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History: Research training for historians

An overview of guides to History collections in Oxford.

Never Stop Learning - Image by geraltThis page is intended for Undergraduates, Graduates and Researchers studying History at the University of Oxford, although students and researchers from related fields may find it useful.

Use this page to find out about information skills resources and courses relevant to History and allied fields. These may be courses offered locally or outside Oxford, most notably the Institute of Historical Research, The British Library, The National Archives (TNA).


History students and research can make use of a wide range of information skills courses, workshops and events.

History Faculty Library training for historians

Radcliffe Camera staff offer tailored courses and events to historians. They include:

  • Library inductions & tours
  • Research Skills for your Thesis
  • Thesis / Research Fairs
  • 1-1 sessions with specialists
  • Act-on-Acceptance and Open Access

Bodleian iSkills - Workshops in Information Discovery & Scholarly Communications

This programme is designed to help you to make effective use of scholarly materials. We cover

  • Information discovery and searching for scholarly materials
  • Endnote, RefWorks, Zotero and Mendeley for managing references and formatting footnotes and bibliographies
  • Keeping up to date with new research
  • Measuring research impact
  • Understanding copyright and looking after your intellectual property
  • Open Access publishing and complying with funder mandates for open access
  • Managing your research data

Research Skills Toolkit (for graduates)

These 2 hour workshops introduce key software and online tools for your research, hone your searching and information skills and introduce you to subject specialists.  Some of the topics on offer include

  • Finding articles, papers, conferences and theses
  • Keeping up to date with emerging research
  • Using Endnote to manage your references
  • Finding and manipulating images
  • Finding highly cited journals and measuring research impact

Institute of Historical Research - research training

Institute of Historical Research logoThe Institure of Historical Research, London (IHR) offers high-quality research training programmes to historians.

Each year they run an extensive programme of training in historical research skills for professional historians, independent researchers, and early career scholars.

Courses vary in length from one day to one term, and cover a variety of subjects from language learning to digital research practices.

Need to brush up your Français? Have to learn Deutsch?

The University's Language Centre has a lot to offer for historians wishing to upgrade their language skills or, quite simply, start learning a language. There are several courses for historians, and a variety of regular Languages for All courses for all skill ranges.

They also have a lending library encouraging self-learning with a lot of language learning resources for 180 languages, including books and CDs, a very nice film collection and satellite television available in several languages. They also encourage online learning.

And finally, they have a successful language exchange programme which allows you to speak with native speakers.

British Library Doctoral Open Days

British Library logoHave you just started your PhD? The British Library's Doctoral Open Days are a chance for you to discover the British Library.

Learn about the extent of the Collection: manuscripts, archives, books, maps, visual art, sound recordings, newspapers, zines, stamps, official publications, journals, databases, websites … and more! Spanning over 3,500 years of history, drawn from across the world and covering hundreds of languages, the Library’s Collection is an essential research resource, unique in its size, variety and potential to support scholarship across a wide range of different disciplines and subject areas.

IT skills

IT Services offers a great range of courses which are useful to historians. These include managing images or using Word effectively for your dissertation.



Students and researchers also have access to which is a huge library of online, video based, courses covering a wide range of software and IT related topics.

1-1 with History Librarian

If you would like a one-to-one session to get help on any aspect of library resources and tools (SOLO, databases, ejournals, etc.) and generally get advice and tips for locating sources for British and Western European history, then sign up for a 1-1 session by emailing the History Librarian.

You can find details of Bodleian Libraries' subject specialists online for other areas.

The National Archives (TNA) Postgraduate archival skill training

The National Archives offers are range of information skills training courses aimed specifically at postgraduates. Sessions include:

  • Introduction to archival research
  • Skills and methodology workshops
  • Record workshops

Making Maps: self-teaching resources from the Bodleian Map Department

A huge range of online tutorials and videos are available to support self-teaching in GIS.

There are tutorials for ArcGIS Desktop and QGIS.

More assistance in learning how to find, use or create maps is available from staff in the Bodleian Library's Map Department.