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Our Services: Reading Lists: Submitting reading lists

A guide on how to create and maintain reading lists using Talis Aspire

Context and principles

It continues to be important that students can fully access all essential materials described in their reading lists online, along with as as much of the background reading as possible. If library support is needed for modules delivered in 2023-24, tutors will need to develop reading lists that align with the following key principles:

  1. All essential readings, and as much of the additional readings as possible, should be accessible online.
  2. If any significant readings are not available online, select alternative titles from the library’s existing online resources or investigate the option to purchase ebook versions, bearing in mind that many titles - especially textbooks - are not available to purchase for institutional use.
  3. Where there is no online option available for purchase, consider selecting key extracts for scanning from an existing print copy (in accordance with relevant copyright permissions) or searching for an open access version.
  4. Set any materials not available in the library or only available in print as 'optional' reading and flag to students that library access may not be available or may be limited.
  5. If online access is not possible and no suitable alternatives exist, discuss options with your Faculty Librarian.

Submitting reading lists - key messages

  • Tutors should create and manage their online reading lists through the Talis Aspire interface, selecting 'Request review' from the 'Edit' menu to alert the Library to any changes you have made and clicking the 'publish' button when they are ready for students to see. Use the 'Request digitisation' function to request scans of key extracts within copyright limits.
  • If you cannot log into Talis Aspire, email to request 'list publisher' permissions.
  • Ensure you are editing the version of the list marked 2023-24. Changes made to one year's lists will not be reflected in any others automatically.
  • Assign a list owner to be a point of contact with any issues or questions. Only one person can be assigned and they must be registered on Talis Aspire.
  • Changes to reading lists can be made at any time of year and will be reflected in the student view as soon as you click 'Publish'. However, requests for new acquisitions or scans need to reach the Library by 1st July each year to ensure availability to students by the start of Michaelmas term. Such requests for Epiphany and Easter term can be submitted later if needed - allow 3 months' notice in each case.
  • Instructions for editing reading lists and alerting the library to new provisions needed are available in a series of step-by-step instructions and video guides in the Using Talis Aspire Tab at the top of this page.

Checking for online access

  • Check for existing eBooks using Discover. Enter the title and author keywords, selecting 'Library collections' when prompted then, with the results on screen, select 'Available online' from the 'Availability' filter on the right.
  • Where an eBook isn't already available, you can check for library licences using Gobi and LibCentral.
  • Where an ebook is not an option available, check whether sections can be scanned.
  • Where there are no suitable online options available, discuss potential solutions with your Faculty Librarian.

If you have not started working at Durham yet

If you are not yet a member of Durham University you will not be able to create or edit reading lists yet. Please submit a Word document or email to listing/highlighting the essential readings and - if needed - the most important background readings and we will create a basic list for you to get the books ordered. You can then complete the list when you start at Durham.

Step-by-step checklist

  1. Check for a list on Talis Aspire for your module, even if under a former module code or title. Create one if needed, or seek assistance if a list you expect to see is absent or empty. 
  2. Assign a list owner, to be a point of contact, and set rough student numbers
  3. Review your lists ensuring all essential readings, and as much background reading as possible, are available online with sufficient provision.
  4. Delete unnecessary entries; especially from background readings.
  5. Request extracts for scanning if any are needed, being mindful of copyright restrictions.
  6. Arrange the list structure into sections to make it intuitive to your students.
  7. Highlight any essential readings using the drop-down options under 'Importance not set'.
    • Items marked 'Essential' or 'Seminar reading' must be available digitally - the Library will check whether this is possible and alert you if it is not.
    • Items marked 'Preparatory reading' or 'Importance not set' are deemed to be background reading and the Library will provide a print or online copy.
    • Students do not see the words 'Importance not set'. They can filter lists to just see items with one of the other three flags.
  8. Annotate key items using the 'note for students' feature to explain their significance and add contextual notes where appropriate.
  9. Press the 'publish' button to reflect any changes in the students' view.
  10. Select Request review' from the 'edit' menu above the list to send it to the Library, especially if you have added any books that need purchasing or designated new items as 'essential' or 'seminar reading'. Please do so even if the list is fine so the Library knows it has been checked.
  11. Link to the reading list from the module in Learn Ultra using the instructions available there - click the question mark then the magnifying glass to search for 'reading lists'.
  12. Link to the relevant sections of your reading list from the respective sections of your module in Learn Ultra to help guide your students' reading [Optional].