National Libraries Day 2015: Jerome Simons’s thoughts on Nuffield College Library

National Libraries Day

Economics student, Jerome Simons, tells us what it is that he likes about Nuffield College Library in our third post for National Libraries Day:

I like the fact that Nuffield’s library is staffed by book aficionados. I cannot think of any other institution that would have preferred an older, used, high-quality bound copy to a new cheap repro one and contacting vintage booksellers about it.

Book nominations:
Aspects of multivariate statistical theory book coverAspects of multivariate statistical theory by Robb J. Muirhead (shelf mark QA 278.M).

Economics of the family book coverEconomics of the family by Martin Browning, Pierre-André Chiappori and Yoram Weiss (shelf mark HQ 519.B).

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National Libraries Day 2015: Lindsay Richards’s thoughts on Nuffield College Library

National Libraries Day

Today, College Research Officer Lindsay Richards explains why she enjoys using Nuffield College Library in our fourth post for National Libraries Day:

One of my favourite things about Nuffield life is the college library. It always has the book I am searching for (which is no mean feat), there’s always a quiet spot to get some work done and a comfy chair in which to read the paper. And, as a newcomer, it was a delight to discover a little space dedicated to Oxford with guide books and Morse DVDs – it felt really very welcoming!

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Jane Bown 1925-2014

Jane Bown was best known for her work as a portrait photographer for the Observer. Her signature style was black and white, using natural light to striking effect.

In 1992, Nuffield College commissioned her to take portraits of all its Fellows – these can be seen in the library tower and in the basement. The subject interests of the Fellows are matched with the subjects of the books on each floor so that sociologists can be found on the 4th floor, political scientists on the 5th & 6th floors and economists in the basement. Many of these Fellows are still at Nuffield.

There is a temporary exhibition of alternative portraits in the Current Affairs Room (1st floor of the Library) capturing our Fellows in more candid moments.

Jane Bown display in the Current Affairs Room

The Library has recently purchased a copy of “Exposures: Jane Bown”, a volume of some of her (non-Nuffield) work, see the book on SOLO.

It can be found in the Art Collection in the Current Affairs Room at the shelfmark Art.Bown.

Further reading:

Guardian obituary

A life in photography

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National Libraries Day 2015: Nancy Bermeo’s thoughts on Nuffield College Library

Our second blog post for National Libraries Day sees Politics and International Relations Fellow, Nancy Bermeo, provide her thoughts on Nuffield College Library:

Nuffield College Library is a magical place where the push of a (lift) button takes you to a nuffield_15514 75world of countless texts both old and new. It’s a world that offers us all a chance to get wiser every day. The library’s treasures, however, are not only on its shelves. The extraordinarily helpful staff are its greatest asset. The real magic of our library lies with Liz Martin and her very able colleagues who grant us all our wishes and make our work their mission.

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National Libraries Day 2015: Alexander Gard-Murray’s thoughts on Nuffield College Library

National Libraries Day

Nuffield College Library is celebrating National Libraries Day, an event where libraries across the UK are celebrated. This year we have contributions from our library users. We asked them what it is that they like about the library and to nominate their favourite book/an influential book. We’ll be posting throughout the week with our readers’ thoughts leading up to National Libraries Day itself on Saturday 7th February. First up is student Alexander Gard-Murray:

Nuffield’s library is one of the College’s best features.  It has all the traits you would think to ask for in a great library: a wide selection, generous borrowing terms, an accommodating policy on acquisitions, and the longest possible opening hours.  But it also has some fine traits you might not think to ask for, but which are very nice once you have them.  One such trait is that due to its unorthodox layout, patrons can choose exactly how much contact they want to have with their fellow scholars.  You can labour side-by-side on the first floor, have your own semi-private desk on the second in case you still want a little oversight, or you can have a whole floor to yourself in the tower.  A floor for every mood.

Book Nominations:

Jonathan Strange & Mr NorrellJonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Oxford alumna Susanna Clarke.  Clarke has accomplished the rare, and possibly unique, feat of combining an engrossing story with an academic literature review (albeit of a masterfully fabricated discipline).

Golden ruleGolden Rule, by Thomas Ferguson (shelf mark JK 467.F).  The book presents a needed counterweight to standard accounts of voter-driven policymaking.

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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.


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