Training for studies and research

Research Skills Toolkits in Week 1

Are you using the smartest tools and strategies to get your research organised? Need to brush up on your IT and information skills for research?  Why not come to a Research Skills Toolkit? These free 2-hour workshops introduce key software and online tools for your research, hone your searching and information skills and introduce you to subject specialists. Topics on offer include: finding articles, papers, conferences and theses;   keeping up to date and current awareness; using Endnote to manage your references; manipulating images using Gimp; managing your thesis with word; analyzising data with Excel pivot tables; podcasting with Audacity; plagiarism and how to avoid it; your thesis, copyright and ORA; finding highly cited journals and measuring research impact.

Each toolkit is subject specific to a Division. Choose one of the 2-hour sessions listed under your area of study, and book your place!

Medical Sciences 15th January 10.00-12.00 Book your place
17th January 10.00-12.00 Book your place
Social Sciences 16th January 10.00-12.00 Book your place
18th January 14.00-16.00 Book your place
MPLS 16th January 14.00-16.00 Book your place
18th January 10.00-12.00 Book your place
Humanities 15th January 14.00-16.00 Book your place
17th January 14.00-16.00 Book your place
19th January 10.00-12.00 Book your place


Or visit for list of dates and times.

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My Erasmus+ Graduate Traineeship

I always thought: When I grow up, I’ll know what I want to be. However – even though I started feeling more or less grown up over the course of my studies – there were so many different things I found interesting that I never really thought: This is exactly what I want to do. On the contrary, in almost every student assistant job and internship I found something I liked about the work and what I really thought was: Wouldn’t it be nice if I could pick the best parts for myself and combine them?


After my studies in English philology and linguistics I wanted to gain some more experience abroad before entering the working world so I started looking for internships online. I finally found the Oxford University Language Centre’s advertisement for a “Library Trainee (with some clerical duties)” on At first I thought: Well, I’m not eligible anyway since I’m not a library school student – but working in a library actually is on my list of interests, as is language learning and teaching, as is university administration. I even have previous experience of working in a lending library from an internship at a library in France and, having recently finished my Master’s thesis, I’m also quite familiar with the customer perspective on libraries. The internship thus seemed to tick a lot of boxes on my personal list of interests – and thus seemed like a possible answer to my above-mentioned question. I was therefore all the more excited when I received the good news that I had been selected for the internship!


I had never expected work in a library to be boring but some people might think so, so I would like to make it clear anyway: It’s not. The 11 ½ weeks I’ve been here now serve to prove that. The tasks I had/got to do at the library and the Language Centre in general amounted to the considerably long list summarised below:

First and foremost I assisted the librarian, Lucile Deslignères, with the daily tasks in the library such as processing new items for circulation and (re-)shelving library material. I was also in charge of the library during Lucile’s lunch hour and while she was away on a business trip.

Other common tasks were helping readers and tutors find material in the library and on SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online), giving library tours, and registering new readers on the database (ALEPH). I really enjoyed this part of the job where I got to interact with people and help make their work easier.

However, I equally liked assisting with administrative work including usage statistics and finance-related tasks. I also updated the database of past final examinations at the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages in physical form (printed and as recordings on CD) and online (available on WebLearn, the university’s virtual learning environment), and read the text for the recording of the 2017 German listening comprehension task. I also carried out some research tasks such as looking for new language learning material (e.g. German films on DVD) and compiling a link list with information about languages for the Language Centre’s language resources online. In addition, I checked that all CALL (computer-assisted language learning) material in the library works and that the database is up-to-date.


Apart from directly library-related work, I also moderated the Language Centre’s Language Exchange Network online, i.e. checking and approving/denying entries in the online forums (if necessary, contacting users about incomplete entries) and writing posts in the network (e.g. useful links). In addition, I transferred all physical entries (on paper slips) from the old Language Exchange board to WebLearn (with the help from two work placement students) and worked together with the Educational Technology Advisor (Christina Hell) on how to maintain and improve the network.

During my first week at the Language Centre, I also got to accompany the Departmental Administrator (Christine Mitchell) to an information fair and helped inform potential students about the Language Centre’s offers.

In order to learn a bit more about the work done at the Language Centre, I got to do some work shadowing as some members of staff kindly explained to me what they’re working with: the Courses Administrator & Communications Officer (Charlotte Manning), the Administrative & Finance Assistant (Avalon Floyd), and the IT Officer (Martin Hurajt).

Finally, I got to attend an OLIS (Integrated Library System of the University of Oxford) staff training and Lucile kindly arranged for me to visit two other libraries in Oxford. I also took part in a weekly Communication Skills class at the Language Centre and sat in on German language classes taught by different tutors.


Of course, not all of these tasks were mentioned in the role description for the internship in such detail. It stated, however, which knowledge, skills and competences I was supposed to acquire. While compiling the list of my tasks, I mentally ticked off these points and can now confirm that I definitively obtained a good working knowledge of a higher education specialist library and broadened my understanding of the administrative functions of a university department.

Speaking of lists and ticking boxes, I said at the beginning of this text that I would like my future job to tick as many boxes on my list of interests as possible. Now that I know how varied the work of a librarian can be, I really feel that this is an actual possibility for me. At the same time, the internship has likewise strengthened my interest in higher education administration. The plan is thus as follows: I will try to work my way sideways into librarianship (since I still haven’t studied library and information science at university), top up my student assistant-experience of university administration – and then eventually find the job combining both fields! I’m therefore convinced that my internship here in Oxford has been an important step on my personal career ladder and I’m grateful for having been given this opportunity!

Last but not least, I would like to thank the above mentioned people and everyone else at the Oxford University Language Centre, in particular, of course, Lucile, for the help, support, and kindness I encountered during my internship and for passing on their knowledge and experience!

Lina Sophie Spinger, Michaelmas Term 2017


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Week 9 language courses available for personal and academic development

The Language Centre is offering a series of intensive beginner short courses for those who wish to learn a new language or refresh their skills. The programme is similar to that covered in the Michaelmas LASR and EAS courses and short course participants will be offered first refusal for Hilary term places.

The Language Centre has space on the following courses available during Week 9:

  • Modern Foreign Language Short Courses 4-8 December: Languages available include beginner’s Chinese, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.
  • EAS Academic Writing: Key Issues in Academic Writing, (Group 2) 4-8 December. Email for further information.

Classes will be held at the Language Centre, fees must be paid prior to the start of the course and coursebooks may be required.

For further details on these courses, visit the Language Centre website or call 01865 283360.

Click here to register!

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Library training

Bodleian iSkills: Finding stuff – scholarly literature for your research (Thursday 9 November 09.30-12.30)

A practical introduction to searching for scholarly materials to support your research, covering a range of tools for finding monographs, journal articles, conference papers, theses and more.

Who is this session for? Postgraduates, researchers and academics.

Bodleian iSkills: Information resources for Film (Thursday 9 November)

Tools and tips for starting your research in film studies. Includes an overview of the Film Studies collections at Oxford – films, books and more; effective searching for Film Studies monographs; finding Film Studies journal articles.

Who is this session for? Anyone using film resources for a dissertation, thesis or research. (I think we can add there: language learning! 🙂 )

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Language exchange

Our Language Exchange programme is now completely online! Do join in for meeting a Language Exchange partner. You are then most welcome to use the Language Centre as your chatting ground! 🙂

You can start at any level, and can also use language learning textbooks from the Library that are designed for self-learning, such as the Colloquial and Teach Yourself series.

Go to WebLearn (top right from our Language Centre website) and, after signing-in using your Oxford University user name and password, click on Language Exchange


WebLearn Main LC page

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Introducing Ancient Scripts

Seminar series open to all

Wednesdays 5.15 pm at the Taylor Institution Library, room 2

Convenor Dr Johanneke Sytsema, Linguistics Librarian

Introducing Ancient Scripts2

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Welcome back students!



Here is a library presentation for our Modern Languages French students

with information about the examinations we have in the library and other resources you will find useful.


A presentationfor our beginners with Nuevo Espanol en Marcha Basico

Here is a presentation for those using Espanol en Marcha 4

And one for those using ELE actual B1

A presentation for those using the  Contextos series A1/A2 and A2/B1

And for those using Vitamina C1


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