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From the Bodleian’s Public Engagement Department

The Weston Library’s exhibition based on MSD research: Melancholy: a new anatomy

Melancholy: A New Anatomy, based on MSD research, opened in the Treasury gallery on 29 September. The exhibition explores the enduring relevance of The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton in this the 400th anniversary of its date of publication.

The exhibition is arranged by theme, and each display case explores an aspect of Burton’s work, including recommended cures. One of the aims of the exhibition is to show how Burton’s holistic and multifaceted conception of cure finds surprising echoes in contemporary psychiatry and prescriptions for mental health. An example is the case about exercise. Exercise was considered by Burton a ‘non-natural’ which could be used or abused to cause health or illness. Burton is clear about the importance of the association between exercise and mood. His core belief of the benefit of all things in moderation was central to his conclusions about exercise, both physical and mental – identifying both the problems associated with too little exercise or too much. He identified that the imbalance of a “sedentary, solitary life … free from bodily exercise”, but over-exercised in study, in combination with discontent and idleness, might explain why students are more at risk of melancholy than others.

Burton was writing in a time when sports – popular among the ancients ‒ including swimming and tennis were again becoming fashionable and codified. For Burton, the secret was to ensure adequate physical exercise, just up to the point of raising a sweat but no more. But his idea of exercise incorporated more than physical exertion: the absorption of attention in an activity, and sociability, also played a role. Contemporary research shows that there are direct physiological benefits to aerobic exercise, but this alone does not seem to help depression. Burton might have been right about the importance of social and outdoor aspects. Team sports and cycling might be more protective than other forms of exercise.

The case which explores these aspects of exercise includes a bicycle wheel built by Professor John Geddes, Head of the Department of Psychiatry, and lead curator of the exhibition. He wrote the following about it: ‘I built this bicycle wheel during the COVID19 pandemic lockdown in 2020. Working from home, I was able to find the time for this manual activity which provided pleasure and solace against the social withdrawal and inactivity mandated during lockdown.’

The bicycle is displayed in the case alongside other material which illustrates exercise and outdoor recreation, including an early swimming instruction manual from 1595 and a bicycle advertisement from 1881.

More information on the exhibition, which is open until 20 March 2022, can be found here: Melancholy: A New Anatomy | Visit the Bodleian Libraries (

Open Access news

UKRI grant update

UKRI currently provides the University of Oxford with a yearly block grant to support open access publishing, with the funding cycle running from 1st April-31st March. The grant is fully allocated at this point in time, meaning that individual APC payments are on pause. This is due in part to the need to conserve funds for transformative Read & Publish deals which support publishing and access to resources and which enable all Oxford corresponding authors to publish their articles in full compliance with funder requirements.

It may be possible to support individual APC payments for fully open access journals in early 2022 but until then, in order to support academics in their open access publishing, Oxford’s UKRI grant will only be funding ‘transformative agreement’ open access articles. To ensure compliance with UKRI policy, and to make your article open access, there are two routes to choose from:

  1. Publish in a journal covered by a transformative agreement with the University of Oxford.
  2. For other journal titles, please use the ‘green route’ and deposit the accepted manuscript into ORA. You can check whether a journal supports the green route using Sherpa Romeo.

For any queries, please contact   (general queries about policy) or (queries about deals and payments).

UKRI policy and briefings

Are you UKRI funded and need to know how to comply from 1st April 2022?  Join the Open Scholarship Librarian and other experts to learn about the new policy during these sessions we shall: Step you through the changes and new requirements. Provide links to further UKRI information and guidance. Let you know where to find help at Oxford and answer as many questions as we can. Sign up for a session.

Elsevier town hall meeting

The contract between the academic publisher Elsevier and UK Universities is due for renewal in December 2021.

Please join Mr Richard Ovenden OBE FSA FRSA, Bodley’s Librarian, and Professor Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, for an online consultation to discuss the future of this important publishing deal, which is vital to making our research as accessible as possible across ScienceDirect (Elsevier) journals. This event will be an opportunity to both find out more about and have your say on these negotiations, so that the University can secure an evidence-based solution that is both effective and sustainable.

The Oxford University Elsevier ScienceDirect Deal Consultation will take place on Thursday 11 November from 12-1.30pm. Book a spot in the meeting (SSO required).

Online resources

Encyclopedia of Life Sciences (ELS)

The Encyclopedia of Life Sciences (ELS) features over 4,600 specially commissioned, peer-reviewed and citable articles spanning the entire spectrum of the life sciences. ELS articles are written by leaders in the field to provide comprehensive and authoritative coverage of each subject area. ELS is updated with new articles on a monthly basis.

ClinicalKey Student

Are you looking for one medical education tool for learners and teachers? Try ClinicalKey Student. Clinicalkey Student is an interactive education platform of medical textbooks, images and videos that supports students and faculty with tools to develop and assess medical knowledge.

Library services

RSL at the VHL

All of our physical libraries are now operating as normal, with walk-in access (no bookings required) to a full range of collections, study environments, standard opening hours, and daily deliveries from the Book Storage Facility. Service updates are summarised on the Bodleian Libraries website. All remaining necessary COVID-19 measures are in place for readers and library staff and some libraries are able to provide areas of socially distanced seats to support those readers who may be clinically vulnerable or anxious about social distancing. The RSL at VHL is therefore operating with pre-COVID levels of service, including the reader breakout room with a freshly stocked snacks and drinks vending machine. No social distancing is in place amongst most of the reader desks in the VHL, but there are some areas of the library where 1m+ distancing is in place between study spaces.

Scanning on library photocopiers

Scanning is now free of charge when using Bodleian Libraries PCAS (Print, copy and scan) machines.

Meet with your Subject Librarian

If you have questions about how to use any of our services and resources, remember that you can always book a one-to-one meeting with your Subject or Outreach Librarian. For contact details, please see:


The Bodleian iSkills workshops develop your skills in information discovery and scholarly communications, covering a variety of resources across a wide range of disciplines. They are primarily aimed at University of Oxford students and staff and, for particular workshops, Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) staff.

Workshops cover:

  • Information discovery and searching for scholarly materials
  • Endnote, RefWorks, Zotero and Mendeley for managing references and formatting footnotes and bibliographies
  • Keeping up to date with new research
  • Measuring research impact
  • Understanding copyright and looking after your intellectual property
  • Open Access publishing and complying with funder mandates for open access
  • Managing your research data