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Reading lists best practice

How to get the most out of your reading lists – for you and your students

List structure

Structure your list by week or topic

You can easily structure your reading list to complement your teaching style, by theme or by weekly tasks. This makes it easier for your students to structure and plan their work. Here are some examples of those two styles:

Annotate items (add a student note) to provide additional guidance

These notes can be useful for guiding the way your students should think about a specific reading.

For example:

  • "This document is a good introduction to consumer policy which addresses many of the issues that concern us with this module."
  • "This discussion is quite advanced – you might like to look at some of the other material first."
  • "A bit dated and US focused, but interesting."
  • "The whole book is relevant, but see in particular chapters 5 and 6."

List size

Very long reading lists become difficult for students to navigate and for you to keep updated. Think about how much time your students should be spending on reading. We recommend in most cases no more than 200 items per module should be submitted for a realistic and achievable reading list.

Resource importance

All texts should have an importance selected. Setting this allows your students to plan their reading and research more easily and informs library purchasing. If no importance is selected, then the library will treat that resource as additional reading.

Essential - the core reading

  • Students must read these to understand the module content.
  • Most likely to be recommended for a student to purchase.
  • A set text, for English and language study.
  • Referred to multiple times.
  • Seminar reading

We will ensure access or provide copies of these items based on agreed ratios.

Additional – recommended and further reading

  • Students may be advised to read these.
  • Specific texts to supplement Essential/core reading.
  • A possible alternative to some content from an essential reading.
  • More in depth research on topics covered by module to help and broaden understanding.
  • Where possible, designate print-only titles as additional reading
  • Encourage students to discover relevant reading for themselves using the library discovery tool, Library Search

We will try and ensure that at least one copy of each resource is available. We would also ask staff to utilise the Library’s existing holdings where possible.  We monitor books that are in high demand and purchase additional copies as required.

Resource type

Think about your students and what is most helpful to them. The online reading list is best used to direct them to their essential/core reading for the module.  In view of escalating costs, look to utilise the digital resources already available in the library.  Following these guidelines, select: 

  • E-journal articles from our e-journal collection
  • E-books already available within the library.
  • Alternative e-books where your initial choice is not available.
  • Where no e-book, request digital copies of key chapters.  If you submit these requests via your reading list the Library will ensure they’re fully covered by the University’s CLA licence (in accordance with copyright).  

The bookmarking extension will allow you to add resources outside of our library holdings.

If the above options do not fulfil the resource requirements of your module, add the new title to your list and send your list to review.  The library will look to acquire this new title.