Oxford Scholarship Online
The Law Library recently subscribed to the law subject component of Oxford Scholarship Online (OSO), an electronic database of monographs published by Oxford University Press. OSO currently contains approximately 4,500 titles, of which 365 are law titles, and about two thirds of them were published from 2008 onwards. Last year 55 new law titles were added to OSO, and another 28 have been added so far in 2011. Altogether, OSO adds up to 500 new titles per year.
The entire OSO database is accessible through the Law Library’s web site. There is a link to OSO under the heading, “General Resources.” There are also links in the Library’s comprehensive alphabetical list of databases, and in the list of databases by category. Many of the OSO subjects will be of interest to legal scholars, including classical studies, economics, history, linguistics, literature, philosophy, political science, and religion.
The search interface provides three basic search types: search by author/title/subject, quick search by keyword or phrase, and an advanced search, which permits the user to search specific fields (e.g., title, abstract, subject term, full text) and/or limit the search to selected subject collections or combinations. A quick and easy tutorial introduces all the features the user will need to make best use of OSO.
In fact, OSO has a number of useful navigational features. These include tables of contents, chapter abstracts, active cross-references to other OSO titles mentioned, and active links to some sources cited. Indexed keywords allow the user to search across subject components of the database to locate inter-disciplinary books on a single subject, and a bibliography search utility allows the user to locate other OSO books that cite the main text being used.
Best of all, the user needn’t use the OSO platform to locate OSO books at all. Each of the titles in OSO is represented by a bibliographic record in IUCAT, just as any printed book would be, so the user can locate OSO books simply by searching IUCAT. Having found a relevant book, the user can then click on the active URL in the IUCAT record to be connected to the full text of the book in question. A new window will open taking the user to the OSO platform with the book’s abstract, table of contents, and keywords on the screen. From there, the user can use all of the navigational features mentioned above.
One problem with OSO is that there are only 4 simultaneous sessions allowed on the Bloomington campus. As a result, when you try to use OSO (whether directly from the OSO platform or through IUCAT) you may find that you are not logged in and cannot retrieve the content you need. When this happens it means that all 4 simultaneous sessions are currently being used, and that you’ll have to try again later.