Somerville College

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Somerville College

University of Oxford

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Further Particulars

John Stuart Mill Research Assistant

(Ref 900307)

About the post
Somerville College University of Oxford is recruiting for a Research Assistant to carry out a short term assignment within its John Stuart Mill Marginalia Online project, funded by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. The main project in collaboration with the Bodleian Library and the University of Alabama, aims to digitise the pencil marginalia of John Stuart Mill and his father James Mill that are contained in Somerville’s collection of books from Mill’s library and make them available for scholars on an online database. Since no comprehensive review of the books in the collection has been published, the first phase of this project is to locate and record all the marginalia and markings with attributions where possible.
The successful candidate will be working in Somerville College library under the supervision of a steering group of experts in the field and reporting to Dr Anne Manuel, the College Librarian.
About the Library
Somerville is justifiably proud of its elegant and spacious library which boasts a collection of around 120,000 items (around 100,000 on open access), one of the largest undergraduate College libraries in the University. It was built in 1903 (Architect Basil Champneys) and occupies the entire north side of the Main Quad. Benefactors to the library over the years have included John Stuart Mill's family, John Ruskin, Egyptologist Amelia Edwards, Vera Brittain and many tutors and grateful students. The John Stuart Mill collection contains around 2,000 volumes of his own and his father’s books.
For further information about the Somerville College Library please visit
About Somerville College

Somerville is a forward-looking and adventurous College with a reputation of openness and inclusiveness. It is among the most international of the Oxford colleges that admit both undergraduate and graduate students, and is a friendly and diverse place which provides access to research, learning and the pursuit of excellence in all that we do. The current community comprises approximately 550 undergraduate and graduate students, many of whom live on site, and around 200 academic and support staff as well as a host of visiting academics, former members, conference and bed and breakfast guests.

Job Description

Job Title: John Stuart Mill Research Assistant
Department: Somerville College Library
Reports to: Librarian & Archivist
Liaison with: Librarian, Library Staff, Bodleian Library, John Stuart Mill Steering Group,

Professor Albert Pionke, University of Alabama

Overall Objective

To locate and record the marginalia in the John Stuart Mill Library Collection, with attributions where possible

Main Duties

  • Physically review every page of every book in the collection, locating marginalia

  • Record on a spreadsheet the location and nature of any marginalia found

  • Identify where possible and with the help of Professor Robert Fenn’s notes (undertaken for a volume in the Toronto edition of the Works, incomplete at the author’s death), and with expert advice, whose hand the marginalia belongs to

  • Liaise with Professor Pionke of the University of Alabama to ensure that any other metadata that they might need is recorded and that the data is in a format that can be readily transferred to the main project database

  • Check collection against existing records to identify missing items

Selection Criteria



Higher Degree in Philosophy, History, English or a closely related field

Familiarity with Victorian history and/or culture

Experience of working in digital humanities environment

Experience of using Microsoft Office programmes, particularly Word and Excel

Experience of working with antiquarian books

Evidence of a meticulous approach to data collection

Ability to work under own supervision to achieve timely and successful outcomes

Terms and conditions

Full terms and conditions of employment will be provided in writing to the successful candidate. The information below is for guidance only and does not constitute the contract of employment.


This is a full-time post to be offered on a fixed term basis of approximately two months or until completion of the project. The appointment will be made subject to satisfactory pre-employment checks as listed below.


The starting salary will be on University of Oxford grade 6, (£28,098 to £33,518).

Hours of Work

The hours of work are 35 per week and some flexibility can be given with the arrangement of the working hours.

Holiday Entitlement

The post holder will be entitled to pro rata 35 days holiday a year (inclusive of 8 public holidays).


The post holder will be advised of their eligibility for membership of a pension scheme upon commencement of employment.

Life Assurance

College Employees are covered by free life assurance for the duration of their employment (subject to age requirements).

Meal Entitlement

Meals on duty will be provided free of charge.

Sickness Benefit

A maximum of (pro-rata) six weeks’ sick pay at full pay, calculated in any rolling twelve month period, subject to satisfactory notification of absence and production of medical certificates.

Employee Assistance

A confidential 24/7 telephone advisory and counselling service is available to all College employees and their family members who live in the same household.


Somerville runs a small on-site Nursery. College employees may choose to enter a childcare salary sacrifice scheme (under the Income & Corporation Taxes Act 1988), which allows tax and national insurance exemption for this benefit. Alternatively employees may apply for childcare vouchers from ‘Kids Unlimited’.


The College will support the post holder to undertake any relevant training to enhance his or her work performance, and financial support for these development activities will be provided where appropriate.

Smoking policy

No smoking is allowed in any part of the College.

Application Procedure

The closing date for completed applications is 10am on Tuesday, 28 August 2018
Your application should comprise

  • A completed application form (including a personal statement and details of at least 2 referees)

  • A curriculum vitae (CVs submitted on their own will not be considered)

  • An Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

Email your completed application form to: please quote vacancy reference 900307 in the heading

Equal Opportunities information collected does not form part of the selection process and will not be circulated to the selection panel. Completion of the equal opportunities monitoring form is voluntary. Data collected is used to monitor the effectiveness of the College’s Equality and Diversity Policy and helps the College to meet its duties under the Equality Act 2010.

Interviews are likely to be held in the week commencing 10 September 2018

Communication regarding the status and outcome of your application will be made via e-mail.

Any enquiries relating to role should be directed in the first instance by email to

Equal Opportunities statement

The policy and practice of the University of Oxford and of Somerville College require that all staff are afforded equal opportunities within employment. Entry into employment and progression within employment will be determined only by personal merit and the application of criteria which are related to the duties of each particular post and the relevant salary structure. In all cases, ability to perform the job will be the primary consideration. Subject to statutory provisions, no applicant or member of staff will be treated less favourably than another because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. Where suitably qualified individuals are available, selection committees will contain at least one member of each sex.

Data Protection

All data supplied by candidates will be used only for the purposes of determining their suitability for the post and will be held in accordance with the principles of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the College’s Data Protection Policy (

Security Checks

For some posts, successful candidates will be required to complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. The appointee will be advised whether this applies to their role when they are offered the post.

Pre-employment screening

If you are selected for the post, employment with the College will be conditional upon satisfying the following requirements.

  1. Eligibility to work in the UK

The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 makes it a criminal offence for employers to employ someone who is not entitled to work in the UK. We therefore ask applicants to provide proof of their right to work in the UK before employment can commence.

Please note that you will need to provide original documents and where any documents are not in English a certified translation will be required. Do not include these documents with your application. You will be sent a request for the relevant information at the appropriate point in the selection process.

  1. References

You are asked to give us details of two people who have agreed to give a reference for you. If you have previously been employed your referees should be people who have direct experience of your work through working closely with you for a considerable period. If you have been employed, at least one of your referees should be your formal line manager from your most recent job. It is helpful if you can tell us how each referee knows you and your referees should not be related to you. Your referees will be asked to comment on your suitability for the post, to provide details of the dates of your employment, and of any disciplinary processes which are still ‘live’.

We will assume that we may approach your referees at any stage unless you tell us otherwise, so please state clearly if you wish to be contacted before a referee is approached.

  1. Medical fitness

Please note that any offer of employment will be conditional upon receipt of a completed preemployment medical health assessment questionnaire and confirmation from the University of Oxford Occupational Health Service that the candidate is medically fit for the post (allowing for any reasonable adjustments that may be required, in line with the provisions of the Equality Act 2010).

The purpose of the pre-employment medical health questionnaire is to:

  1. assess the candidate's medical capability to do the job for which they have applied:

  2. determine whether any reasonable adjustments or auxiliary aids may be required to accommodate any disability or impairment which they may have

  3. ensure that none of the requirements of the job for which they have applied would adversely affect any pre-existing health conditions the candidate may have.

The appointment will not commence until medical fitness for work, and any reasonable adjustments that may be required, is confirmed by the University Occupational Health Service.
July 2018

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