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Explore the Project Woruldhord archive on SDS

Project Woruldhord is hosted by the University of Oxford, based at the University's IT Services. Woruldhord was assisted by the JISC-funded RunCoCo project.

The Woruldhord project presents to you a collection of freely reusable educational resources to help you study or teach the period of English history centred on the Anglo-Saxons, or Old English (literature and language). This equates to a period of history roughly covering the mid-fifth century until the eleventh century. All the material held here was donated by members of the public, museums and libraries, academics, teachers, and societies. This then is a community collection created by a community of people for others to use.

What will you find? The archive contains photographs, documents, presentations, databases, and more; covering objects, archaeological sites, poems, prose writings, and course material. It holds around 4,500 digital objects contributed by about 400 people or institutions. Anything you locate within Woruldhord can be freely reused for educational purposes under a Creative Commons Licence (CC-BY-NC-SA, see also Permitted Use below).

The Project Director was Dr Stuart Lee who teaches Old English at Oxford and is also the Director of Computing Systems and Services. He is a HEA National Teaching Fellow, and was also Project Director on the First World War Poetry Digital Archive and the Great War Archive.

The Research Officers on the project were Dr Anna Caughey and Mr Tom Birkett. Dr Caughey teaches Old English and Middle English at Keble College, Oxford. She recently completed her DPhil on knighthood and kingship in late medieval Scotland, and also works on Malory, chivalry studies and medieval romance. Mr Birkett is writing his D.Phil. on the representation of the runic script in Old English and Old Norse literature, with particular reference to material and textual culture. His research and teaching interests include Anglo-Saxon engagement with the past, the relationship between Old English and Norse literature, the riddle tradition, textual culture, and the reception of Old Norse literature and myth. He is based at St Cross College.

If you have any questions or suggestions please contact us at runcoco@it.ox.ac.uk


Permitted Use

The Woruldhord Project is aimed at releasing a wealth of resources to researchers, teachers, students, and the general public to further the promotion of the subject.

Anyone is entitled to use the material for Educational Purposes (means for the purpose of education, teaching, distance learning, private study and/or research) but not for Commercial Purposes (i.e. selling or reselling the material or using it for any commercial gain) under the Creative Commons Licence CC-BY-NC-SA. In effect you may:

  • copy items and save them;
  • print the items;
  • excerpt, annotate, aggregate and modify the items;
  • use the items in virtual learning environments, managed learning environments and in any material to be used in the course of instruction. Course and study packs in non-electronic non-print perceptible form, such as Braille, may also be created;
  • distribute, communicate and make available the items, to the public in any form and in any media whether now known or hereafter created as long as it is for educational non-commercial purposes;
  • publicly display or publicly perform parts of the Licensed Work as part of a presentation at a seminar, conference, or workshop, or other such similar activity;
  • deposit the items or parts in any kind or type of repository.

Every effort has been made to clear copyright on all the material used. Should anyone know of any oversight please contact the site maintainers immediately.


At all times you must include the statement 'This item is from Project Woruldhord, University of Oxford (https://portal.sds.ox.ac.uk/Woruldhord); © [Copyright notice]'.

The copyright notice will be either the contributor's name, or in some cases specific details have been requested to be included. For example:
'This item is from Project Woruldhord, University of Oxford (https://portal.sds.ox.ac.uk/Woruldhord); © J. Bloggs'
'This item is from Project Woruldhord, University of Oxford (https://portal.sds.ox.ac.uk/Woruldhord); © Trustees of the British Museum'.



Frequently Asked Questions

What was Project Woruldhord?

Project Woruldhord was an initiative led by Oxford University to gather together and preserve, in digital form, digital objects to do with the understanding, teaching, and research of Old English and the Anglo-Saxon period. It is an example of a community collection whereby all the items collected were submitted by the international community (e.g. the general public, historical groups, learned societies, school teachers, academics, collectors, etc). These object have then been made freely available on the Web for teaching and research in schools, colleges and universities, both in the UK and worldwide. The project is based at Oxford University IT Services, and is part of a larger initiative in the UK to create a series of community collections. Submissions ran from 1st July 2010 to the 14th October 2010.

What kind of material did you collect?

We were looking for anything related to the period and we were not disappointed. Submissions included: photographs of artefacts, archaeological sites, teaching handouts, talks, audio recordings of Old English, videos of re-enactments, etc. In fact a range of material that might be of interest to the general public, schools, Universities, researchers who wish to learn more about the Anglo-Saxon period of history and Old English language and literature. Note we did not collect the physical items themselves: they remained with the contributor. It was also a prerequisite that the contributor owned the copyright of the item they were uploading.

What do I do if I think something has been submitted which I own the copyright to?

Every contributor was asked to confirm that they held the copyright to the item they were sending us, and we also removed any submissions we felt may infringe the rights of others. However, if you do notice anything that slipped through the net please contact us immediately at runcoco@it.ox.ac.uk.

What do I do if I see an error in the cataloguing?

We have tried to check all the cataloguing information provided by the contributor or the holding institution. However, if you do see anything wrong please let us know runcoco@it.ox.ac.uk.

We would also like to encourage discussion of the items through the projects Google Group - http://groups.google.com/group/project-woruldhord.

Are you still collecting?

No. The project closed for submissions on the 14th October 2010. However, if you do have anything key you would like to draw our attention to please do so by contacting us at runcoco@it.ox.ac.uk.

How do I type in thorns, eths, asc, diacritics, etc?

If you wish to search for a term that uses one of the Old English characters you can use the simple character input devices available in most computers now, e.g. Character Map on Windows machines, and the Special Characters features (or Character Viewer) on Macs running newer operating systems. With both of these you will be using a Unicode font, and the favoured font for most Anglo-Saxonists is Junicode by Peter Baker (free at http://sourceforge.net/projects/junicode/files/). However, if this proves impossible then use the following:

For (explanation) type in
þ lower case thorn þ
Þ upper case thorn Þ
ð lower case eth ð
Ð upper case eth Ð
æ lower case asc æ
Æ upper case asc Æ

How can the material be used (permitted use)?

All the material released under the Woruldhord project is under a Creative Commons Licence (CC-BY-NC-SA [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/]). What this means is you are able to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as you credit the project and the contributor. 

Who is paying for the project?

Project Woruldhord was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and is part of the initiative RunCoCo: How to Run a Community Collection Online, however its long-term support is covered by the University of Oxford.

What is a 'zipped file'?

Some contributions, particularly those including large collections of images, have been uploaded as 'zipped files' in order to save space and increase download speeds. In order to open a zipped file, you will need to:

  • Download it as normal, choosing 'Save file' in the dialogue box if appropriate. The zipped file will then appear in your download window as a folder icon with a zipper across it.
  • For Windows users right-click on this icon, and choose 'Extract all', then click 'Next', 'Next' and 'Finish'.You should then see an 'un-zipped' (without a zipper icon) file. Open this, and the contribution images or documents will be accessible inside.
  • For Mac users the file will normally extract automatically but if not double click on it.


Woruldhord depends on the contributions by numerous individuals and institutions. We would like to thank each and every one of them, but special thanks should also go to the following organisations for their support: