Improving discovery tools, archiving data sets, and collecting non-print Legal Deposit

Seven weeks into being library assistant at St Hugh’s and, if you’ve been following any of my social media posts [see the previous blog post for links] then you’ll know I spend a lot of time with books. One of the great things about the way libraries at Oxford University work is that the Bodleian Libraries are the superstructure that holds everything together.

In the case of the Colleges, they provide the union catalogue SOLO  and online database and journal subscriptions. Library staff at the colleges have access to the wide range of training courses that the Bod runs. So far I’ve done sessions on bibliographic records (a prelude to basic cataloguing), social media for libraries, and reference management software.

We also get invited to “All-Staff” meetings, to get the inside story from Bodley’s Librarian Richard Ovenden about what’s going on behind the scenes. In this post I wanted to mention three examples of digital library projects that might be of interest to Citylis students currently on the Digital Libraries module. They are:


1) Resource Discovery

A major investigative project by the University, sponsored and managed by the Bodleian, the intention is to build something “which will make the task of searching through the riches of the University’s intellectual assets easier and bring them to greater prominence online.” And we all know that includes bibliographic records.

An extensive 88-page report  has been compiled to “scope the work needed to develop an intelligent search and retrieval tool or tools.”

The next stage is using collection-level metadata to visualise the extent of Oxford collections in an “interactive diagram”. We often hear that libraries have excellent metadata but that these data are difficult to obtain, and certainly link to, in an increasingly networked environment. The Resource Discovery project is one institution’s attempt to remedy that and integrate it with indexes of metadata from other sources, with the aim of achieving a step-change in accessibility and, thereby, usability.


2) ORA-Data

The Oxford Research Archive (ORA) is the University’s established repository of theses and publications but its capability has recently been extended to manage datasets. The ORA-Data was launched in early 2015 and is one of a suite of support services designed to help researchers access, create, archive, share, and cite research data. It is also built to hold catalogue records of data archived at subject specialist repositories. More information at these links:

Data Archiving (ORA-Data)



3) Electronic Legal Deposit (eLD)

Finally, the end of 2015 saw over one million electronic articles and more than 41,000 e-books deposited at UK Legal Deposit libraries and made available through SOLO. The focus now moves towards digital maps, then official papers, digital sheet music, grey literature (behind paywalls) and other emerging formats.

More information here:

Electronic/Non-print Legal Deposit [scroll down to this heading]


And that really is a fraction of the digital landscape at the Bodleian. Go and explore!