A Fourth Week refresher!

Welcome to 4th Week! Time flies at Oxford, but we hope you are all settling in and enjoying being a part of Nuffield College.

Firstly, a big thank you to everyone who came along to the Library Induction in 0th Week – it was lovely to meet so many of you, and we hope you found it useful. However, we know that some of you were unable to attend and are that you are bombarded with information at the beginning of term, so we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few of the less obvious services available to support your research:

Book requests: We’ve had lots of book requests so far this term, but we’re always happy to receive more! If there is something you need for your studies that we don’t have, and you think would be a valuable addition to the Nuffield collection, please fill in the form on the website:


Inter-library loans: This is another great way of getting hold of hard to find items. If the item you want cannot be sourced in Oxford, we can request an inter library loan (ILL) on your behalf. Simply email library-ill@nuffield.ox.ac.uk and we will do our best to track it down! The college is willing to pay for 10 ILLs per academic year per member, though if you think you might need more than that, please email us library-enquiries@nuffield.ox.ac.uk so that we can discuss overall provision for your research needs.

Bodleian iSkills: iskillsThe Bodleian runs a wide range of study skills and research methods courses which are FREE. These great sessions on topics ranging from reference management to research data management can help you learn a new skill or refresh your existing skills before embarking on the next stage of your research. Check out the programme of forthcoming sessions here. Materials from the courses are available online, so if you need a quick refresher, check the libguide, or the specific Social Sciences Research & Skills Training page.

Nuffield Library Research Digest: Clare curates a brilliant monthly research digest, which she circulates by email to college members. It covers the latest research, news, and events from across the social sciences, and also highlights recent library acquisitions. To sign up to receive the next issue, please email clare.kavanagh@nuffield.ox.ac.uk.

Reciprocal borrowing rights: Alongside Nuffield library, the Bodleian, SSL and department libraries, Nuffield members can also use St Antony’s College library. This is part of a reciprocal agreement between the two colleges: you can borrow up to 3 items for a loan period of 1 week so bear it in mind when you are searching for hard to find items. Please email lib.office@sant.ox.ac.uk or phone 01865 274480 if you wish to use the library for study or to borrow from their collection.

Library social media: Last but not least, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and share your tags with us. As well as posting about news, current research and events, the library shares links to college members’ work and publications – so if you have any academic output (articles, book chapters, blog posts, conference presentations etc.) that you want us to share, just let us know!

As ever, if you have any queries, comments or suggestions, please get in touch: chat to us in the library, write us a message on the whiteboard, contact us on social media, or email us. We’re always happy to help.

Tessa, Clare, Ed, and Diana

P.S. If you’re new to Oxford, don’t forget our Oxford collection: guidebooks, history books, and Oxford-related fiction that will help you to get to know the city and its surroundings a little better. Found in the Current Affairs room, it will hopefully inspire you to embark on some non-work related adventures!

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Data and Stata at Nuffield

Working with data is a huge part of the social sciences and something that almost every member of Nuffield does at some stage in their research. Here are a few pointers to help you get started on your data journey here in Oxford.

Bodleian Data Librarybdl

The Bodleian Data Library provides a wide range of research data services for Oxford University students and researchers, with a focus on the social sciences. The services offered include:

  • help to find, access and use social science statistics and data;
  • advice on how to access restricted and sensitive datasets which may not be networked;
  • a data brokering and clearing house service for the acquisition of datasets by research centres;
  • consultancy and training opportunities;
  • alerts to new data sources.

Visit their website to learn more.

Research Data Oxford

With advice on everything from planning your data use, to tools that can help you organise and share your data, to advice on depositing your data in ORA-data, Research Data Oxford is a great website that should be your first port of call for any research data management (RDM) queries.

Nuffield College Library

The library holds a wide range of resources on data use, data management, and support resources for data tools. These can all be found by searching SOLO, and the majority are located in the library basement.

Stata Journal and mailing list

Stata is an integrated statistical software package used by many academics, particularly those in the fields of economics, sociology and politics. Its range of capabilities includes simulations, statistical analysis, custom programming, and publication-ready graphics. Stata is not the only software for this purpose: R and SPSS are among the alternatives, but Stata’s power, flexibility and speed, along with its regular updates, make it a popular choice amongst researchers.

A new version of Stata is released roughly every two years. For each release up until and including version 10, Nuffield College Library has a user’s guide and reference manuals: those copies with a shelf mark of ‘Safe’ are stored in closed access so please ask for them at the enquiry desk. Manuals for version 11 onward are available as PDFs within the software, or are available to download from the Stata website.

Articles about the use of Stata and new user-written commands are published in the quarterly peer-reviewed Stata Journal (print copies are found in the Cole Room at Per S). PDF copies of the journal can also be accessed by Nuffield students and fellows: please email library-serials@nuffield.ox.ac.uk to be added to our internal Stata email list.

Access to Stata will have been provided to you by your department – for help from Oxford IT Services, please follow this link.


If you have questions about any aspect of data, or library resources relating to data, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will be happy to help: library-enquiries@nuffield.ox.ac.uk.

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It’s the long vacation and all loans to Nuffield College members are due back on Monday of 10th week (26/06/17)

  • Please return ALL your books.
  • We will then renew your membership as appropriate for next year.
  • You can re-issue any books that you still need.
  • Enjoy the summer!

Lord Nuffield enjoying a cruise!

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Who uses the archives and why?

Nuffield College Library has a wide variety of archive collections covering a multitude of subjects and an extensive chronology.  From the well-known and well used collections of G.D.H. Cole, Frederick Lindemann (Lord Cherwell), William Cobbett (1762-1835), Nuffield College Social Reconstruction Survey (1941-1955) and Alexander Loveday to some of the lesser known African Trade Unions (1949-1969), Lord Gainford (Joseph Pease, 1860-1943), Lord Mottistone (John Edward Bernard Seely, 1868-1947), Nuffield Trust for the Special Areas (1936-1962) & Francis Ysidro Edgeworth (1845-1926); the collections are truly diverse.

This is also true of the many visitors who come each year to use the archives, along with their subjects of research. Some are academics from close to home such as the London School of Economics and Political Science and Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Exeter, York & London, while others come from academic institutions in Australia, Japan, Italy and the USA. They are investigating matters ranging from the social study of refugee academics in Britain from 1933 to 1941; Albert Einstein’s annual visits to Oxford between 1931 and 1933; tank/armoured vehicle development during World War One; the ‘Fifth Column’ scare in Britain in World War Two; G.D.H. Cole’s relations with Continental socialists before 1930; the history of recycling during World War Two; the history of the political pamphlets of the Socialist Workers Party and its predecessor organisations; corporatism, productivism and economic rationalisation in Great Britain in the first half of the 20th Century; Swing riots in Hampshire in 1830 to name but a few.

The archive collections have also been used in various exhibitions and seminars:

Others visitors are members of the public who are researching their own specific area of interest, such as Reverend David Davies’ dealings with Farmer Hewett in the early 1790s, William Cobbett’s farming and landscape changes on his Botley estates in the early 1800s, the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle to personal family history.

Recently, we were also very excited to welcome some researchers who wanted to look at one of the collections in preparation for a film which begins shooting soon.  More details to follow as they are openly available…..

Some of our researchers have gone on to publish books which specifically refer to and/or acknowledge the archive collections they have used at Nuffield.  These include:

A very recent acquisition has been “The Prof, Churchill and science at war” by Professor Russell W. Burns (Archives.Books.B). Professor Burns used the Cherwell archive extensively during his research into the life of Frederick A Lindemann and he was an extremely courteous and cheerful visitor. His book looks at the major technological advances of the Second World War, thanks largely in part to Lindemann’s influence with Churchill and their desire to use science as a means to secure victory.  His book was sadly published posthumously but carries a lovely acknowledgement “Researching in the library of Nuffield College was ever a pleasure thanks to the splendid assistance provided by the Librarian, Elizabeth Martin, and her assistants“.

The Prof, Churchill and science at war

Lord Cherwell archive, Archives.Books.B

We have had some other lovely feedback from archive visitors, including “Thanks again for all your help, I must say one of the best archives experiences I’ve had!

As an author, I find some academic archives and libraries bureaucratic, obstructive, and downright stuffy. The opposite can be said of the Nuffield. It was helpful, welcoming and accessible

The service and quality of the archives could not have been improved. All excellent. I have been unreservedly pleased with my dealings with the Nuffield College Library archive services. A model in every respect

The staff were timely, professional, knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly. I couldn’t have asked for a more amenable environment to do research

Fantastic service, especially for an external user. Very impressed indeed on all levels: depth of information on web site, promptness of response from staff, quality of materials and knowledge of staff. Thank you!

I am writing to say how impressed I am with Nuffield College Library Archives….. incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, friendly and diligent. I’ve made use of many archives large and small whilst researching for my PhD and I have to say that Nuffield is consistently one of the absolute most helpful archives and I always really appreciate your staff’s brilliant help

For more information or to arrange a visit to any of the collections please visit our archive page or contact library-archives@nuffield.ox.ac.uk 

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You said, we did!

The team at Nuffield College Library are always working to improve the library, ensuring that it is both a physically comfortable space to work in and that the service we provide meets the needs of our readers.


The library whiteboard (which, as you can see, is currently displaying details of our most recent improvements) is a great way to get in touch with us, so if you are ever struck by inspiration, or have a question for us when we’re not in, please write it on the whiteboard and we will get back to you asap.

You said: Please can we subscribe to the New Yorker?

We did: The library now subscribes to the New Yorker magazine. The most recent issue can be found in the magazine rack in the first floor Current Affairs Room – older issues can be found on the shelves in the Small Reading Room, and shelved in the second floor tower room at shelf mark qPer N.

new yorker

You said: Can withdrawn magazines be offered to readers before they are recycled?

We did: Magazines such as Der Spiegel, L’OBS, the London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books are now placed in a box next to the magazine rack when they are first withdrawn – please help yourself!

withdrawn magazines

You said: Some of the reading room furniture is not very comfortable…

We did: The library now has a portable height adjustable desk that can be used to transform our existing tables into standing desks.


We have also invested in some comfy alphabet cushions – please feel free to move the cushions or the desk to wherever you are working within the library (we only ask that you don’t remove them from the library itself). The cushions are also providing a little light relief by acting as brain teasers, as staff and readers try and think of new anagrams from the letters of ‘Nuffield Library’! Sam the cat is a fan too, and has been making great use of the cushions to achieve a cosier nap.


If you have any further suggestions, requests or comments, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Library staff are always happy to have a chat, so do stop us when we are around the library or at the enquiry or circulation desks. Otherwise, you can write us a message on the whiteboard (found on the ground floor), email library-enquiries@nuffield.ox.ac.uk, leave us a comment here on the blog, or get in touch via our social media channels: Facebook (@nuffieldcollegelibrary), Twitter (@nuffieldlibrary), and Instagram (@nuffieldlibrary). We hope to hear from you soon!

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World Book Day 2017

To celebrate World Book Day 2017, the library team have written about the books we are currently reading when we’re not at work. We hope our choices will inspire you to get reading and to share your current reads with us.

Liz Martin, Librarian: The Ribbons Are For Fearlessness: A Journey, by Catrina Davies

A shy introvert  from Cornwall decides that an excellent way to cure a broken heart would be 9781783721627-270x414to travel with her friend in a half-converted ambulance (as a campervan) to the North Cape in Norway. The friend dies unexpectedly and suddenly before departure, but she decides to do the trip solo anyway, busking to fund her trip with a cello and a very small repertoire.

She gets there, as they always say, after many adventures.

On the way south  she learns to surf in the Lofoten Islands (having always just watched her ex-boyfriend surf in Cornwall) then she carries on travelling south through Europe to Portugal, with many moving encounters on the way, and some bizarre situations.

Her heart recovers, she grows, she gets braver, she breaks an arm, her cello playing improves and she returns to Cornwall changed. I really don’t want to give this book the clichéd label of ‘inspirational’ (even though it is!) but it is a frequently jaw-dropping read.

‘A memoir  about a woman struggling to make sense of death and in the process transmuting grief into meaning. It is also a tale of female courage and discovery.’ (Monique Roffey, author of With the Kisses of his Mouth)

This was a serendipitous find in my local library, but you can buy an excellent-value bundle of book, CD of her songs, postcards of some of the places she visited and a ribbon (for fearlessness!) from her website. Her blog is also very good.

Ed Smithson, Assistant Librarian: The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles In The City, by William B. Helmreich

Helmreich is a sociology professor at City College of New York who is fond of taking his Masters’ students to the streets as part of his teaching. Recently he took it upon himself to walk every block of all five boroughs of the city (that’s c.6,000 miles and 9 pairs of shoes), talking to the inhabitants and recording his impressions.j10060

This is in no way a detailed, systematic description of each block, rather it’s a lengthy ramble and collection of street-level anecdotes about the weird and wonderful things Helmreich has experienced on his travels. The book is not organised geographically, rather it is divided into themes such as immigration, communities and gentrification, flitting back and forth between boroughs to paint a broader picture of life in the city. Helmreich does repeatedly suggest that specific areas and communities could be worthy of future research.

I heard about this book a few years ago and was immediately impressed with the audacity/insanity of the author…  I’m a lover of New York but have not had the chance to visit for many years so reading this book is a great way of vicariously travelling there.

Tessa Richards, Deputy Librarian: The Raw Scent Of Vanilla, by Emilia Bresciani

A true story, The raw scent of vanillafollows the highs and lows of the Bresciani-Lujan family, whose women turn to the wisdom of nature to solve their problems. They take counsel with the wise Pink Dolphin of the Amazon, ask the river for advice, and follow the profound messages of their dreams. But when tragedy hits hard and a mystical Blue Cat announces death, their wisdom persuades them to seek other spiritual routes.

wpid-9781743340509_the-raw-scent-of-vanilla_coverDecades later, in another land, Emilia Bresciani must face her own tragedies. She turns to the wisdom of her ancestors for guidance. After becoming a successful journalist she was looking forward to starting a new family with her husband – until her life was shattered by his murder in mysterious circumstances. In a horrifying downward spiral, she found herself not only a widow, but also the only suspect in his murder.’

I first read this book around 15 years ago and it still ranks as one of my absolute favourites.  It is beautifully written and takes the reader on an emotional journey through the life of the writer and her family with the myths and legends of the Amazon jungle forming a fascinating backdrop.

Tula Miller, Assistant Librarian: The Secret Queen: Eleanor Talbot, the Woman Who Put Richard III On The Throne, by John Ashdown-Hill

This book makes a convincing argument for Edward IV’s first marriage (“pre-contract”) to 97807509684611Lady Eleanor Talbot, widow of Ralph Butler, Lord Sudeley, thereby making his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville invalid and their children illegitimate. Eleanor died in 1468, four years after Edward’s marriage to Elizabeth in 1464.

This validates Richard III’s acceptance of the throne. In addition, if Edward’s children were illegitimate there would have been no need for the  ‘removal’ of his sons by Richard or his supporters.

A very ‘readable’ author, Ashdown-Hill was a leading figure in the ‘searching for Richard’ campaign and created the rosary that was placed in the coffin before burial in Leicester cathedral.

Clare Kavanagh, Assistant Librarian: Lyrebird, by Cecelia Ahern

Lyrebird is set in the south-west of Ireland, ‘where rugged mountains meet bright blue lakes and thick forests.  Deep in the woods, a young woman lives alone, forever secluded from the world, her life a well-kept secret.  She possesses an extraordinary talent, the likes of which no-one has seen before: a gift that will earn her the nickname Lyrebird.  When Solomon stumbles into Laura’s solitary existence, her life is turned on its head and she is confronted by a world desperate to 9780007501861understand her.  But while Solomon knows the world will embrace Laura, will it free her to spread her wings or will it trap her in a gilded cage? Like all wild birds, she needs to fly free’.

I have only just started this but it has already intrigued me and I want to find out more about Laura’s story and what her future holds.  And why Tom kept her existence a secret from his twin Joe who he was so close to in every other way.  “They were identical in looks, and they gelled despite the difference in personalities …. they had no need of explanation or description …so in tune they could sense each other’s moods, worries and fears… knew what the other was thinking at any given time.”  Or did they?

There are some very strong characters involved in the storyline and I am anticipating lots of plot twists and drama!

Diana Hackett, Assistant Librarian: Born To Run, by Bruce Springsteen

The life of the Boss, as told by the Boss… I’m a Springsteen fan, so my opinion is certainly biased, but this is a brilliant and engaging read.

born-to-run-9781471157790_lgSpringsteen has been telling stories of America and Americans throughout his musical career, and in this vividly written autobiography he finally tells his own. I think Springsteen is often dismissed and under-rated as both a musician and a story-teller, but this book showcases his lyrical talents, as his free-wheeling, evocative narrative style enables a sometimes painfully honest window into the experiences that have shaped his career.

I’m really enjoying the innovative use of structure – this is not a simple chronological life story, but a collection of memories and portraits of the places, people and moments that have had the biggest impact on his life and music. For the fan, it’s everything you could ever hope for and for the uninitiated, its honesty and warmth might just convince you that he is worthy of further investigation.

What about you?

That’s what we’re reading: now it’s your turn! We’d love to hear about the books that you’re currently reading, so get in touch: post a comment here; tweet us; Facebook us, or send us an email.

And finally, we’d like to take the opportunity to wish all our readers a very happy World Book Day 2017!

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