Reference Blog Entries

The Great Charter

Laura's picture

Prepare to hear a lot about the Magna Carta over the coming months.  This year marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of one of the most important documents in Western law and government. Without a doubt there will be many references to it in the media.

On June 15, 1215 King John of England signed a document that guaranteed certain fundamental rights to his English subjects as demanded by a group of powerful barons. 

Specific rights that were born in the Magna Carta are

Signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede England in 1215

  • trial by jury
  • due process
  • habeas corpus
  • equality under the law

Find more information at this comprehensive British website and the American Bar Association  website.

Find a biographical sketch of King John of England “one of the most villainous kings of England” in the Gale Biography in Context Database on the Upper Arlington Public Library website.

Find  topic overviews in the electronic reference books  Encyclopedia of the American Constitution and the Gale Encyclopedia of American Law.

View an old discolored and tattered copy of the Magna Carta at National Geographic Eyewitness to History online.

View a readable version of the document in  World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras

Each source will lead you to other sources.  Remember, if you are looking at these sources from outside the library you will be prompted to enter your library card number before going to the website.  

And don’t forget, you can always contact a Reference Librarian by phone, textemail, or in person for assistance in using our databases and eBooks.

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Brush up on the English language

Katie's picture

Do you know if the head of your school is a  principal or a  principle? Wish you knew the definition of  eurhythmic? Wondering where the word  smorgasbord originated? Not sure if your interest is  piqued or  peeked?  

This month marks the 131st anniversary of the  Oxford English Dictionary’s first publication. This historical dictionary is widely-regarded as the most complete and accurate dictionary in the English language. You can access this great resource for free with your Upper Arlington Public Library card and learn about not only present-day usages of words and phrases, but historical uses as well.

The  Oxford English Dictionary updates its entries every three months so you can stay up-to-date on the latest words like  hashtagflexitarian, and  selfie. You can find out why (and when) we started using phrases like  wardrobe malfunctionfirst world problem, and  Good-enough Morgan. Dazzle your friends by using  heterodontosaurid or  psychasthenia correctly in a sentence.

Check out the  Oxford English Dictionary and learn some fun new words today!

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