COVID-19: New Primary Resources

[This blogpost will continually be updated with new online primary collections as they become available to Bodleian readers.]

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Bodleian Libraries have been sourcing online collections to assist Oxford students and researchers in their studies. This blogpost contains newly available primary resources that may be of interest to those studying American History, Politics and Culture.

Please note that the resources listed here are separate to the online collections which have already been purchased by the VHL or Bodleian. You can view these collections on our online guide to US Studies at Oxford. 

You can also visit our Diigo page to view our recommended open access resources.

Gale Primary Sources (25/03/2020)

Gale Primary Sources have opened up the a significant number of their collections to readers of the Bodleian Library, without restriction or cost, until the 1st September.

The new resources include thematic collections focused on diverse topics such as legal history, sexuality and gender and forced migration. Individual collections which may be of interest include:

Visit Gale Primary Sources at Oxford to view all the collections now available to Bodleian readers.

Bloomsbury Collections (26/03/2020)

Bloomsbury have kindly provided access to Bodleian readers to their Bloomsbury Collections and Drama Online. This includes over 2,000 e-books which have been added into Solo, on topics as diverse as History, Constitutional and Administrative Law, International Relations and Literature.

Drama Online also includes interviews, critical works and text on key American dramas, such as the works of Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller. It also includes audio-recordings and texts of key performances.

Bloomsbury has also opened up a number of their digital platforms for Bodleian readers to access. These collections include edited titles regarding key topics and primary resources, and can be limited by place, time period or themes. Of particular interest includes:

Access to these resources will be available until 31st May 2020. 

The Literary Encyclopedia (01/04/2020) 

“The Literary Encyclopedia is a dynamic, online world-literature resources, providing useful introductions to authors, texts and contexts. It has in-depth coverage of the literatures of the English-speaking world and excellent coverage of… other world literatures.” (Quoted from the Database A-Z.)

The Literary Encyclopedia is a continually evolving online resource. Coverage includes in depth articles on American literature and culture, from colonial writings to contemporary literature. Extensive coverage is also provided for writings from specific cultures and identities within the United states, including African American, Chicano/Latino and indigenous cultures.

Access to these resources will be available until 30th June 2020. 

ProQuest Historical Newspapers (03/04/2020) 

ProQuest Historical newspapers allow students and researchers to access primary resources from historical periods, and provide historical contextual background. The trial resources shown below allow our readers to access newspaper sources across wider geographical and political perspectives.
The following newspaper sources will be available to all Bodleian readers until May 31st 2020.

ProQuest Congressional (06/04/2020) 

To support academic research, ProQuest Congressional has opened up it’s complete collections to Bodleian readers for a temporary period.

Currently the Vere Harmsworth Library are subscribed to (and will continue to subscribe to) Congressional Hearings Part A (1824-1979) and Congressional Record Part A (1789-1997) only. Access to the complete ProQuest Congressional platform now includes access to:

  • Congressional Record 1998-2009
  • Congressional Research (CRDC), 1830-2015, 2020
  • Congressional Hearings, 1980-2015
  • Digital U.S. Bills and Resolutions, 1789-2015, 2017, 2019-2020
  • US Congressional Serial Set 1 (1789-1969)
  • US Congressional Serial Set 2 (1970-2017)

And much more!

Access the ProQuest Congressional platform here, and search across all the resources, or narrow your search to specific documents or time periods.

Full access to ProQuest Congressional (except for the exceptions mentioned above) will end May 31st, 2020.  

ProQuest History Vault (06/04/2020)

I am pleased to announce that the VHL has organised temporary access to the ProQuest History Vault, to support our readers wishing to access primary resources to support their studies and research during the current COVID19 situation.

The ProQuest History Vault offers our American historians a significant collection of primary resources, covering many different eras, topics and mediums within American history and culture. Resources range from the papers of presidential administrations, FBI classified files, organisation records of key movements and organisations and individual eyewitness accounts from the general public.

Resources can be accessed here:

Each resource is organised under the following eight modules.

  • Civil Rights and the Black Freedom Struggle
  • Southern Life, Slavery and the American Civil War
  • American Indians and the American West
  • American Politics and Society
  • International Relations and Military Conflicts
  • Revolutionary War and Early America: collections from the Massachusetts Historical Society.
  • Women’s Studies
  • Workers, Labour Unions and Radical Politics

Please view our separate blog post to see more information on the variety of resources within the History Vault.

This resource will be accessible to Bodleian readers until 31st May 2020. 

Readex Historical Newspapers and The American Slavery Collection

II am pleased to announce that the VHL has organised temporary access to Readex American Slavery Collection and several key collections in their Historical Newspapers series. This is to support our readers wishing to access primary resources to support their studies and research during the current COVID19 situation.

The American Slavery Collection is the digital version of the American Antiquarian Society’s incredible collection of historical material. The collection includes over 3,500 books, pamphlets, ephemera and graphic material tracing the history of slavery from the Missouri Compromise of 1820, to the birth of Jim Crow and segregation in the 1920s.

The VHL has also organised temporary access to the following Historical Newspaper Collections and Titles.

  • Early American Newspapers Series 13 & 14
    • Series 13 represents the largest online collection of 19th-century U.S. newspapers from the American West. It delivers more than 2,300 titles published in all 24 states west of the Mississippi River, plus a number of titles published east of the Mississippi for valuable political and economic context.
    • Early American Newspapers, Series 14, 1807-1880, offers digital editions of many of the most notable 19th-century newspapers from America’s urban centers. It delivers long runs of 48 major titles published in 34 towns and cities in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Hispanic American Newspapers 1808-1980
    • One of the largest collections of Spanish language newspapers printed in the United States from the 19th-20th centuries. With several bilingual titles available, this is a great opportunity for researchers looking at Hispanic identity and voices.
  • Washington Evening Star (1852-1981)
    • Until its demise in 1981, The Evening Star was universally regarded as the “paper of record” for the nation’s capital. Published under such titles as Washington Star-News and The Washington Star, this long-running daily afternoon paper was one of the highest profile publications in the nation. Founded in 1852, by the 1930s its coverage of national politics–including the daily activities of every branch of government–made it the nation’s number one paper in advertising revenue.

Access to these collections will be available until 30th May 2020. 

If you have any questions about the collections listed above, or would like us to consider purchasing a particular online primary resource, email

How to access electronic resources away from Oxford

(Cross-posted to the Resources blog)

If you’re going to be away from Oxford over the Christmas vacation, you can still access library electronic resources even when not connected to the University network.   There are two ways to do this.  One is to sign up for a remote access account with OUCS and install VPN (Virtual Private Network) software on your computer, but if that seems fiddly (or you’ve already left Oxford and not sorted that out), library resources are still accessible to you without it.   All you need to do is sign in on SOLO or OxLIP+ using your University single sign-on account, and then click through to the resource you’re looking for – it will know who you are and grant you access as a University member. Now you can enjoy uninterrupted research, no matter where you are!

Remote access, OxLIP+ and ILL charges

Various things to update you all on now we’re into August:

  • Remote Access: Athens will no longer work to allow access to electronic resources from outside the University. Instead resources will require you to authenticate using your Oxford single sign-on (the same as your webmail username and password). The best way to do this (without VPN) is to log in via the new OxLIP+ interface (from where you can also click through to OU ejournals). For more information, see the OULS remote access page.
  • OxLIP+: This is the new interface to electronic resources, currently in beta launch. As well as access to all the resources, it includes some cross-searching facilities and personalised features (My Research). It can be accessed via:
  • Inter-library loan charges have increased to £4.00 per request (£12.00 for international requests).

Remote access to electronic resources

A message from OULS:

The Library Services currently recommend that readers download the VPN (Virtual Private Network) software to enable access to resources when off-campus. Step by step instructions are at:

Many databases have also been available through an Athens username, but this service will terminate at the end of July 2008. Most database suppliers will be offering an institutional log-in using the Oxford Single Sign-On instead (this is the same as your WebAuth or Herald userid and password). A small number of databases will initially not work with SSO access; these will continue to be available through the VPN. You can check the remote access arrangements for each specific database from OxLIP. For information about the Oxford Single Sign-On see

We are working to develop a new portal service which will make it much simpler to use the Oxford SSO for remote access to electronic resources. Please follow progress on the OULS website at

A few resources (e.g. ZETOC) use Athens for personalised services such as alerts. These will have to be either migrated or cancelled and reinstated. For advice on access to legal databases please contact the law librarians.

If you have any concerns or would like more information please email
The links given here should give you all the information you need and, in addition, a WISER session has been arranged on Remote access on Wednesday 11th June 12.30-1.30 at OUCS – to book see: