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Premium Collection

Oxford Reference Online: Premium Collection

"Consistently one of our highest-used resources...and one of the most popular with students" - Claire Grace, Electronic Resources Manager, Open University Library

The Premium Collection includes a superb range of Oxford titles, updated regularly with an expanding range of key titles in the acclaimed Oxford Companions and Oxford Dictionaries series, plus the Visual English Dictionary, the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations and new heavily illustrated natural history titles such as the Encyclopedia of Mammals. This means a total of over 1.4 million entries, including longer, in-depth, signed entries with bibliographies.

Subscribers to the Premium Collection also benefit from excellent search functionality which makes it easy to choose between longer or shorter entries from subject reference titles, definitions from English or bilingual dictionaries, and quotations.

The Premium Collection is updated regularly with new titles, new editions, new entries, full-colour maps and illustrations, timelines, weblinks, and bibliographies. Preview the following samples from the Premium Collection:

Subscribers to the Premium Collection have access to the following content:
  • 224 reference titles - everything from Art to Zoology!
  • Over 1.4 million entries, many from an expanding range of acclaimed titles in the Oxford Companion series, extensively cross-referenced - that's over 107,000,000 editorially vetted words
  • 16,000+ illustrations, including colour photographs, line diagrams and tables
  • 47 Timelines linking thousands of key events in the areas of Art and Architecture; Performing Arts; Literature; Politics and Government; Society; Science, Technology and Medicine; and War. Timelines covering the history of individual countries such as the UK and US are also available. Each event is linked to a carefully-selected article, making research and discovery quick and easy.
  • 775+ locator, physical and political maps for each country of the world, with over 120 island maps, state maps for North America, Canada, and Mexico, and more than 100 city maps, plus the flags of the world
  • 36,000+ invaluable bibliographies
  • 167,000+ biographical entries, all cross-referenced and where possible linked to entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, American National Biography, Oxford Art Online, Oxford Music Online and Who's Who
  • Over 3,000 editorially selected external weblinks, at entry, book and subject level
  • New and revised titles added regularly
  • Entries checked and updated throughout the year
  • Enhance your subscription with additional content from the Western Civilization Collection, the Literature Collection and the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf

  • Premium Collection title list

    The Premium Collection Home Page

    Once you are signed in the Home Page looks like this:

    Premium Collection Home Page

    There are four main search and browse options:
    • Quick search
      A fast and efficient search option available from every page, quick searches look for matches in entry headings first, but will automatically default to a full text search if there are no results in entry headings.
    • Advanced search
      Use this option for more refined searches, such as to search across a defined range of subjects, or to find references to people or dates only.
    • Browse the whole database
      The Browse option enables you to view entry headings in the A-Z sequence in which entries appear in the printed book.
    • Search within a subject
      Choose from one of the subjects listed on the Home page for more refined searching or browsing.
    Other features of the Home page include a New to ORO section with handy tips on how to search using wildcards etc, a What's New section with news on past and current updates, and a link to the ORO Fact of the Day.

    Search Results Page

    Here are the results from a Quick search for "stem cell". There are results from a wide range of sources - everything from The Oxford Dictionary of English, to A Dictionary of Nursing.

    Premium Collection Search Results Page

    The search results page offers these main options:
    • View an entry
      Click on an entry heading to view the full entry.
    • Quick definition
      A quick dictionary definition of your search term from the Oxford Dictionary of English
    • Reorder your results by category
      Select one of the tabs along the top of the results list to reorder your results. The category options are: Subject reference longer entries; Subject reference shorter entries; English dictionaries; Bilingual dictionaries; Quotations.
    • Refine your results by subject
      Limit the results displayed to a specific subject by selecting one of the subject links in the left-hand column.
    • Widen your search
      If your search doesn't return sufficient results you can use the Widen search option. This allows you to broaden your search with one click of a button, catching more references to your search term.
    • Conduct a new search
      Type a new keyword or keywords into the Quick search box and click Go or press return on your keyboard.

    Entry Pages

    The Entry Pages display the individual articles or entries in ORO. The entry below for "Elgar, Edward", is taken from The Oxford Companion to British History.

    Premium Collection Entry Page

    From an entry page you can do any of the following:
    • View the next and previous results from your search
      Click on Previous result or Next result in the left-hand column to see the entries on the search results page before or after the one you selected.
    • Navigate to related entries in other titles in Oxford Reference Online or (if you subscribe to them) other OUP products such as the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the American National Biography, Oxford Art Online, Oxford Music Online, and Who's Who
    • Return to the full results list
      This will return you to the search results page you came from.
    • Go to a theme relevant to an entry in Timelines (if the entry contains a link to Timelines). This enables you to examine the entry in a wider context.
    • Browse adjacent entries from the book
      View the entries in the book that come before and after in the A-Z sequence.
    • Follow links to related entries within the book
      Links in the text (blue, underlined) will take you to related entries from the same book.
    • Look up any word anywhere in the database using the Cross-Reference tool
      Highlight a keyword or keywords in an entry and click on the Cross-Reference tool and it will search across the entire database.
    • Email the entry to a friend or colleague
      Click on the Email this entry button and follow the instructions on how to send someone you know the entire text of an entry for free.
    • Perform another Quick Search
      Type a new keyword or keywords into the Quick search box and click Go or press return on your keyboard. You can choose to search the whole database or just entries from the book that you are currently in.

    Long Entries

    Some entries from titles such as the Oxford Companions series and Digital Reference Shelf encyclopedias, span many pages. To make it easier to navigate these long entries, there is a list of Entry sections on the left-hand side of the page, to allow users to go directly to a specific section of the article.

    Premium Collection Long Entries

    Subject Home Pages

    The Subject Home pages allow you to focus your research within a specific subject area. To search or browse within a subject, just click on a subject link from the list of subjects in the centre of the Premium Collection Home page. From here you can perform a quick search that is limited to that particular subject.

    Screen grab of Premium Collection Subject Page

    Other options from the Subject home page include:
    • Advanced subject search
      Select the Advanced search tab on the global toolbar and you will be taken to the Advanced search page for that subject.
    • Browse this subject
      Click on the Browse this subject link to view the A-Z sequence of entries in this subject.
    • Links for this subject
      Follow this link to see the list of external, editorially selected websites we have recommended for each subject.
    • Go to a specific Book within this subject
      From a subject page, you can narrow your scope further before starting to search or browse, by clicking on one of the book links listed under Search within a book. This will take you to the Home page for that book.

    Advanced Search

    To begin an Advanced Search, click on the Advanced Search button on the main navigation bar at any time. Note that if you are currently on a subject or book level page, you will only search that subject or book.
    Premium Collection Advanced Search Page
    With Advanced search, you can refine your search in the following ways:
    • Search the full text of the database, or just entry headings
    • Search for people or dates
      Use the drop down menu to select one of these options.
    • Select which subjects or books to search
      If you are at the global level, you can restrict your search to one or more subjects by ticking the appropriate boxes. Click on the subject to go to a subject level Advanced search page.
    • Choose your method of searching: Standard, Boolean, or Pattern
      A Standard search looks for exact matches for your search term, but also looks for plurals and other forms of your search term (for example, "world" will find "worlds", "world-famous", "world-soul", etc.). Standard search is also the default option used in Quick search.

      Use Boolean searching to construct searches where you want to include and exclude terms. For example, "Cubist NOT Picasso" will find articles on the art movement that do not mention Picasso.

      Use Pattern search when you're not sure of the exact spelling. For example, a search for Milenium will find results for Millennium.


    The Browse option enables you to view entry headings in the A-Z sequence in which entries appear in the printed book. You can browse in this way at the global, subject or book level.

    Premium Collection Browse Page

    The Browse list displays each instance of an entry heading, together with the title of the book in which it appears. Use the A-Z buttons to jump to your chosen letter, or type the word that you want to find into the Go To box and you will be scrolled to the correct place in the browse list. Clicking on an entry heading will take you straight to the relevant entry.

    External Links

    At the subject and book level there are lists of external web links to further help you in your research.

    Premium Collection External Links

    Find out more

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