When Sir Thomas Bodley re-founded the University Library at the beginning of the 17th century, he asked that a cabinet be reserved for items that were 'most singular and rare'. One of the Bodleian’s early librarians also requested that the 'strength and flower' of the collections should be kept in a separate space, where it could be shown to visitors.
Over the years, these 'special collections' have grown and we continue to take pride in sharing them. This page highlights just some of the places you can learn more about our collections online and also search our vast library catalogue, SOLO, which supports the work of students and academics across the University of Oxford every day.
Digitized images from the Bodleian Libraries' special collections.
Bodleian Libraries online exhibitions
Digitized versions of content displayed in Bodleian Libraries online exhibitions.
Audio recordings of talks and lectures featuring Bodleian Libraries staff and collections.
Videos starring Bodleian Libraries collections on our YouTube channel.
An aggregated list of blogs kept by library staff in Oxford, providing regularly updated content on a broad range of subjects. Blogs are listed by category, including Libraries & librarians, Special collections & archives, and Research & learning.
Describe our collections
Find out about our crowdsourcing projects increasing access to our special collections.
Library catalogue (SOLO)
SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online) is the catalogue for the major collections of the libraries of the University of Oxford. It can be searched by anyone interested in the resources held by Oxford libraries.