REF2014 – read all about it!

The Research Excellence Framework is the successor to the Research Assessment Exercise, a method of assessing the research of British higher education institutions.  The results of REF 2014 have been released today and there has already been much written on their significance and speculation about any future for the REF in its current form.  As a starting point, here are some links to various sources for the results and this analysis.


1) REF2014 homepage for the results and a news article announcing the results from HEFCE.  There are also specific results available for each institution and Oxford University’s is here.

2) The Conversation UK has run several articles today:

The impact of impact on the REF by Anthony Kelly, Professor of Education and Head of Southampton Education School at University of Southampton.

Q&A: what is the REF and how is the quality of university research measured? by Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Important research is being left behind – here’s how a change to the funding system could help by Peter Strike, Vice Chancellor at University of Cumbria

3) The LSE Impact of Social Sciences carried a blog by the Head of Research Policy at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Steven Hill, Time for REFlection: HEFCE look ahead to provide rounded evaluation of the REF

4) The Times Higher Education website has all the results listed as well, see also the printed copy which will be in the Library shortly.

5) There is also a report on Oxford’s placings in the tables on the University website, while many universities have also published articles on their results.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Christmas vacation opening hours 2014

We’re getting ready for Christmas here at Nuffield College Library!

Blog post Christmas 2014Our Christmas vacation opening hours are as follows*:

  • 8 – 22 December                  9.30-5.30
  • 23 December                         9.30-12.15
  • 24 December – 4 January  CLOSED
  • From 5 January                    9.30-5.30

Vacation loans start from Monday 15th December and will be due back on Monday 12th January.

*This does not apply to Nuffield College members, who will have normal access throughout.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

From the archives – Nuffield College’s architecture

This post continues our series on the library’s archives and is accompanied by a display on the college’s architecture, which is currently available to view in the library.

In 1937, Lord Nuffield gave £900,000 and the site that Nuffield College now sits on to the University of Oxford so that a new college could be created. In 1938, distinguished architect Austen Harrison was appointed and began to draw up plans.

The library holds in its archive, Nuffield College Papers, details on the appointment of Harrison to design Nuffield College, original plans, information on compromises and changes that had to be made, as well as an interview with the architect conducted by former warden Norman Chester.

Detailed plan of planting in  beer garden

Detailed plan of planting in beer garden (click to enlarge)

Interesting finds include a detailed plan for the layout of plants in the college beer garden and photographs of lightning damage to the roof in 1992.

Harrison’s original plans for the college were very Middle Eastern in their appearance but disliked by Lord Nuffield who is reported to have wanted something more in keeping with Oxford with “domes and pinnacles and things” (interview with Harrison, box A8, track 2 below). A more Cotswold-like plan was created after Harrison and his co-workers, Piers Hubbard and Thomas Barnes, took a cycle through the Cotswolds for inspiration. Work continued once the second World War ended, although material had since become more expensive and the project had to become more economical. Plans for a college building across the road where Worcester Street car park is now were abandoned, for example.

Nuffield model with short tower

Earlier model with octagonal tower and buildings on, what is now, Worcester Street car park

Nuffield model with tall tower

Later model with tall tower and buildings on Worcester Street abandoned

Nuffield College Library was never originally supposed to be housed in the tower as it is now but in the additional building in Worcester Street car park that was never constructed. However, financial constraints called a halt to construction and led to the decision that the library be housed in the tower. Indeed, the tower was originally designed to be octagonal in shape rather than square. It was thought that the shorter octagonal tower would be too low in relation to the castle mound opposite and a taller tower, that we see today, would “lift the College out of its sunken site on to the skyline of Oxford” (box A8/1/7).

The interview between Norman Chester and Austen Harrison conducted in 1970 is available below via SoundCloud, split into four tracks because of the original recording technique.

If you are interested in this material, contact the library at More information about the archives is available on the library website.


Recording of Norman Chester interviewing Austen Harrison

Back to top

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Explore your archive week – 10th-16th November 2014

As part of ‘Explore your archive week 2014′, this post looks at the archive collections at Nuffield College Library, taking in some of the smaller, quirkier collections.  The archives are used for a wide range of research: family and corporate history, the two World Wars and as a valuable resource for political, economic and social history and development.  For more information on any of the archives, or to enquire about visiting them, please visit our homepage.

A miscellaneous collection of documentation relating to and about trade unions in various African nations, 1949 to 1969. The documents vary from constitutions to publications, press cuttings to legislation and manifestos to speeches. Most of the documents are in English, but some are in French. The countries covered include Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, Gambia, Angola, Botswana, Swaziland and Sierre Leone. The main trade unions include the Railway African Union (Kenya), All African Trade Union Federation, Confedération Syndicale Africaine, Ghana T.U.C., Nigerian T.U.C. and Union Nationale des Travailleurs Sénégalais (Senegal).
This is a transcript of an interview with the poet and activist by Patrick Renshaw, giving an account of his work with the Industrial Workers of the World and his trial for conspiracy against the US government in 1917/18.
First page of Charles Ashleigh interview, Ashleigh file, Small collection

First page of Charles Ashleigh interview, Ashleigh file, Small collection

Thomas Attwood (1783-1856)
This collection is photocopies of various speeches and letters by this politician and currency theorist, between 1812 and 1840.
Hugh Dalton (1887-1962)
These papers are a small collection of his correspondence between 1939 and 1944, many relating to the Special Operations Executive and political warfare.
Francis was an economist and statistician who made major contributions to both economic and statistical theory.  He was a prolific writer, with a total of more than 500 books, articles, essays, and book reviews, including ‘Mathematical physics’ and ‘Papers relating to political economy’.  The collection has sections on journalism (1882-1934), correspondence & testimonials (1869-1926) and his papers and monographs (1886-1926), along with the Big Book.
Professor Feinstein’s great academic achievement was to calculate the size and structure of the British economy from the time of the Industrial Revolution to the present day.  The  results of this project were published in 1972 as ‘National Income, Expenditure and Output of the United Kingdom, 1855-1965′. The papers relating to this work are included in section A of the archive.  Also covered in this collection are papers relating to Feinstein’s specialist work ‘Studies in capital formation in the United Kingdom, 1750-1920′,  a collaborative work edited by himself and Sidney Pollard.  The papers, entitled ‘Gross domestic fixed capital formation’, are found in section B.
This collection contains material about how Oxford students, workers etc., and the wider population, took part in and were affected by the General Strike of 3-13 May 1926. It contains leaflets, articles, bulletins and newspaper cuttings.
Ernest Jones (1819-1869)
He was a prominent figure in the Chartist movement.  He wrote numerous poems and novels, including the Battle Day, the Revolt of Hindostan, the Maid of Warsaw, Woman’s Wrongs and the Painter of Florence.  This collection consists of correspondence and newspaper cuttings about Jones.
The National Agricultural Labourers Union (NALU) was founded by Joseph Arch, a Methodist preacher and British labour leader, in 1872 and he served as its president until it was dissolved in 1896. This collection includes records, minute book, photographs and a banner.
P.4 Banner photo, National Agricultural Labourer's Union collection

P.4 Banner photo, National Agricultural Labourer’s Union collection

P.10 Songs for singing at Agricultural Labourers’ meetings
 P.10 Songs for singing, National Agricultural Labourer’s Union collection
Robert Owen (1771-1858)
In this small archive collection of this social reformer and emancipationist there are a few manuscript letters, some typescript balance sheets from the mill at New Lanark and some notes (dated 1833) and tokens for exchange stores issued by the Birmingham Branch of the National Equitable Labour Exchange.  A run of ‘The new moral world’ is available for the years 1834-40, and followers of Owen represented in the collection include William Pare, Alexander Campbell, Edward Thomas Craig, John Finch, William King (not King of Brighton) and John Minter Morgan.  Nuffield College Library also has quite a collection of printed writings by and about Robert Owen, of which there is a list at the end of the handlist of this collection.
Owen, 2, Note for exchange stores, from the National Equitable Labour Exchange, Birmingham Branch

Owen, 2, Note for exchange stores, from the National Equitable Labour Exchange, Birmingham Branch

Owen, 3 View of New Lanark

Owen, 3 View of New Lanark

This collection of papers contains material on the National Minority Movement (1928-1931), London Industrial Council, Meerut prisoner’s case & T.U.C. and the General Strike, (1926-1933), Friends of Soviet Russia, London Engineering Joint Trades Committee, A.E.U. & E.T.U., (1919-1930), Metal workers, Syndicalism & conferences (1920-1921) and National Metalworkers’ Minority Movement, Second Congress of the Communist International Report, Industrial Workers of the World & anti-militarism etc., (1909-1941).
Trotskyist (1937-1954)
This is a collection of material dating mainly from the 1940s and early 1950s and consists of internal bulletins, leaflets, conference papers and a little correspondence.  The main parties covered in the material are the Socialist Workers’ Party (USA), Socialist Workers’ Group, Revolutionary Workers’ League: USA and the Revolutionary Communist Party.  There is also material from various publications, including the ‘Socialist review’ and ‘Workers’ international news’.  At the end of the collection is a miscellaneous collection of European, non-European and British newspapers from the same time period.
IV 4.6 Party organiser Nov 1947

Trotskyist collection IV 4.6 Party organiser Nov 1947

Posted in Research | Tagged | Leave a comment

New to Oxford?

If you are new to Oxford, here are some tips on other useful libraries, finding your way around and interesting events in the city.

Other libraries in Oxford:

Members of Nuffield College can access other Oxford University libraries with their University Card. Many of these fall under the umbrella term The Bodleian Libraries which includes the central Bodleian Library (reference only) and departmental libraries, most of which you can borrow from.

The Bodleian Social Science Library is the University’s main library for the social sciences, all members of Nuffield may register to borrow.

St. Antony’s College Library is also open to members of Nuffield and is particularly strong in the field of International Relations. Opening hours are 09:00-13:00, 14:00-17:00 Monday to Friday but please call or email before your first visit.

Please note that other college libraries are primarily for the use of their own members, if a college library has the only copy of a book in Oxford, they may admit you to consult it, but please always contact the library first.

Finding your way around:

Oxford Collection

The Oxford Collection

First of all, consult the Oxford Collection which is in the 1st floor lobby of the library, here you will find maps and guidebooks as well as histories of Oxford and novels set in the city.



mobile oxford Android app.


There is also an interactive map of the University online and, when you are out and about, you can use Mobile Oxford which has a mobile-friendly website and Android and iPhone apps. Both services show libraries, colleges, departments and public transport information.





What’s on:

Details of lectures and seminars can be found in the termly supplement to Oxford University Gazette, published in 0th week. Here is the lecture list for Michaelmas Term 2014.

Oxford University Events lists lectures, concerts, exhibitions and more all of which are open to the public.

Interesting Talks in Oxford is similar but offers the option to sort by category.

Daily Info (printed version in the Lodge) contains listings of events, classified ads, reviews of local restaurants and just about anything else you can think of!

Anything else?

Ask a member of Library staff!

Posted in How to... | Tagged | Leave a comment

Welcome to Nuffield College Library

This post is designed to help new readers find their way around Nuffield College Library.

Social media

A great starting point for information is the Library website!  However, we also regularly update our social media pages with current affairs items and publications of interest to the social sciences, such as the recent ‘State of the Nation 2014′ report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.  Our social media includes Facebook, Twitter, WordPress blogDelicious and Library Thing.  Follow us to keep informed about new developments!

Photocopying, scanning & printing

There is a photocopier/scanner/printer in the second floor reading room. You will need to get a Nuffield Library EMOS photocopy card from the Library circulation desk or the Accounts Department for Nuffield College members for photocopying.  Printing for Nuffield College members is done from here by linking into the College network and choosing that printer.

There are several computer workstations in the reading rooms, which can be used to search SOLO and access the Internet. You can also print from these; this costs 5p per printed side and printouts should be collected and paid for at the Circulation Desk.

Internet access

Internet access is available via the computer workstations in the reading room, but Nuffield College members can also access it on laptops/tablets/electronic devices via the wireless networks: Nuffield WLAN, OWL and Eduroam.

How to find books

1. Find the shelfmark:

Most of our stock is searchable on SOLO, once you have found a book, click on the “Find and request” tab:


You can see which Oxford libraries have a copy, click on the plus sign next to Nuffield. You can now see the shelfmark (also known as a call number) and whether or not the book is available:


2. Find out which floor the shelfmark is on:


Click on the image to expand

You can find these posters in the Library which tell you on which floor you can find the various shelfmarks. This particular book – DA 16.D is on the 3rd floor. You can take most books off the shelf yourself, but anything which says “closed access” (for example theses or short loan books) please ask at the Enquiry Desk on the 1st floor. Anything which has a shelfmark beginning with “X” is kept in the Library Extension, in the basement of L Staircase.


3. Finding your way around

Have a look at our 3D map! or consult the schematic plan in the Readers’ Guide which you received when you registered.

Inter-library loans

Members of Nuffield College who wish to borrow books not held anywhere in Oxford can submit an inter-library loan request on the Nuffield College intranet. You will need to be signed into the intranet to access the inter-library loan request form. On the intranet, go to ‘Resources’ and then ‘Library’. Here you’ll find the link to the ‘Inter-library loan request form.’ Please supply as much information as possible. Clicking ‘save’ will submit your request. We will get in touch with you about your request as soon as possible.

Please contact inter-library loans via email if you have any questions:

New book requests

Members of Nuffield College can submit a book request. If you would like the Library to buy a book that is in line with our acquisition policy, which can be found here, complete a book request form. You need to be signed into the intranet to access the book request form. The link for the form can be found on the ‘Library’ page on the Nuffield College intranet. Click on ‘Request new book’ and fill in the form with as much detail as possible. If you do not need the book urgently then please select ‘less urgently’. When you click ‘save’ at the bottom of the form this submits your request.

Newspapers and Magazines

Magazine rack (Current Affairs Room)

Magazine rack (Current Affairs Room)

The library subscribes to newspapers with current issues kept in the Current Affairs Room on the 1st floor of the library. We have both English language and foreign language newspapers, which are kept for two months. The older newspapers are kept in the Cole Room on the 2nd floor behind the wooden lectern.

The library also keeps popular magazines like the The Economist and Spectator in the magazine rack in the Current Affairs Room.  Both newspapers and magazines can be taken out on loan from the library by members of college.

Theses and Safe items

If you would like to look at somebody’s thesis or an item from the Safe collection, please ask a member of staff at the enquiry desk as they are only accessible by staff. If you give us the title, author (and year for theses) then we can fetch the item for you. College members can borrow theses and items from the Safe collection for 1 week, although different rules apply for external members.

Please ask a member of staff if you have any questions.


Posted in How to... | Tagged | Leave a comment