Skip to Main Content

History of Science, Medicine & Technology - overview: Home

Purpose of this guide

This guide is intended for Students and Researchers studying History of Science, Medicine and Technology at the University of Oxford, although students and researchers from related fields may find it useful.

Use this guide to find out about the different collections and online resources for History of Science, Medicine and Technology, including ebooks, ejournals and databases.

Finding books

Oxford has a wide range of books for History of Science, Medicine and Technology.

Key journals

A lot of journals, as well as being available in print, are available online and can be searched via SOLO. Below are a few of the top journals for History of Science, Medicine and Technology which you can find in SOLO. A more comprehensive list is in the History of Science and Medicine subject guide (pdf).

Key databases

All major history of science databases are available online with a full list appearing in Databases A-Z.

Bibliographical databases

For literature searches, use Historical Abstracts, Bibliography of British and Irish History and SCOPUS. Medievalists can also find publications in the Medieval and Early Modern Bibliographies.

Source databases

The History of Science and Medicine subject guide (pdf) provides more information about suitable e-resources, services and training.

Principal collections

Search SOLO to find useful books, journals and databases for History of Science, Medicine and Technology. Material that is off-site can be requested by using the Hold option in SOLO.

The Upper Reading Room, (Old Bodleian Library) houses a significant open shelf collection for History of Science, Medicine and Technology, covering some ancient history, but otherwise medieval to modern periods. It includes both legal deposit as well as purchased materials in English and European languages. Books in this collection cannot be borrowed.

The History of Medicine Library primarily supports the needs of the University's postgraduate students and researchers in the history of medicine. Its holdings comprise around 7,000 monographs, serials and theses on diverse topics, including UK public health administration, hospitals and hospital movements, and tropical medicine.

The History Faculty Library supports teaching and learning in the History of Science. The Library primarily supports undergraduate courses, but some research material can also be found here. Books in this collection can be borrowed by current staff and students of Oxford University.

The Radcliffe Science Library has particular strengths are in 19th century holdings, as it focused exclusively on science and medicine from 1810. Since 1883 the RSL has received, via legal deposit, a copy of all British scientific publications. Older and less-used material is kept in remote store (listed as "Offsite"), including scientific doctoral theses submitted for degrees at Oxford University. 

The Weston Library has acquired through purchase and donation scientific books and manuscripts from the medieval period to the present day. For the early modern period the Library holds papers of many individuals of note in science and medicine. Modern collections include papers of contemporary scientists, archives of scientific organisations, and the Marconi archives. See also the Guide to Scientific Papers in the Bodleian Library.

The archives and collections of the Museum of the History of Science Library has strong modern and antiquarian holdings in those sciences most involved with instrumentation, particularly astronomy, geometry, optics, chemistry, and physics. Many of their modern print collections were transferred to the Bodleian Library in autumn 2017.

Isabel Holowaty

Profile Photo
Isabel Holowaty
Upper Reading Room, Room 2.03 (North / History end)
Bodleian Library, Broad Street
Oxford, OX1 3BG
01865 2-77294
Website Skype Contact: iholowaty
Subjects: History - British


Isabel Holowaty, History Librarian
tel: +44 (0)1865 277294

General enquiries regarding history of medicine:

Guide to Resources

Check out our guide to resources History of Science and Medicine (pdf).

Use it to

  • find secondary readings (books, journal articles, dissertations)
  • major sources for most periods
  • discover what relevant archives are available in Oxford
  • find a listing of important reference works, such as biographical dictionaries

Collection Development Policies

The subject of History of Science, Technology, Mathematics and Medicine is vast, spanning many different disciplines which have evolved over the course of centuries. The policies below outline our selection priorities and the key libraries where material on those subjects is held.

Associated collections

Primary materials relating to the history of specific subjects can also be found in departmental libraries such as these: