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History of Science, Medicine & Technology - overview: Home & Contacts


Isabel Holowaty, History Librarian
tel: +44 (0)1865 277294

Dr Bethan Jenkins, Librarian-in-Charge
History of Medicine Library
tel: +44 (0)1865 274604

Finding local history books in SOLO

You can find more history of science and medicine books in SOLO with the following suggested subject searches:

Astronomy,  Medieval

Islamic learning and scholarship -- History

Water mills -- England --  History

Microscope and microscopy -- History

Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882 -- Correspondence

Chemists -- France -- Diaries

Relativity (Physics) -- History

Nurses -- Great Britain -- Diaries

Orthopedic surgery -- England -- Oxford -- History -- Sources

More on subject searching:

What resources are available in Oxford?

Check out our guide to resources for History of Science and Medicine.

Use it to

  • find secondary readings (books, journal articles, dissertations)
  • major sources for most periods
  • discover what relevant archives are available in Oxford
  • Listing of important reference works, such as biographical dictionaries

The subject of History of Science, Technology, Mathematics and Medicine is vast, spanning many different disciplines which have evolved over the course of centuries. The policies below outline our selection priorities and the key libraries where material on those subjects is held.

Principal collections

Search SOLO to find useful books, journals and databases for History of Science, Technology and Medicine. Material that is off-site can be requested by using the Hold option in SOLO.

The Upper Reading Room, (Old Bodleian Library) houses a significant open shelf collection for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, covering some ancient history, but otherwise medieval to modern periods. It includes both legal deposit as well as purchased materials in English and European languages. Books in this collection cannot be borrowed.

The History of Medicine Library primarily supports the needs of the University's postgraduate students and researchers in the history of medicine. Its holdings comprise around 7,000 monographs, serials and theses on diverse topics, including UK public health administration, hospitals and hospital movements, and tropical medicine.

The History Faculty Library supports teaching and learning in the History of Science. The Library primarily supports undergraduate courses, but some research material can also be found here. Books in this collection can be borrowed by current staff and students of Oxford University.

The Radcliffe Science Library has particular strengths are in 19th century holdings, as it focused exclusively on science and medicine from 1810. Since 1883 the RSL has received, via legal deposit, a copy of all British scientific publications. Older and less-used material is kept in remote store (listed as "Offsite"), including scientific doctoral theses submitted for degrees at Oxford University. 

The Department of Special Collections in the Bodleian Library has acquired through purchase and donation scientific books and manuscripts from the medieval period to the present day. For the early modern period the Library holds papers of many individuals of note in science and medicine. Modern collections include papers of contemporary scientists, archives of scientific organisations, and the Marconi archives. See also the Guide to Scientific Papers in the Bodleian Library.

The archives and collections of the Museum of the History of Science Library has strong modern and antiquarian holdings in those sciences most involved with instrumentation, particularly astronomy, geometry, optics, chemistry, and physics. Many of their modern print collections were transferred to the Bodleian Library in autumn 2017.

Associated collections

Primary materials relating to the history of specific subjects can also be found in departmental libraries such as these:

Important eResources

All major history of science databases are available online with a full list appearing in Databases A-Z.

For literature searches, use Historical Abstracts, Bibliography of British and Irish History and SCOPUS. Medievalists can also find publications in the Medieval and Early Modern Bibliographies.

Major science and history journals are available via Oxford University e-Journals.

The History of Science and Medicine subject guide on the History Faculty Library website provides more information about suitable e-resources, services and training.