Social Science Library for course convenors

Nine purple chairs surrounding a white desk in a room

Support and services

We look forward to working with you in meeting the information resource needs of your students.

Reading lists

Please read the Effective Reading Lists Guidelines (PDF, 135 KB). We are pleased to support 45 taught degree programmes and over 250 individual options. Working from reading lists supplied by the departments, library staff check the existing resources (print and electronic) and purchase additional resources for the students enrolled on each course.

Please send us your reading list, or publish it on ORLO, at least six weeks before the start of teaching. We can then check there are adequate numbers of books and other resources available for your students. Please also indicate which items are core reading and the expected number of students taking the course. If your department uses ORLO, please read our guidelines on Department and Library Responsibilities (PDF, 152 KB).

We maximize the availability of reading list items by providing online versions (when available), reference-only copies, multiple lending copies, short loan periods and copyright-cleared scans via ORLO.

As a rule, the library provides an e-book (when available) or two copies (one 'Library Use Only' and one available for borrowing) of every new text on a supported reading list. Exceptions are made for optional papers with low student numbers, or where provision for a list is shared with another library. We usually purchase additional lending copies of core texts at a ratio of one copy for every ten students taking the course. We use reports from the Library Management System to monitor collection use and respond to high demand.

Scanned chapters for ORLO reading lists

We recommend that you request scanned chapters (digitised versions of book chapters and articles) via your ORLO reading list at least 2 weeks in advance.

We may not always be able to fulfil your request due to copyright and licencing conditions. If we cannot complete your request we will let you know why and try to find alternatives.

Other services

Workshops and training

Workshops covering finding and using key online resources, techniques for structuring searches, referencing and plagiarism, etc, can be embedded in departmental course timetables. Please contact your subject librarian to arrange a training session for your students.

Discussion rooms

The SSL has a number of discussion rooms, which can be booked by teaching staff.

Supported departments

The SSL is a hub for the social sciences and supports the departments listed below. Find out more about subject resources.


  • Department of Economics
  • Oxford Department of International Development
  • Department of Politics and International Relations
  • Department of Sociology
  • Department of Social Policy and Intervention
  • Centre for Criminology
  • Centre for Socio-Legal Studies
  • Blavatnik School of Government
  • School of Geography and the Environment 


  • Centre for African Studies
  • South Asian Studies Centre
  • Russian and East European Studies Centre
  • Oxford Internet Institute  
  • School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography