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Property deeds predominate, with manorial court rolls and accounts, but there are also many more personal documents like wills, inventories, marriage settlements, estate records and official papers such as commissions of appointment of sheriffs, deputy lieutenants and army officers and taxation records. Together these documents and bundles, some 35,000 in all, provide a mass of information on people and places all over the country.
It has been the Library's standard practice to calendar and index charters and rolls as a group apart from other manuscript material. A calendar of those acquired before 1878 was published that year, but the many thousands of documents acquired since then have hitherto been accessible only through hand-written calendar slips and index cards, available only in the Bodleian Library.
Publication of the calendar and index cards on microfiche, alongside the Library's working copy of the 1878 Calendar heavily corrected and annotated by W.D. Macray, reveals for the first time the wealth of documentation on local, social and economic history available in this under-used resource.
Scholars can now carry out much preliminary research in their own libraries before consulting the documents themselves. Indeed for many research purposes sufficient information is contained in the calendars to make a visit to the Bodleian unnecessary.
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Dissertations often provide the only information on a particular topic, and surface primary research unavailable in other formats.
Multimedia resources open up new avenues of exploration into a human rights hero’s life and legacy.