Help for Researchers

Isabel Holowaty

Your Bodleian History Librarian is Isabel Holowaty (t: 01865 277294, e:, office in Upper Reading Room, Old Bodleian Library).

She is responsible for the History Faculty Library (HFL), its collections and services, and for the collections of British & Western European History in the Bodleian Library, including the Upper Reading Room. She also has oversight over the Radcliffe Camera, the Vere Harmsworth Library and the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine Library.

Readers are welcome to get in touch with her or drop in to her office if they have any enquiries, problems or feedback.

Getting started

If you are new to the library, learn how to get started quickly.

Rad Cam ceiling

Catalogue searches

Search SOLO to locate a book in an Oxford library.

Online resources (ebooks & ejournals)

See also more information for finding online resources, such as ebooks and a list of some key history journals.

Keeping up-to-date

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.

Those interested in Twitter and Facebook can also 'follow' and 'like' us in order to receive news items. 

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.

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. 

Information for postholders and tutors 

The official forum for discussion about library provision in History is the Committee for Library Provision & Strategy (CLIPS) in History.  Convenors of existing courses can also contact the History Librarian to discuss concerns about library provision and student feedback, etc.

Thinking of starting or revising a course?

The Bodleian History Librarian attends the History Faculty's Undergraduate Studies Committee. Postholders are encouraged to contact the History Librarian or the HFL Librarian-in-Charge in advance of these meetings to discuss library provision for new or revised History courses (UG and PG).

Get your students started and trained

Do encourage your students to attend training and workshops offered to students in the use of catalogues, databases, e-journals, etc. All sessions are open to staff and students of the University. Regular e-mails advertising courses are sent on the History Faculty's e-mail list. 

The HFL is also able to arrange sessions on demand for individuals or groups. Sessions which could be offered include: advanced catalogue searches, how to best do literature searches, find biographical information, stay up-to-date with research, make best use of electronic resources, useful information sources (reference & online), etc.

Contact the Bodleian History Librarian to discuss what would best suit you and your students.

Want to donate a book?

Bodleian Libraries is fortunate in frequently receiving gifts of scholarly history books from members of the teaching staff of the Faculty and Colleges.

If you consider your donation of individual books to be appropriate for the HFL collection, then please contact the HFL Librarian-in-Charge. For Bodleian Library donations, please contact the History Librarian directly.

The libraries are in general very pleased to receive individual titles but they will, however, reserve the right to dispose of donated books should they no longer be required. We will normally ask whether you would like us to return and/or try to find alternative locations for surplus materials.

Large donations will not be taken without prior consultation.

Managing your research

Bodleian Libraries can help you in your research activities, from managing your citations to providing information about scholarly communications and preparing for the Research Excellence Framework. 

Reference Management Software

Constructing a bibliography? Don't let the citations overwhelm you. There are tools to help. See the Managing Your References LibGuide.

Oxford Research Archive (ORA)

Oxford University supports Oxford Research Archive (ORA) is the local institutional repository for published work and conference papers. 

DPhil, MLitt and MSc students are required to deposit an electronic copy of their thesis into ORA. More on Oxford eTheses and Information for Supervisors.

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.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

In order to be eligible for the next REF, the final peer-reviewed version of journal articles and conference papers (with an ISSN) must be deposited in an open access repository (e.g. ORA) within three months of acceptance for publication. More on the University's Act on Acceptance support.

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