Deputy Librarian & Keeper of Collections
University of Oxford
Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer
Good resource discovery tools are not simply about making research easier and faster, but about facilitating the creation, preservation and discovery of knowledge by enabling new modes of research, especially across disciplines. In 2014 the University of Oxford began a robust and unique program of activities to improve discovery of and access to its intellectual assets: garden, museum and library collections, open educational resources and research outputs and data. With over 100 libraries, five museums, botanic gardens and an arboretum at the University, Oxford has been working to find world-leading solutions for connecting students and researchers at Oxford (and abroad) with the collections that are available to them. The University also aimed to make its resources more findable by the wider community, to increase engagement with its world-class collections and research. A year-long research study revealed the nuances of why incoming researchers and students struggle to find relevant collections and found that simply providing better search tools across existing metadata will not improve the situation. Therefore, the University has set out to scope entirely new approaches discovery, exploring new tools and approaches to enable students and researchers at Oxford and abroad to understand the scope of collections held by the University and to find them quickly and efficiently. A current project seeks to create an innovative working prototype that balances users’ needs for cognitive maps against wide-ranging types, and robustness, of data.