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Testing History: COVID-19


With our library sites and reading rooms operating with reduced capacity, the Bodleian Libraries are working hard to make it possible to keep the University reading.

While our physical services are still limited, we are continuing to provide, and expanding, our digital services. Students and scholars can take advantage of a wide range online resources that can be accessed offsite. Readers can also get support and advice through our Live Chat and enquiries service.

The History Faculty Library (HFL) books currently on loan for the winter vacation will be due on 29th April, and no fines will accrue over this period. A limited Inter-Library Loan (ILL) service is still available: electronic delivery is now free of charge, although physical ILL is suspended.

Please visit the Bodleian Libraries website and library social media channels for regular updates.

#KeepOxfordReading #KeepHistoriansReading

Tips finding eresources - Citing eresourcesYour HFL loans - Help




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New ebooks

Tips how to locating digital resources and ebooks

Whilst libraries are closed in amidst the COVID-19 crisis, here are some tips for finding digital resources and ebooks:

  1. Search SOLO. We have 118,000 eJournals and 1.49 million eBooks available for use 24/7. Lots of them will be for History. Many publishers have allowed free or improved access to ebooks during this emergency period. A full listing is available on the ebooks LibGuide and is being updated as new resources are added. 
  2. Looking for relevant journal articles? Use bibliographical databases such as Historical Abstracts, Bibliography of British and Irish History, International Medieval Bibliography. > more
  3. Check out Databases A-Z for hundreds of databases, mostly full-text source materials, including early printed ebooks. Keep an eye on the New / Trial Databases section of the A-Z page for the most recent resources being made available. LibGuides for your subject can also be useful in highlighting key resources.
  4. Search the Internet Archive for digitised largely 19th century publications. Google Books or Gutenberg Project can also help.
  5. Search ORA (Oxford's institutional repository). List of UK HE institutional repositories.
  6. If you can’t find a book available as an e-book, then we may be able to purchase one, if it’s available. Complete the book recommendation form.
  7. Check out the LibGuide for details of our online newpaper resources.
  8. Digital Libraries, e.g. Digital.Bodleian with over 900,000 images of c 16,000 archival and rare books items. Also Europeana, DPLA (US), Gallica (France), DDB (Germany).
  9. Check the IHR guide to Open and Free Access Materials for Research.
  10. Check the HFL Diigo for access to 1000+ history free web resources.
  11. Box of Broadcasts is a huge archive of off-air recordings from television and radio, which you can access via the Databases A-Z platform.


Besides the large collection of online book and article material, there are other resources you can use:

  1. Book reviews, for grasping the content of inaccessible books. You can find a selection of these on SOLO (use the Resource type facet on the left-hand menu and select Reviews), Reviews in History and scholarly sites such as H-NET.
  2. Publishers’ websites can also sometimes be helpful for more recently published material.
  3. Google a book or book chapter in case it is available in another University’s institutional repository or on the social media site of the author.
  4. Digitised theses which were later published as books. SOLO will list any digitised Oxford theses. Otherwise try ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global (SSO required) and ETHos.
  5. Google other items to find extracts, chat, reviews, etc.

This is a growing list of resources and will be updated as new information becomes available. Thanks go to the History Faculty for providing many of these tips.

Above all, please don’t hesitate to contact library staff. We are here to help you in this difficult time

Please look after yourselves and stay safe.

Guidance on borrowed books & returning them

All current History Faculty Library vacation loans will be due back on 29 April 2021 (Thurs week 1), and no fines will accrue on any books during this period. For books which were overdue from earlier in the year, only charges accrued before the library closure in March 2020 will be payable. For any queries about your loans, do get in touch with us at

If you are outside of Oxford and need to return your books, you can find information about Bodleian Libraries drop-off hubs and postal returns service here:

Citing ebooks & eresources

Not sure how to cite ebooks and eresources?

  • Consult the Ebooks LibGuide for instructions on how to cite ebooks.
  • The database Cite Them Right allows you to test how to cite a variety of resources, many of them electronic such as ebooks and websites, according to your preferred citation style.
  • This useful handbook covers multiple citation styles and is available as an ebook: The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism by Colin Neville (Open University Press, 2010).

If you’re not sure which citation style to use, check your Faculty or Departmental Handbook, or contact your tutor for advice.


Please don't hesitate to contact library staff. We are here to help you in this difficult time. Here is how you can get in touch with us:

Live Chat for general enquiries. Staffed 9am-7pm Monday to Friday and 10am-7pm on weekends.

Email for general enquiries and when Live Chat is offline.

Email for any questions re history resources or history ebooks.

Contact us on Twitter @HFLOxford.

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