.

Need help with SOLO?
A SOLO guide gives helpful instruction how to use it. A series of SOLO workshops will be offered after the go-live. See the timetable for details and bookings. Do not hesitate to contact library staff who can also assist with any enquiries or problems. Finally, for the period of the downtime 8-18 July, a SOLO Live Chat will offer immediate assistance to readers in the use of SOLO.

Important news for current e-Shelf users
If you are currently using SOLO’s e-shelf functions, we shall need to migrate your personal data. It is imperative that by 8th July you have set your email address correctly in SOLO. If you have not already done so, then please sign in to your SOLO account using the “Oxford Single Sign On” link on the top right corner of the screen. Once signed on, click on “My Account” then choose “Edit Details” to set your email address. Please use the same email address as you do for OLIS. (You can check your current email address in OLIS by logging in to OLIS,, or by asking library staff.) This must be done before 8th July so your email addresses in SOLO and OLIS match before data migrations are started on 8th July.

[From Bodleian Libraries Reader Notices.]

Gladstone Link: new reading room in the Bodleian Library, open today

Reposting this from the History Faculty Library’s blog, about the new area for readers in the Central Bodleian which opened today:

The Gladstone Link is a new area of the Bodleian Library for open-shelf library material accessible by readers.  It connects the Old Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera reader spaces and will be accessible from both these buildings. There is shelf space for an additional 270,000 items of library material, roughly doubling the open-shelf provision in the Bodleian Library to around 500,000.

We have also taken the opportunity to link the Old Bodleian Library and the Radcliffe Camera, connecting the reading rooms for the first time, and to create 120 extra reader spaces, as well as facilities such as reader terminals and photocopiers.

Access and opening hours

The Gladstone Link (GL) is accessible from:

  • the Old Bodleian Library (OB) via the staircase in the ‘NW tower’ or the lift in the nearby coat and bag lobby,
  • the Radcliffe Camera (RC) via Bay 1 in the Lower Camera reading room.

It will be open for most of the library’s opening hours, closing 45 minutes before the rest of the library to allow secure and effective closing procedures.  At that point, you will be able to move upstairs with any material you are reading or photocopying and enjoy the remaining open period of the other reading rooms.

Subject to funding, it is planned to open the Radcliffe Camera and Gladstone Link on Sundays in Full Term.

The Lower Camera reading room now has access-controlled entry and exit (as in the Proscholium).

Service changes

As part of the implementation of this new area, the date restrictions surrounding what material can be used in which areas are being revised.

The new regulations will come into effect from Monday 4th July and are as follows:

  • Pre-1701 material can be read in Duke Humfrey’s Library or the Special Collections reading room at RSL by readers with Bod A category membership.
  • Readers can use material dating from 1701 to the present in the reading rooms of the Old Bodleian Library.
  • Readers are able to use material dating from 1851 to the present across the Bodleian complex.

Stack request

You are welcome to bring stack request material (except items older than 1851) into the Gladstone Link from any of the Reserves.  The nearest to the GL is the Lower Camera Reserve.

If you wish to reserve stack request material for further use, you must return it to the Reserve from which you collected it.

We ask you to return other stack request to the Reserve so that we know it is no longer in your possession and in case it has been requested by another reader.

Reader etiquette

We invite you to enjoy an informal study environment in the Gladstone Link.  Furniture of various shapes, sizes, and heights should allow you to find a comfortable position to work in, and to change when you feel like it!

Group study tables in corners or behind acoustic screens provide opportunities for quiet conversation.

Feel free to fiddle with your mobile device or listen to audio through leak-proof headphones.  But, please no loud telephone conversations – the lobbies are more suitable for moderate conversations.

If you prefer silent spaces, the historic reading rooms retain their traditional feel.


By the red lobby on each level:

  •     readers terminals
  •     PCAS photocopier
  •     emergency telephone
  •     transparent fronted lockers

Lockers are for use during the day and must be cleared overnight.

By the blue lobby on the main level only:

  •    6 reader terminals (3 standup and 3 sitdown)

By each of the four exits, you will find a ‘repatriation’ trolley for material from other reading rooms and a reshelving trolley for material from the GL.


You should find good wifi connectivity throughout. Power is provided to most perimeter desks, 3 central rows of columns on the main level and one central row in the basement. The two large square tables on the main level have power sockets under the flaps in the middle.


  • If I take material from one reading room to another, do I have to take it back again?  We (and other readers) would be greatly assisted if you were to take material that you have finished with back to its home reading room but this is not required and there are ‘repatriation’ trolleys in each reading room/area.  NB – stack request material which you wish to retain for further consultation must be taken back to the Reserve from which you collected it.
  • How soon will material be returned to its correct place?  We will be almost continuously repatriating and reshelving and will aim to get material back to its home reading room/area within a few hours.  Material awaiting reshelving will be gathered to a small number of identified places to facilitate your finding it.
  • Does the yellow slip system operate in the Gladstone Link?  No, although it will continue in the reading rooms, we do not propose to introduce it in the GL as the nature of the material and the space is different.
  • Why is the material not all classified?  It would have been prohibitively expensive to classify 270,000 items of stock and we have preferred to maintain investment in the acquisition of new material.  Nevertheless we hope that you will enjoy direct and immediate access to this material and we are looking into cost-effective ways of classifying future new intake.
  • Why isn’t there a fetching service from the Gladstone Link?  Feedback from readers strongly suggests that your preference is for material to be on open access for direct and immediate finding.  It is not normal library practice to provide a fetching service for open-shelf material.
  • What has happened to the conveyor?  Most of the conveyor has been removed to make way for the lift which now occupies the old shaft.  One section has been retained for historical interest.
  • What about Duke Humfrey’s Library?  Duke Humfrey’s will remain a reading room for special collections (including maps and music) until the opening of the Weston Library in Spring 2015.  Only readers with Group A tickets are admitted.

Bodleian update: Gladstone Link, System downtime, Book delivery times

An update on a few things relating to the ongoing changes and improvements in the Bodleian Libraries:

Gladstone Link opening Tuesday 5th July, 12.00pm

The Gladstone Link, a new area for readers, will open at 12:00 on Tuesday 5th July. The Link will connect the Old Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera reader spaces and will be accessible from both these buildings. It will offer work spaces and the books there will be available on the open shelf.  You will be able to identify books held in the Gladstone Link by the shelfmarks beginning (UBHU).  

System downtime, 8th-18th July: Limited fetching service for stack requests and help to locate alternative copies

The Bodleian Libraries will now be offering a limited fetching service for stack requests during the period of downtime from 8th-18th July. However, you are still advised to get your requests in as soon as possible, and before the system is taken down at 5pm on 7th July.  Any books which are up at any reserves within the Bodleian Libraries will stay up throughout the downtime.

If you are having difficulty getting hold of material during the downtime, there will be online support available from the Bodleian Libraries’ website from 7th July, which will help you locate alternative copies of books and journals which are unavailable.  As ever, if you have any questions or need any help, you are always welcome to ask us!

Book delivery times

We’ve had confirmation of the times when the Bodleian van will be calling at the VHL, until at least December. Our morning delivery will now be at around 9.45am and afternoon delivery around 3.15pm. 


Reminder: downtime for switchover to new library system, 8th-18th July

We are now in the last few days before the switchover to the new library system begins. Here’s what you should make sure you have checked or done by the time the system goes down at 5pm on Thursday:

Stack requests
If you want to consult books from the Bodleian stacks during the downtime (8th-18th July), you need to place your requests for them as soon as possible in order that they can be delivered to the reading rooms by Thursday afternoon.

Check your password!
We will not be able to reset passwords while the system is down. Please check that you know your library card password and that it works, and if not, ask us to reset it by 5pm on Thursday at the latest. This is the password that goes with your library card barcode, and that you need to log on to library PCs, the Bodleian Libraries’ wireless network, place stack requests or check your record on OLIS.

Familiarise yourself with SOLO
After the system is taken down at 5pm on Thursday, there will be no more access to either the telnet or web versions of OLIS. The only catalogue available for the new system will be SOLO, which will continue to be available throughout the downtime. When the new system goes live on Monday 18th July, this will bring with it a new and improved version of SOLO with enhanced searching and the ability to do all the things within it that you used to have to click through to OLIS for.  For more help and guidance on searching SOLO in its current form, see the SOLO online guide.

SOLO e-shelf – check your email address!
If you use the e-shelf function on SOLO, you need to check that your email address is correctly recorded, otherwise your data will not be able to be migrated to the new system and you will lose anything you have saved there. To do this, log in to SOLO as you normally would, then click on ‘my account’ in the top right-hand corner. If you need to change the email address listed, then click on ‘edit details’.

For more information, continue to keep an eye on the blog, as well as our Facebook page and Twitter feed for updates throughout the downtime. If you have any questions, please ask us!