then and now (part deux)

Before you were looking for a book the library collection like this:

before 001

Now you are looking for a book, a CD, a DVD in the library collection like this:

library catalogue 2

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then and now

Before, if you wanted to register for a course at the Language Centre, you had to do this:

queuing at the Language Centre - Copy

Now, you only have to do that on our main website

UntitledSimplier, non?

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#loveourcollections Poetry

As part of a new post series #loveourcollections will look at the different collections of the Language Centre Library. Today I would like to speak about poetry.

It is said poetry is the highest form of the language, still, I strongly believe that poetry can be read, and appreciated (at least partially) when you are learning a language.

For this, bilingual collections will help a lot. Of course you will not understand all the subtilities of the language, nor all the words!, but you could, for example, try to read it with your language partner, or if you don’t have one, search the web for some video or audio. Let’s have a quick look at what we have here.

Of course, for Arabic, we have Mahmoud Darwish in an bilingual anthology called Victims of a Map (and for those very keen, I also have, in my personal library, a selection of his poems with translations in French, currently on loan with our Arabic Tutor), we also have a donation: the intriguing Book of Sins

For French, we have selections of works by Jean de La Fontaine, Pierre Jaccottet, Arthur Rimbeau, Pierre de Ronsard, Francis Ponge, Yves Bonnefoy, François Villon, Guillaume Appolinaire, Alfred de Musset, Victor Hugo, Joachim du Bellay and many many more in anthologies from Medieval to contemporary French.

For German, we have a nice bilingual selection of poems by Paul Ceylan

that will include the very famous “das Karussell”

Also an anthologie Lieblingsgedichte der Deutschen

Greek, and we have the rather hilarious and still relevant today of “Waiting for the Barbarians” by the great poet Constantine P. Cavafy

(it’s worth noting that there is a wonderful Cavafy website with his poems both in Greek and in English)

Italian I believe I could get more, but we have Vilma de Gasperin’s lezioni di lingua

Portuguese, and we had to have the very misterious and diverse all poets in one, that is Alberto Caiero + Alvaro de Campos + (Ricardo Reis + Antonío Mora + Bernardo Soares) = Fernando Pessoa

Russian, ah don’t get me started with Russian (do this test: meet a Russian, make them have a few toasts, say “Pushkin please!” see what happens…normally you should hear at least 3 poems from the famous poet ! and if they get very drunk perhaps… “Я вас любил”…)

so in one world, yes, we have a few poetry books of Russian poetry, including Contemporary Russian Poetry: a bilingual anthology

and others, only in Russian, Alexander Blok

and Marina Tsvetaeva

(and if you are nice I could lend you my Garnett book of Russian Verse, but only for a few days, minutes, seconds – as it is MINE!)

And the collection is not only for languages taught at the centre, we also have Taras Shevchenko considered to be the most famous Ukrainian poet, that I brought back from my travels

Spanish an anthology Al son de los poetas with poems from Lorca, Neruda and, speaking of Lorca, a CD (another present from my travels) of the Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías composed by Maurice Ohana. And a collection by Francisco de Quevedo

I’m adding here the work of Yunyao Zhai about Chinese and Tibetan poetry

Poetry: Chinese and Tibetan

Chinese: If asking Chinese people: ‘who is the most famous Chinese poet of all time’, the answer you get is very likely to be ‘Li Bai’.

Although Li Bai lived more than a thousand years ago, his talents and optimism have inspired the Chinese intellectuals over generations. Even today, his poems are still hugely popular; every Chinese child nowadays begins their school life by memorising and reciting Li Bai’s poems.

Tibetan: the legendary Sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso is probably one of the best known Dalai Lamas in history . He is sometimes referred as a ‘playboy’, or a legendary composer of poems and love songs rather than the religious and political leader of Tibet.

Many of his verses are now translated into English and Chinese ).

His poems are also an important inspiration for contemporary Tibetan artists, as you could listen to this beautiful song , the lyric comes from his poems.



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A great donation!

in fact, the best library donation I have ever had in my life!

In memory of Nigel Richards.

Many beautiful volumes from the famous Pléiade collection, with French authors like Marcel Proust, madame de Lafayette, Rabelais, Molière, madame de Sévigné. Each volume contains footnotes written by renowned academics.

I am in the process of cataloguing the collection and put it in the highest standard of RDA if I can! (RDA is the new cataloguing process we use)


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Here is a commentary about one of our Russian Tutors, Marina Bogdanova, who went to the workshop. The books have now been purchased by the library:

In week 6 of Michaelmas Term I attended the workshop, organized by Tatyana Linaker ( of Modern Language Centre, Kings College London, Strand Campus to promote a series of unconventional textbooks authored by Ignaty Diakov, who, while teaching Russian to the City bankers, designed his course to make the Russian language study process a bit more bearable for adult learners.

Designed for B1-B2 level of proficiency, two books in the series of the study texts contain stories, which deal with many basic conversational grammar structures and the core vocabulary required for business and every day life, phrases used in city and home environments. Verbs of motion receive particular attention.

The workshop consisted of a masterclass (50 min) and an interactive discussion based on a chapter 3 of text book The Story Sensation, aimed at A1 level of proficiency.

I personally would not use this type of supplementary reading material for my class, but would highly recommend it to be acquired by our library, since Oxford University graduates quite often aim to work for the City banks and this unconventional course could be quite useful for self-study.

Marina S. Bogdanova


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Training sessions

Welcome back, and Happy New Year!

We begin Hilary Term 2017 with our series of Research Skills Toolkits sessions in Week 1.

Research Skills Toolkit  (Daily workshops 16th – 20th January) Week 1

2-hour workshops to 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 workshop will be tailored to one of the following subject areas:

  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Medical Sciences
  • Maths, Physical and Life Sciences.

All sessions will be at IT Services, 13 Banbury Road. Go to for the full list of dates and to book online.

Also in Week 1 we have: Open Access Publishing: Papers and Peer-review (Fri 20 January 10.30-16.00) Week 1

There are many changes afoot in academic publishing. We therefore invite you to attend a series of short talks, panel discussions and opportunities for conversation around the subjects of open access publishing, peer review, publishing metrics, and the role and requirements of the University. Speakers and panel members will include Oxford academics, and representatives from PLoS, BioRxiv, the Wellcome Trust, F1000, eLife, Publons, Oxford University IT, Bodleian Libraries and Oxford University Press. The meeting will focus predominantly on biomedical sciences, but attendees from other disciplines are also welcome. Please go to Open Access Publishing event for further information and to book online.

In addition we are running the following: Weekly drop-in sessions to provide face-to-face support and answer all your queries on Open Access, Act on Acceptance and ORA. Weeks 1-8.

Tuesdays 14.30-15.30 – Cairns Library, ask for Judith Ames

Wednesdays 14.00-15.00 – Social Science Library, ask for Kate Beeby

Thursdays 11.00-12.00 – Radcliffe Science Library, ask for Juliet Ralph

Fridays 14.00-15.00 – Radcliffe Humanities Building, ask for Hilla Wait.

 Also from the Centre for Digital Scholarship:

By popular demand after the workshop in Michaelmas term, we are delighted to offer another opportunity to learn about digital editing and the Text Encoding Initiative. Research Technology Consultation, IT Services and the Centre for Digital Scholarship offer a course introducing the Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative for creating digital texts. The workshop uses materials developed for the Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School. If you’re interested in learning about markup and encoding digital editions, this course is for you.

What: How to make a digital edition: an introduction to the Text Encoding Initiative

Who: James Cummings and Pip Willcox

When: 09:30–16:30, Thursday 16 and Friday 17 February 2017

Where: Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library

Access: open to members of the University of Oxford

Admission: free

Booking is required: to reserve a place on this workshop, please email Pip Willcox,

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The best three months of my life

Internship Report (September-December 2016) at Oxford University Language Centre

I would like to thank Christine Mitchell, Lucile Deslignères and all other members of staff for giving me the opportunity to work with them. For me it was a unique experience to live in the UK and to work with such lovely people. I’m sure that this experience will be capital in my education and in my future career.

I am a graduate student from Italy. As part of the programme of Foreign Languages and Modern Literatures, I was expected to work for 250 hours as an intern for a company.
I decided to take this chance to go abroad as an Erasmus student instead of working in my country because I wanted to learn as much as possible about British culture and I wished to improve my English skills.
During my stay several activities have contributed to achieve a number of goals.
So I was introduced to all staff members and I had a brief interview with the administrator in order to set specific goals and collect more information about my job.
For three months I’ve been getting an insight into the work of a staff member at the Language Centre, especially in the library.
During my second week I’ve been trained as a library assistant, this was my main job during the internship as well as the place where I’ve spent most of my time.
My job was to provide support to the librarian by giving induction tour of the library to the students and by registering new visitors on the library system. Furthermore, I was in charge of placing back the different learning materials on the shelves and covering the librarian during her lunch break. I also helped students find materials on the shelves, helped the librarian in digitising audio-materials for the VLE (virtual learning environment) and was in charge of periodicals (getting them in the shop and placing them on the periodicals’ table)
I also provided support to the administrator at the Oxford Examination School. My job there consisted in presenting the Language Centre to the students, answering to their questions about our activities and attending conferences.
Starting from the beginning of Michaelmas Term I also took part in English Communication Skills class. This was a great opportunity to improve my English as well as to meet new people from all over the world and make new friends.
In conclusion the internship was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I gained new skills that will be important in my future career, I improved my language skills and my fluency, I learnt how to deal with different people in different situations and I became more responsible.
At last this internship has given me new motivation to pursue a career in linguistic and learning environment. Also, I have discovered a true passion for librarianship and I feel really grateful for this opportunity.

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