If you are new to the library, learn how to get started quickly.
Search SOLO to locate a book in an Oxford library.
Online resources (ebooks & ejournals)
The History Librarian regularly posts news about new collections, databases, events, etc. to the HFL Blog where you can sign up to the mailing list.
Details of new books received in the Bodleian Library and History Faculty Library are logged on our LibraryThing page. If you use RSS feeds, then you can sign up to a number of new book alerts. More on New Acquisitions.
Useful library services
Order from the closed book stack A large amount of library material in is held in closed stacks, which can be located on library premises or offsite. The largest closed stack is the Book Storage Facility (BSF)in Swindon which holds 8 million items.
Scan & Deliver Instead of requesting the physical item to a reading room, you can request scans of sections direct to your desktop.
Inter-Library Loan Useful if need a book or article to be sent from another UK or international library.
Imaging Services Useful if you need high-quality photographic prints, paper prints and digital files within the Bodleian Libraries.
Book the History Librarian For complex or research enquiries relating to History and historical sources, individuals can book a one-to-one session. Sessions can be used to discuss and solve library-related problems, explore printed and e-resources and library services, and improve information searching skills, etc.
Training courses. A variety of sessions cover topics relating to searching SOLO, literature searching, citation management and use of electronic resources.
Guide to open shelf collections for historians
Get an overview of key printed source materials, key reference works and local history society series which are on the open shelves in the Bodleian Library.
Check out guides to history collections for some ideas for sources.
Browse printed sources
British & Western European history
The Upper Reading Room in the Old Bodleian Library houses the open-shelf collections for British and Western European history (medieval to 20th century). They will include printed sources, often transcribed from manuscripts, such as chronicles, individuals and family papers, papers of monasteries, statesmen, etc. It's well worth a browse to get some ideas. Browse anything in the shelfmark range K.3-10.
English local history
The Duke Humfrey's Library in the Old Bodleian Library houses the open-shelf collections for local history. They are often fantastic source materials relevant for all periods but particularly medieval and early modern. Browse anything in the shelfmark range R.Top.
Other countries (US, Africa, Commonwealth, Middle East, Far East)
If you are interested in the histories of other countries or topics, check out the list of college and Oxford libraries useful for historians.
Access to special collections
You will be using libraries and possibly archives to locate sources and critical materials, whether locally or elsewhere, so it is worthwhile honing your search skills and learning about useful finding aids, etc. There is usually a choice of training sessions.
If you are an MSt student and you are going to be using the manuscripts and rare books collections of the Bodleian Library, then check that your card gives you access to Special Collections. If you have an S card, you will need to get your card upgraded.
Using the British Library (BL)
Consider using Britain's national library, the British Library nr St Pancras in London. You can search their catalogue online (Explore The BL). The BL have many databases which are not available in Oxford. Check out the HFL tips on how to get started at the BL.
Faculty guidance on the presentation of essays, dissertations and thesis
It pays to learn early on what style conventions the History Faculty requires and what tools to use to collate and organise your citations.
Reference Management Software
Constructing a bibliography? Don't let the citations overwhelm you. There are tools to help. See the Managing Your References LibGuide.
Getting support from the libraries
The Information Fair, usually held in week 3 of Michaelmas Term, is a good starting point to get to know what collections, archivists and library staff are available to you locally.
Throughout the year, training courses in managing citations, use of electronic resources, etc. are offered.
Library staff are very happy to help you with literature searches, finding source materials, use library catalogues, databases, ejournals, etc. You can contact us in a variety of ways. You can also arrange a one-to-one session with the History Librarian (e: firstname.lastname@example.org, t: (01865) 277294).
Depositing your thesis
Finally, if you are a DPhil, MLitt or MSc student you will need to deposit your thesis electronically in ORA (Oxford Research Archive) as well as the hardcopy. Check out ORA's Oxford eTheses instructions.
Open Access (OA)
The University of Oxford academic community is strongly committed to ensuring the widest possible access to its research. Learn more about OA, what it is, how it works and what it means for you on the Open Access Oxford website.
Check out Open Access for Historians which includes a list of journals' self-depositing policies.
- COPAC - search over 70 UK and Irish academic, national and specialist library catalogues (includes the British Library)
- Explore the British Library - search the catalogue, incl. newspaper catalogue of Britain's national library
- WorldCat - major union library catalogue with details of hundreds of US and international library catalogues, incl. Library of Congress
- Karlsruhe Virtual Catalogue - German libraries but also European national library catalogues in a single search
Dissertations & theses
- Introduction to Oxford theses in Oxford
- ProQuest Dissertations and Theses UK and Ireland
- Proquest Dissertations & Theses: The Humanities and Social Sciences Collection (full-text) - -indexes largely US dissertations accepted since 1861; full-text for most since 1997.
- British Library EThOS - Search and order theses online
Finding journal articles
- America: History & Life - indexed publications relating to US and North American history
- Bibliography of British and Irish History - indexes publications and source editions relating to British, Irish and colonial British history
- Historical Abstracts - indexes publications and dissertations relating post-1450 history of British, the world but exclude US and North American history (see America: History & Life above)
- International Medieval Bibliography - indexes publications relating to medieval history in Europe and Near East
I want even more information on bibliographical databases.
- Bodleian Special Collections catalogues and finding aids
- Archives Hub - major national search tool for over 220 archives.
- National Archives catalogue
- National Register of Archives - Information on the nature and location of manuscripts and historical records relating to British history.
Printed and electronic source materials
Check out some guides for source materials.