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English Literature for Continuing Education: Free online resources

Online texts

Many of the classics are out of copyright, so texts are freely available. Try some of the following sites:

Public Library resources

Reference material

Most public library authorities give members access to a range of online reference material. You can access much of this at home using your public library card.

Oxfordshire's Reference Online resources include:

  • British Library Newspapers Collection (nineteenth century Britian)
  • Litfinder world literature collection
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  • Oxford English Dictionary
  • Oxford Reference Online (a collection of OUP reference works)
  • Times Digital Archive 1785-1985

Other public library services will provide similar resources. Find your local library service on the UK.Gov website

Journal articles

Access to Research logoAccess to Research is an initiative which provides free access to academic e-journals in public libraries. Note that you cannot access them at home, only in libraries. You can find a full list of participating libraries as well as information about the journals included on the Access to Research website

Finding open access resources on SOLO

There are some ‘open access’ digital resources which you can explore on SOLO. These are password free and you don’t need to sign in to use them.

To search SOLO for open access resources, first enter your search terms and click the magnifying glass.

On the results page, look at the options under "Show only" on the left and choose Open Access. You can further refine your results by selecting or excluding options under Resource type.

Digitized books on SOLO

The results of a search on SOLO may include digitized copies. 

Digitized copies are scans of print books which are out of copyright, produced as part of the Oxford Google Books Project. They are freely available online.

Digitized books on SOLO show options for both "Find & Request" and "Online Access" on the same record. 

To search SOLO for Digitized books, first enter your search terms and click the magnifying glass. Looking at the "Sort & Filter" menu on the left, scroll down until you see the section headed "Collection". Click "Collection" to open the menu and select "Digitized copies"  

General Literature sites

Here is a selection of sites to get you started

Evaluating internet resources

There's lots of good quality information freely available on the internet, but there is also a lot of rubbish!  It can be quite difficult to judge the quality of the information.

This page introduces some suggestions for finding good quality, freely available information.

If you are interested in finding out more about searching and evaluating information on the internet in general, try:

Access articles with MyJSTOR

JSTOR offers a service called MyJSTOR, which allows you online access to six articles per month from home. Anyone can register for a free account at

MyJSTOR is provided in addition to the access already given by the University's subscription. If you would like to read more than six articles per month, you can access all of the university's online resources, including JSTOR, from library computers. If you have a Single Sign On, you can also access JSTOR and other resources from home by logging in.

Sesame Project

The Sesame Project supports students on weekly classes at the Department of Continuing Education. Tutors in the Department have created and selected resources relevant  for their courses and made these available via the website Though selected with a particular course in mind, these resources may be useful to all students in the subject area.

To find relevant resources, look under "English Literature", "English Literature by author", "English Literature by period" or "English Literature by topic" in Subjects.