Digital libraries

The Bodleian Digital Library Systems and Services (BDLSS) provides integrated IT-related services, systems and development for many of the libraries at the University of Oxford. BDLSS supports SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online), the principal library system for over 100 Oxford libraries, serving as a union catalogue of c.7 million bibliographic and more than 13 million item records. With respect to the University’s large collection of scholarly electronic resources (bibliographic databases and electronic journals), BDLSS provides the platforms and interfaces to make them accessible to all of the Universities’ libraries and remotely to users’ desktops.

BDLSS also hosts the Oxford University Research Archive (ORA) — an online collection of research publications by scholars at the University of Oxford. It contains freely available copies of journal articles, conference papers and posters, reports, and working and discussion papers. It also contains digital copies of doctoral research theses by students of the University. ORA enables researchers to maximize the visibility of their research.

Through an ongoing, dynamic digital library development programme, BDLSS is currently expanding its offer of projects and services. We often work in collaboration with scholars and librarians at Oxford and around the world on the most pressing issues facing researchers in the digital age including digital preservation and the capture and delivery of digital research data. We also have an active digitization programme that aims to make some of the Bodleian’s rare materials available for learning, teaching, and research around the world.

A Selection of Projects and Services

For a more complete list, please visit BDLSS's services and current projects pages.


  • Oxford University Research Archive (ORA) An online store of research publications by scholars at the University of Oxford. It contains freely available copies of works such as journal articles, conference papers and posters, reports, and working and discussion papers, as well as digital copies of doctoral research theses by students of the University.
  • ORA-Data The Bodleian Libraries' archival store for research data. The first stage of development of ORA-Data is complete, and further development continues.


  • What's the Score at the Bodleian? This project aims to use crowd-sourcing to add descriptive metadata to the Bodleian's collection Victorian music scores. The Bodleian Libraries are enlisting the help of the public in this experimental project to help improve access to parts of their music collections. A selection of unbound and uncatalogued piano sheet music from the mid-Victorian period has been digitised and people are asked to submit descriptions of the scores by transcribing the information they see. This will help to make them more readily discoverable online.
  • Early Modern Letters Online Created by the Cultures of Knowledge project with generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Early Modern Letters Online — EMLO — is a combined finding aid and editorial interface for basic descriptions of early modern correspondence. This public prototype combines calendars of eight contributing collections. However, with the continuing addition of metadata on letters — manuscript, printed, and digital — by other individuals, projects, and repositories, EMLO aims to become the first freely available union catalogue of these often elusive documents.
  • EEBO-TCP The Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership (EEBO-TCP) is a collaboration between the Bodleian and the University of Michigan that produces highly accurate, fully-searchable, SGML/XML-encoded texts of early English books. Phase I of text production, funded in the UK by JISC, created 25,363 searchable texts and ran at the Bodleian from 2001 to 2009. The project has now moved into Phase II, supported by JISC Collections, and is working to complete a corpus of around 70,000 texts – one copy of every unique title printed in English between 1473 and 1700.

Digitization at the Bodleian Libraries

'People can search things that weren’t searchable. You can start to allow access to the object that changes the kinds of research questions somebody could ask.'

An eye-opening look at how and why the digitization of old materials is so much more than just taking photographs, and how it opens up whole new fields of research.


Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School

'The Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School is an excellent opportunity to develop your understanding of what digital can do to the humanities or to your particular aims not only to educate its participants, but also to inspire them to take these ideas away and apply them in their own research.'

The Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School (DHOxSS) is an annual training event at the University of Oxford. It is open to researchers, project managers, research assistants, students, and anyone interested in Digital Humanities. DHOxSS delegates are introduced to a range of topics including the creation, management, analysis, modelling, visualization, or publication of digital data for the humanities.

DHOxSS is a collaboration for Digital Humanities at Oxford between the University of Oxford's IT Services, the Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC), the Bodleian Libraries, the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities.

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