App-tastic or simply ‘tacky’?


The University has launched a new iPhone application that will enable visitors to Oxford quick access to information about the various attractions in Oxford.

However, some students and academics have been left unimpressed, describing the move as “tacky” and “selling out”.

Oxford University: The Official Guide provides information about the University, the Colleges, offers themed tours and even has a live weather and a ‘this day in history’ function.

Christopher Eddie, the University’s web officer, said: “Oxford University is not only famous for its academic excellence, it also has some of the most beautiful buildings, gardens and walks in the UK and it hosts free public lectures, events and exhibitions on almost every day of the year. We are therefore excited to be launching this app, which will bring this information directly to people’s iPhones like a pocket tour and what’s on guide.”

Eddie outlined his hope that “residents, students and staff in Oxford will also enjoy exploring the history of the University in their city”, but Emeritus Professor of Economics at Christ Church Peter Oppenheimer said: “This is a classic incidence of Oxford making things it doesn’t need. It is tacky and shows no idea of rational use of resources. God knows why they’re doing it – it is ridiculous and none of the academics would use it. It is the product of an overmanned administration – the devil makes work for idle hands.”

Matthew Gray, a second year law student, agreed: “I don’t think Oxford needs to pimp itself out like this. It’s a shameless commercialisation of our university’s reputation”.

Tours ‘recommended’ by the app include themes such as ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘Nobel Prize winners.’ To this end, Dickson Li, a visitor from the University of Chicago, said: “Well, the app does provide such information and I can see its advantages. However, I wonder why anyone would want to have such a structured tour – Oxford is such a charming city and part of its charm is to lose yourself traipsing around the city, appreciating the architecture and culture.”

Second year Wadham student Sarah Pine said: “It’s not on that they’re peddling this to tourists as it’s low quality and expensive”.

The application joins the Bodleian Library’s The Making of the King James Bible application as one of the growing number of Oxford-centred smartphone applications.

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