Oxford's resources | University of Oxford
St Catherine's College Library
(Image credit: Matt Stuart / Oxford University Images).

Oxford's resources

Oxford University offers fantastic resources to support its students.  Some facilities are provided by the colleges, while others are provided centrally, by the University.

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New College library.A student studying in the New College Library.
Oxford University has more than 100 libraries to choose from, as well as an extensive online collection.

Read your key texts...

Whether you’re writing an essay or preparing for an experiment, you’ll be given a reading list to start from. You can find the books you need for this in your college or department, or both.

College libraries are open to everyone in your college. They stock the core materials for your course, and have generous lending arrangements. They are often open 24 hours a day, providing quiet, convenient places to study. The college librarian can help you to find what you need, and in many cases will order books in specially.

...or research a topic in-depth...

When you find something really interesting, Oxford makes it easy to go beyond your reading list and find out more. Most courses offer a chance to write a dissertation or carry out a research project.

Subject librarians are your guides to Oxford’s world-class research collections. They can advise on the latest publications in your field, or on the best databases to search.

The Bodleian Libraries form the UK’s second largest library with more than 11 million volumes on 117 miles of shelves. The Bodleian Library is a legal deposit library, meaning it can claim a copy of any book or journal published in the UK or Ireland. All Oxford students are entitled to use ‘The Bod’ for their research.

...without even leaving your room.

Oxford has an extensive online collection, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This includes databases, books, reference works and the best online journal collection in the UK. These are available to members of the University from anywhere with an internet connection:

  • SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online) – lists all our books and journals, in print and online.
  • OxLIP+ – lists all our databases, electronic reference works and e-journals.
  • LibGuides – research assistance, subject guides and how the Oxford library system works.

(Although, you might want to leave your room.)

Oxford has a mix of old and new libraries, which offer a fantastic range of places to study. Choose from Duke Humfrey’s (built in 1488, and used as the Hogwarts library in the Harry Potter films), the elegant circular Radcliffe Camera, the bright modern Social Science Library, and many more.

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Museums and collections

Oxford has collections of international importance - databanks for research, teaching and study - full of wonderful treasures that anyone can enjoy.

Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean is Britain's oldest public museum and the finest university museum in the world. The collections range from artefacts of the world’s great ancient civilisations from east and west, right up to contemporary art from around the world. The exhibition centre hosts major international exhibitions which will be of interest to all students, and of particular use to students in Ancient and Modern History, Fine Art, History of Art, Archaeology, Classics and Anthropology.


Oxford University Museum of Natural History

The spectacular neo-Gothic architecture of a Grade I listed building houses the University’s geological and zoological specimens. Among its famous specimens are a dodo, the first dinosaur to be scientifically identified, and the swifts in the tower. The Archaeology, Biology and Earth Sciences courses make use of its staff expertise and collections.


Pitt Rivers Museum

Pitt Rivers MuseumView from the Lower Gallery down over the Court of the Pitt Rivers Museum.
The Pitt Rivers is a museum of ethnography and world archaeology, celebrated for its period feel and the density of its displays. Courses that use the museum’s resources include Human Sciences, Archaeology and Anthropology, Geography, Classics, History of Art and Fine Art. In addition to a collection which now numbers over half a million objects, the collection includes extensive photographic and sound archives.


Museum of the History of Science

The world’s oldest purpose-built museum building houses an unrivalled collection of scientific instruments from antiquity to the 20th century. Astrolabes, sundials, quadrants, mathematical and optical instruments and apparatus associated with chemistry, natural philosophy and medicine are displayed, alongside temporary exhibitions. The collections are used in teaching History of Science and History of Art.


Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum

Oxford is the only UK university to have both a Botanic Garden and an extensive Arboretum, with over 5,500 species of plants from all over the world. The collections includes several unique specimens, not in cultivation anywhere else in the world. The gardens and glasshouses at the Botanic Garden, and the exotic collection, meadows, and native woodland at the Arboretum, are perfect for visiting any time of the year. The Botanical Garden and Arboretum are particularly used by students in Biological Sciences.


Bate Collection

The Bate Collection is one of the most magnificent collections of musical instruments in the world. The Bate has more than 2,000 instruments from the Renaissance, through the baroque, classical and romantic periods up to modern times. More than a thousand instruments are on display, by all the most important makers and from pre-eminent collectors. Music and History of Art undergraduates make use of the collection.


IT services

IT Language - info graphicThe university wifi network covers most of central Oxford, including parks and pubs!

Mobile Oxford

Whether you need maps, library books, the next bus, or even collection times at the nearest postbox, Mobile Oxford is here to help.


IT learning programme

You can choose from more than 200 different free or low-cost courses each term. From fundamental skills in the common Office applications through to web design, programming and multimedia, you can find it all.


Podcasts and iTunes U

Public lectures, teaching material, interviews with leading academics – all available to download for free.


Getting started

This webpage will tell you all about what to bring and how to get started with IT at Oxford, as well as how to get help if you need it:


Language Centre

IT Language - info graphicThe Language Centre’s term-time programmes of study offer students a chance to learn a new language or keep up an old one, whatever their degree.

The Language Library has a range of multimedia facilities including text and audio-visual material in over 190 languages.

Daytime (LASR) classes can be started at different times of the year and have priority registration for those with study and research needs.

Evening (OPAL) classes offer a certificate and must be started in October, culminating in an examination and assessed presentation.

Special courses are currently available to students from certain departments.

Courses in academic English are available for international students who would like to improve their English for study purposes while they are here.

The Lambda project provides independent learners of French and German with advice and support.

The Language Library also offers a range of multimedia facilities for independent study, including text and audio-visual material in over 180 languages.

To find out more about language courses and fees see the Language Centre website.

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