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SOLO - Search Oxford Libraries Online (Classic): Basics

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What is SOLO and what does it cover?

What is SOLO and what does it cover?

SOLO is the catalogue of  the major collections of the libraries of the University of Oxford.  It covers:

  • the holdings of the majority of libraries within the University of Oxford including the Bodleian Libraries and most College and Departmental Libraries (e.g. books, journals, theses, audio-visual materials, maps, music, official and government papers and other items held in libraries)
  • The University's collections of e-books, e-journals and databases and materials which the  Bodleian Libraries receive via electronic Legal Deposit (eLD)
  • Research papers and theses by members of Oxford University that are deposited in the Oxford Research Archive (ORA)

It does not cover:

  • Most of the Bodleian Libraries' manuscript and archive collections
  • the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera

> Find out more about the coverage of SOLO.

Accessing SOLO and signing in with your password

To access SOLO go to  

SOLO is publicly available and you do not need a password to search it.  However, you will need to sign in to SOLO in order to:

  • request items from closed stacks or reserve an item which is out on loan
  • renew your books and view your loans, fines and other patron details
  • view the full range of items available via the Articles & More search
  • add items to your personal SOLO e-shelf and save searches

Sign in options are in the top right hand corner of the screen.  Current members of Oxford University should sign in using their “Oxford Single Sign on” (SSO).  Other members of  Bodleian Libraries should choose “non-Oxford Members” and sign in using their Library card username and password.   >More information about signing in and passwords

Screen shot showing SOLO sign in

Searching and Finding items in SOLO - Options and Tabs

SOLO has three different search tabs:

  • Oxford collections searches Oxford Libraries' collections including both electronic and printed books, journals, databases, maps, conference proceedings, music scores, official and government papers and other items held in Oxford Libraries or to which Oxford has online access.    It is the best tab to choose is you want to find items that are available in Oxford in print and online. 
  • Articles & More searches a large selection of electronic journal articles but does not cover all journals held by Oxford University. It offers a quick and easy search for journal articles. However, it is not comprehensive.
  • Search everything searches both Oxford Collections and Articles & More.

Screen shot showing tabs

Searching SOLO using the standard (or simple) search screen

The easiest way to search SOLO is to enter title keywords and/or author names

screen shot showing basic author/title search

As well as author and title you may also enter other bibliographic details such as editor, translator, publisher or publication date.   However, you should NOT enter the edition statement (e.g. 2nd ed).

If you are not sure of a spelling you can replace a letter or number with a ?  e.g.   Gr?y  finds Grey and Gray.   

You can also use the symbol * at the end of a word to find alternative word endings e.g.  child* finds child, children, childish, childishly etc.

Screen shot showing truncation and wild card symbols
Using “limit your search” drop down menus

When you are searching for common names or titles, or if you are searching for non-book items such as audio-visual items, theses or music scores, it is useful to use the drop down menus beneath the search box to limit your search

  • The 1st drop down specifies the type of item e.g.  “audio visual”, “scores” etc. It is particularly useful if you are looking for non-book items
  • The 2nd drop down allows you to specify that you wish to search for an exact phrase or for titles which start with particular words. These are particularly powerful if you are searching by title and getting too many results
  • The 3rd drop down menu allows you to specify that your search terms must appear in a particular field (e.g.  “in the title”,  “as author” etc).  This is particularly useful when you are looking for works by a famous author and wish to exclude works about them

SOLO screen show showing drop down menus for limiting your search

>see examples of the drop down menus being used.

You may also limit your search to a particular library or to online resources only using the menu next to the search box.    In addition, this menu allows you to limit your search to open shelf collections which is useful if you want to avoid items which have to be ordered from the book stack (for example because you need an item quickly).

Screen shot of libraries drop down menu

Refining your search by online/physical only, date, topic, creator or collection

SOLO screen shot showing refine optionsOnce you have performed a search, use the options that run down the left of the screen to refine your results.

If you want to restrict your search to electronic (or print) items only use the Show only Online Resources or Physical Items options at the top.

To see the most recent items only use the Date option.

You can also refine by Topic, LibraryCreator (author) or Collection.

The Refine Further button gives you a full list of options and also allows you to specify criteria which should be excluded from your results.   However, you are advised to avoid using the Exclude option when refining by Library.  This is because when you Exclude a library you may remove items from your results list which are held in other libraries which you wished to include in your results. (For example, if you choose to include items from the English Faculty Library and to exclude items from the Bodleian Library, items which are held in both the English Faculty Library and the Bodleian will be excluded). You are therefore advised to avoid using Exclude. 

>Learn more about refining searches.

Viewing and choosing different versions of a work

When SOLO finds different “versions” of the same work (e.g.  different editions of the same work or printed and electronic copies) it attempts to group them together.   To see the individual works click View all n versions.Screen shot showing SOLO versions

If you are looking for the most recent (or oldest) edition of a text use the Sort by option and select Date-newest (or date-oldest)

However, if you wish to find an edition by a specific editor/translator or from a particular publisher or date, first ensure that you have included the details (for example the editor's name or date) in the search.   Then, when looking at your results, make sure that the sort order is set to Relevance. This will ensure that the correct item is at the top of your results.

Screen sjot showing sort options

Advanced Search

The Advanced Search includes additional options to facilitate searching by publisher, place of publication, publication date or in copy specific notes (i.e. notes which relate to a specific copy of a book such as details of its provenance, annotations or other notes).  It is particularly useful if you are searching for rare or early printed books.

Don't forget that you can use the symbol ? to replace a letter or number. This can be useful when searching by publication date e.g. 16?? will find anything with a publication date between 1600-1699.  In addition, the symbol * can be used to replace any number of letters or numbers at the end of a word e.g. Sim* will find Sim, Simmes, Simon etc. > Find out more about searching for early printed books

The Advanced search also allows you to limit your search by date range or language.

Scren shot of advanced search

Browsing A-Z indexes of Authors, Titles & Subjects

Browse Search allows you to look through A-Z lists of authors, titles or subjects.  Please note that although the A-Zs include physical library materials, e-journals and e-books they do not include the databases indexed in OxLIP+ or papers and theses indexed in the Oxford Research Archive (ORA).

Browsing by author can be particularly useful if you want to find all of the works held by a particular author, as it will pick up variants of the author's name.   

Subject browsing can be very useful way of exploring a topic

When browsing:

  • Enter the author's surname first, e g Shakespeare, William. 
  • You may also use the author browse to search for organisations e.g. University of Oxford.
  • When browsing by title omit any initial article i.e. where the first word of the title is "the", "a", "an" (or their equivalents) this should be omitted

>Find out more about browsing SOLO

Screen shot of browsing by subject

Searching for journals and journal articles

You can search for journal articles using the Oxford Collections tab or the Articles & more tab. Please note:

Oxford Collections is the most comprehensive option for searching for journals but must be searched by journal title (not by article title or author).

For example if you were searching for the article "Geophysical evidence for melt in the deep lunar interior" by Khan in the Journal of Geophysical Research, you would first have to search SOLO Oxford Collections for Journal of Geophysical Research.  Once you had found the journal you would then perform a separate search to find the Khan article

SOLO screen shot showing searching by journal title in Oxford Collections

Articles & More searches a selection of journal articles but is far from comprehensive. It is best searched by article title/author or keywords.

For example if searching for the article "Geophysical evidence for melt in the deep lunar interior" by Khan in the Journal of Geophysical Research, it would be best to search for keywords from the title and the authors name e.g. geophysical evidence for melt in the deep lunar interior Khan
SOLO searching for articles in Articles and more

> Find out more about searching for journals and articles (includes option of a video tutorial)

Searching for specialist items

Please consult the following specialist guides for information on searching for:

Choosing physical and electronic copies

In you results you will see both printed and online items.

Printed (or other physical items) have a Find and Request option.  Click Find and Request to find out which libraries have a copy, to check availability and, if necessary, to order the item from closed stacks or reserve it.

Online items have a View Online option. Click on View Online to connect to the text.

Screen shot showing print or online options

If you only wish to restrict your search to printed (or online) versions only use the options at the top of the left hand column to choose Show only Online Resources or Physical Items.

Finding out which libraries hold a physical/printed book

To find out which Libraries hold an item choose Find & Request. Then click the + sign next to each library to check availability and to see the shelfmark.   

Sceen shot showing find and request process

Ordering items from the "closed stack"

Some items are kept in closed stacks which you will not be able to access yourself.    Where this is the case you will need to place an order for the item to be delivered to a reading room or library for you.  To do this:

1. Sign in to SOLO (see signing on to SOLO for information about usernames and passwords)

2. Click Hold next to the item you wish to order

SOLO screen shot showing placing a hold for a closed stack item

3.  You will be prompted to choose a pickup / delivery location from the drop down list of Libraries and Reading Rooms. (Note - In most cases you will not be able to borrow items ordered from the stack, so you will need to read the item in which ever library or reading room your choose).  You do not need to enter the author, volume, title or any notes.

4.  You can track the progress of your Holds by choosing MyAccount (top right) followed by Requests

5.  When the item has arrived you will receive an email from the Library informing you that it is available.  Please collect it from the reserve desk (ask a member of library staff if you are not sure where that is).     Note - Once the item has arrived it will be listed in the MyAccount section of SOLO under Loans and will have a Due Date (even though in most cases you will not be able to remove it from the Library). If you wish to continue to consult the item after the due date please use the Renew option. 

>Find out more about ordering items from the closed stack including maximum number of items requested and check delivery times.

Reserving a book (or other item) which is out to another reader

If an item is out on loan to another reader (indicated by a date in the status column) you may reserve it by placing a Hold.  This will ensure that the book is kept for you when it is returned to the Library. In addition, the reader who currently has the item will not be able to renew it.

Unfortunately, you may not reserve an item which is available in the library.

Placing a hold to reserve a book is identical to placing a hold for a book from the closed stacks (see instructions above), except that you will not be able to choose a delivery or pick up location.

>Find out more about reserving items (including video option)

Connecting to an e-book

To access an e-book or e-journal click “View online”. 

Screen shot of SOLO e-books view online button

In nearly all cases you will then be taken directly to the e-book.  The functionality available to you within the e-book will vary depending on the supplier and format. For guidance in this area please see the e-books guide. 

Connecting to an e-journal

To connect to an e-journal

  • Click View Online
  • You will be taken to the “Find it@Oxford” window where you will see a list of one or more databases that hold the journal. 
  • Check the date range shown beneath each database carefully before clicking on the title to connect.

Screen shot showing checking date on the SFX window

> Find out more about searching for and connecting to journals and articles in print and online (includes a video tutorial option)

Accessing restricted items and electronic Legal Deposit

You may find items with a notice stating "Online access is restricted: available via Bodleian Libraries Reading Room PCs only". e.g.

SOLO screen shot showing electronic legal deposit restriction notice

These items are received through Legal Deposit legislation, which entitles the Bodleian Libraries to receive a copy of every item published in the UK & Ireland.  The Legal Deposit Act 2003 imposes a number of restrictions on these items including:

  • limiting access to Bodleian Libraries workstations only
  • restricting access to each item to one person at a time
  • prohibiting digital copying and saving including copying and pasting

Many electronic Legal Deposit items are also available as regular e-journals/ e-books which are subject to fewer restrictions.   Click How else can I get this? to find an alternative copy.      

SOLO screen shot showing "how else can I get this" option for electronic legal deposit items

>Find our more about electronic Legal Deposit and how to find alternative copies with fewer restrictions (includes video tutorial option)

Rewewing your books

1.  To renew you books first Sign in to SOLO using the options in the top right hand corner (for more information see signing on to SOLO for information about usernames and passwords)

2. Choose My Account (top right) 

3. Choose Loans on the left.

4.  You will see a list of your current loans in the body of the screen. Click Renew All to renew all of your books. Alternatively, to renew selected items use the tick boxes to the left of each item and then choose Renew Selected.

In most cases when you click renew you will see an on screen message reading renew successful.  Occasionally your renewal will fail and you will see the message renew not allowed. The most common reasons for a renewal failing are:

  • the item has reached its maximum number of renewals
  • the item has been held (reserved) by another reader
  • you have a fine of £10 or more on your record.

If you need help with a renewal or your renewal has failed please contact the Library from which you borrowed the item.

Other SOLO services: Scan & Deliver / Exporting, Saving and Printing / Alerts & RSS feeds

SOLO offers a number of other services and facilities including:

  • The Scan and Deliver service enables you to order a scanned copy of a journal article or part of a book >find out more about Scan and Deliver
  • SOLO Export options (and the SOLO eshelf) allow you to export items to Endnote, RefWorks and to other reference mangement packages, to email items to yourself or to print items > Read more about exporting, saving and printing
  • SOLO Save Search and RSS feeds allow you to keep up to date with new items which are added to SOLO in your research area via email alerts or RSS feed. >Read more about saving searches, alerts and RSS feeds