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The reading list service

The Library can help create online reading lists for you

What are online reading lists?

Most modules have a reading list of resources that students need to read, use or watch to support their learning. Online reading lists provide clickable links to these resources. This improves the student experience and encourages engagement by making it quicker and easier to access what they need. We use Talis Aspire software to produce online reading lists.

What can an online reading list do?

(Note: this video is aimed at students, but it does showcase most of the cool features of online reading lists)

What can go on a reading list?

All sorts of resources can go on a reading list! Any physical resources that the Library owns, electronic resources that the Library subscribes to, or resources that are freely available online.

  • Whole books - print books or ebooks
  • Chapters - we can usually digitise 1 chapter or 10% of a book to make it available as a PDF
  • Journal articles - via Open Access or subscription
  • Articles on websites - e.g. BBC News, newspaper articles, government publications
  • Videos - e.g. YouTube, Box of Broadcasts, LinkedIn Learning

We recommend that reading lists are specific to the topics being taught, provide clear guidance on what students need to do with the items, and aren't so long as to overwhelm them.

Reading list length

Long reading lists can be off-putting for students. Students only have a limited amount of time per week for reading, and usually study multiple modules at once. We strongly recommend that reading lists contain no more than:

  • One or two essential book chapters or articles per week
  • Two or three further book chapters or articles per week

Other useful or interesting items could be included in an extended bibliography document which you upload to your Moodle page. The Library doesn't guarantee that we will be able to provide everything outside of the online reading list, but students may be able to find items via Library Search or request them via the Request service.

How the reading lists service works

Academics send their reading lists to the Library in text format, then the Library team create the online reading list in Talis Aspire and put a link to the online reading list on the Moodle page. 

This allows the Library team to check that we can provide what is required. For example, we will:

  • Check we have enough copies of physical resources
  • Check whether we can provide online access
  • Check copyright compliance
  • Check for new editions
  • Purchase resources we don’t already own
  • Create stable links and provide full metadata for resources
  • Liaise with academics about anything we can't provide

Send us your reading list

Email your list to, including the information below.

About the module:

  • code and title
  • part (e.g. if you’re teaching one aspect or semester of a module)
  • teaching start date
  • expected student numbers
  • whether teaching is remote or on campus

About the resources on the list:

  • full reference for each item
  • any notes for students (e.g. explaining which bit to read for when)
  • importance (essential = everyone has to read; further = expanding knowledge)
  • layout instructions (e.g. what sections you want on the list; which resources go in which section)

Please send us reading lists at least 4 weeks before the teaching start date, as it can take a while to do all our checks and for new resources to be purchased.

Edit an existing reading list

Please email with the details of any changes you need to your list.

If you are taking over a module and wish to replace the existing reading list with your own, please let us know in your email.

Can I just add content to Moodle directly?

If you prefer, you can add resources to Moodle by linking to them.

  • For resources that are freely available online, use the web address
  • For resources on Library Search (books, ebooks, journal articles etc.), use the permalink:

Permalink button on a resource found on Library Search

We do not recommend uploading content other than your teaching materials to Moodle, as this may breach copyright.

It is up to you to check and manage the links and uploaded content on your Moodle page.

Reading List Policy

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