Finding information for Modern Languages

  • Your Academic Liaison Librarian, Joanna Cooksey is here to help you find and use library resources for your course, for example finding books and journal articles, using electronic services like databases, and referencing in your written work. Joanna is based on Level 3 of the Library and you can make an appointment by emailing

  • Introduction to the Brookes Library

    The Headington Library in the JHB is the main library at Oxford Brookes and covers all subject areas, including Modern Languages. It's open 24 hours a day for most of the week during semester. The Library has 6 floors - for help with finding your way around, pick up a floor plan from the Help Zone on Level 1. You can also ask here if you need any help when using the library. Near the Help Zone you’ll find the Welcome Desk, book returns slots, reservations collection point and Short Loan. Books are on Levels 2, 3 and 4 and they are shelved by subject rather than language, so you may need to use various sections of the Library. Language books including dictionaries are on Level 2 in Zone E. Use the self-service machines to borrow books on each floor.

    The Library has different zones for quiet and silent study. If you want to do group work and/or chat, head to The Platform (Level 3) or The Forum (Ground Floor). You can also book one of our Student Presentation Rooms online.

    To get online in the Library, log onto one of the Library PCs with your student number and portal password – these computers will give you access to Internet, Google Mail, Brookes Virtual, Word etc. Printing is available via the Print Anywhere service. The IT Service Desk is located in The Forum and provides IT help.  
    To get online with your laptop, tablet or other device, sign up for the University’s Wi-Fi service Eduroam via the IT Services Web pages.

    Subject guides

    literature search is a systematic search for good quality, relevant sources on your topic to help you write an essay or dissertation. Finding sources such as books, journal articles and good quality web sites will help to stimulate your own ideas and provide evidence to support your arguments.

    You are welcome to make an appointment with your Academic Liaison Librarian if you need any help with finding sources for your studies.

    1) Planning your search 
    Create a Google doc
     and note down your assignment/dissertation title and keywords you could use for searching.  

    2) Finding sources
    For help with finding books and articles for your assignments, check the 'Guides for Modern Languages' section above.

    3) Choosing web sources
    When searching for Web sources, remember that you need reliable scholarly sources for your university research. For tips on what to look out for when searching the Web, take a look at our guide to Evaluating Web sources

    4) Expanding your search

    • When you find a useful book or journal article, take a look at the author’s bibliography. This will list the sources that the author used which may also be relevant for you.
    • Take a look at  Web of Science. In spite of its name, this database covers all subject areas and it is particularly useful for tracking citations to key articles. On Web of Science you can view an article and see a list of the author’s 'Cited References' - those sources that influenced the author. You can also see the article's influence on subsequent publications via the 'Times Cited' option. Find out more.
    • Try JSTOR's Text Analyser - upload a document e.g. an article. The tool will analyse the text and then find similar content in the JSTOR database.

     5) What to do if Brookes doesn't hold the sources you need

    When doing research for an in-depth project such as your dissertation you are likely to come across references to publications which are not held at Oxford Brookes Library. There are a variety of options for obtaining material that we don't hold - see the section below on 'Accessing sources beyond Brookes Library'.

    See our News and current affairs guide for links to newspaper databases and further help with finding and selecting news sources.
    Our Statistics page provides links to UK and international statistical sources.

    On your year abroad or work placement

    Our guide to off-campus services and facilities gives full details of library services and electronic resources which are available to you even when you're abroad.

    You may be able to use public, university or specialist libraries while you are on placement, in addition to the resources available to you at your company or institution. Always contact the library before a visit to check on their particular requirements or restrictions.

    Links to library catalogues:

    • The European Library searches the content of European national libraries.
    • WorldCat is the world's largest network of library content and services, currently indexing the resources of around 10,000 libraries.

    You are welcome to contact your Academic Liaison Librarian if you need further help or information. You can also try emailing our Electronic Enquiry Service if you have any queries or problems.

    Accessing sources not held by Brookes Library

    Brookes Library should hold the resources you need for coursework. If the Library doesn't have an item on your reading list, please let your Academic Liaison Librarian and module leader know. Students doing an honours level project or dissertation or the MA in IBCL may need additional resources that are not held in the Brookes Library. Various options are available to you:

    • Undergraduate students doing dissertation-level research and MA students are eligible to apply for reference access to the  Bodleian Library. You need to be in semester 2 of year 2 of your degree, or in years 3 and/or 4, engaged on honours level dissertation or project work. Students doing the MA in IBCL and Erasmus students can also apply for a card. You will need to get an application form from the Library Help Zone ( Level 1) or  download it from our web pages.
      For students doing Japanese the  Bodleian Japanese Library is a fantastic resource
      French Studies
       students may be interested in using the  Taylor Institution Library and the Maison Francaise.
      Use  SOLO the Oxford University Libraries' Catalogue to check what is available and where it's held.  

    • You can use the  Interlibrary Loans service to request books, articles and other publications which aren't in stock. Each request costs £3.00 and articles usually arrive within 3 working days. You can make your requests via the Library Catalogue

    • The SCONUL Access scheme allows Brookes students to use many university libraries across the UK. You may find this useful if you live at some distance from Oxford and would like to use an academic library in your local area. To apply, go to the SCONUL website and check first whether the library you wish to visit is a member of the scheme, then complete the online application form. Once your application has been authorized by Brookes Library, you will be sent a confirmation email from SCONUL access and will need to take this along when you first visit the member library. 

    • COPAC contains the merged online catalogues of more than 20 of the largest university research libraries in the UK and Ireland, including the British Library Public Catalogue. It's a good place to search for material available in the UK.

    • Access to research is a scheme run through public libraries, where academic publishers have made many of their journals freely accessible to the general public. Access to these e-journals is only available through computers in one of the participating libraries. These include Oxford Central (though not at the moment because of their temporary relocation), Wheatley, Headington, and Botley public libraries. Check the Access to research website to see which libraries are participating and use the search option to see whether a specific journal title/issue is available through the scheme.


    Most Undergraduate and Masters course dissertations are not held in the Library. Those which are in the Library are listed on the Library Catalogue. Use the Dissertations Location List ( Word or  PDF) to discover where dissertations for each subject/course are held. The Library does hold all Brookes PhD theses.  
    If you are looking for a UK PhD/MPhil thesis, you may be able to obtain a copy online via the British Library's  EThOS system. You can search across 250,000+ theses for free and download / order full text where available. You will need to register and log in if you want to download a thesis or to order digitisation of a thesis.

    Exam papers

    2015-2016 onward: These are available for download by Brookes students and staff from RADAR. Check this quick video guide Finding past Oxford Brookes exam papers on RADAR

    Earlier years: Printed copies are available in the Library at Headington (Short Loan area, Level 1).