3.07 Reading lists

Reading lists

Reading Lists allows you to provide your students with dynamic and up-to-date reading lists for each of their modules. In addition to listing the recommended reading for the course, your students can easily connect to YorSearch to see if items are available in the Library and links to online resources are provided. You can make digitisation requests through Reading Lists (for book chapters and articles we don’t subscribe to) and it is also the way you can flag up any items that need to be provided in an alternative format for students with a print-impairment.


Technical guidance on populating, managing or publishing Reading Lists is available

Additionally, for more general guidance around Reading List materials please contact your department’s Academic Liaison Librarian. The University’s Reading Lists policy is available on the online guide as well.

Approaches to using Reading Lists

Key Concept: Students may not know how to approach using your reading lists

Students, particularly those in the first year, may not have come across reading lists before. Providing guidance to students about how you expect the list to be used and what to read is very helpful for them e.g. it helps them prioritise their weekly reading across several different modules.

Each item added to your reading list can be tagged as essential, recommended or background reading. Students find this useful as it helps them prioritise their reading. It also helps the Library ensure that there is sufficient access to titles – we purchase different levels of access depending on whether is something is essential or recommended. Reading Lists also offer you the option of providing descriptions for individual items or sections to further highlight relevance of items to students. Our Practical Guide contains more guidance on selecting materials for your lists.

There is a lot of flexibility to include different types of materials in your list. In addition to books, book chapters and journal articles, you may also want to include:

  • web pages
  • videos from resources like Box of Broadcasts
  • newspaper articles
  • journal titles rather than individual articles
  • music scores

Electronic reading

Ideally all books marked as essential will be available to students in both print and electronic format. This is to ensure that at times of high demand there is a version that students can access. It is also helpful for students who are not on campus e.g. who live outside of York or who are travelling during the vacation period.

If an ebook isn’t available there is also the facility within Reading Lists to request digitised copies of book chapters or a selection of pages. If you’d like to include a journal article on your list that we don’t subscribe to, you can also request this via the Digitisation Service.

Digitisation is subject to copyright restrictions, usually one chapter or 10% of a publication’s page range per module. The Library’s Reading Lists team will be happy to advise you on any such issues and can propose possible alternative solutions to your digitisation requests. You may want to consider drawing upon a wider range of books to have a key text digital chapter each week and confer with colleagues about your digital resource provision if you are team-teaching.

For more help and information see:

Supporting students with a print-impairment

We are committed to ensuring that all students can make the best possible use of our services and collections. We provide a bespoke service to students with disabilities to help achieve this, including providing students with their reading in accessible formats. You as the tutor can request this via the Reading List system itself. See the Reading Lists Practical Guide for more information about how the service works.

Creative approaches to reading lists

Key Concept: Reading lists can be used creatively to support active learning

Reading lists enable you to give examples of academic good practice to your students. For instance, in the selection reading materials for your course and in the inclusion of a one-line statement for selected items as to why they have been included: this rationale providing an example of the critical thinking and decision-making approach that you wish to encourage your students to develop themselves.

Reading lists can also be thought of as working documents. You can enable collaborative features which allow students to comment on items on the list. Alternatively, they can produce print-friendly versions which could be saved as PDFs, exported to Word, or exported to reference management software. Students could then annotate these with their own notes and reading logs. Beyond the Reading Lists tool, copying a reading list to a Google Doc and encouraging students to comment and advise other students on recommended reading creates a shared ownership of the reading list as a working document for that cohort.

For more information see

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