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Sussex Library online reading lists guide

Please read our "reading lists in lockdown" page 
before engaging with your list this term.

What is an online reading list?

What is an online reading list?
It's a web based way for you to manage your reading lists. It has more interactivity than a text-only document and allows direct linking to: records in the Library catalogue, the full text of electronic journal articles and ebooks; other web-based resources, including pages on the internet. Lists are built using ‘bookmarks’ (bibliographic metadata linked to items on the Library Catalogue or web) which you simply drag and drop into the relevant section of your list. 

How do I create a reading list?

How do I create a reading list?


On this site you will find everything you need to create, edit and publish your online reading lists using Talis Aspire. Please take note of our submission dates below, and ensure you plan an adequate amount of time for the editing and reviewing of your list. The time taken for us to acquire new items for the Library can vary considerably. It is therefore essential that we receive your reading list in good time to ensure availability of items. Our purchasing policy is also available below, and will impact on how we source items on your list. 

In the Getting Started tab you will find all the information you need to find and edit your list, including requesting new lists for modules. 

Don't have time to create a list

I don't have time to set one up. Can the Library do it for me?

The library is able to set up new lists or lists that aren’t currently in the system. Once the Library has set up your list we will make you the ‘list owner’ and email you the permissions to edit the list going forward. We are more than happy to arrange a 1-to-1 training session to take you through the process for the first time, or for a refresher.

Last year's list

There is a List in the system for a module I'm teaching, but it's out of date or linked to someone else. How can I update it?


Contact the Learning and Teaching Support Team by email or phone 01273 877199 and we’ll be able to make the changes for you.

What to put on a list

What should I include in my reading list?

You can add anything to your Reading List. Most important is to include the ‘essential’ resources all students are required to read in preparation for lectures and seminars. You can view our purchasing policy on our 'Welcome' page for more information about how we source essential and recommended readings. By providing direct links to these resources you will help students spend more time reading as opposed to searching for them.

  • Structure: We recommend week by week - or topic by topic - sections, with clearly marked 'Essential' and 'Recommended' sub-sections.

  • Size: we have statistical evidence that concise lists get the most usage. We recommend 150 items max.

  • Student experience: availability of learning resources has an impact on the student experience. We recommend that each taught module should have an online reading list, so that the Library can provide the learning resources needed.

  • Scaffolding: the reading list can be used to scaffold your teaching, by offering relevant resources, that are clearly signposted, and tied in to your curriculum content. We recommend that the online reading list is used as tool to support the teaching and learning of a specific module.

using lists

Can I see who is using my list?

One of the benefits of the system is that you can get a proper sense of how well-used the resources are. Go to the reading list site, sign in, and click on the green 'Dashboard' button to see the number of visits to a list and how many times links to resources have been clicked.

module handbooks

My readings are in the module handbook - why do I need a list?

An important reason to have your reading lists online is that it’s the primary way the Library keeps track on what you’re asking your students to read. Without having your reading lists in the system it’s unlikely the Library will resource what your students will need  to access for your taught modules.

Another key advantage is the software’s ability to deliver Technology Enhanced Learning. For example, online Lists allow students to click through to items on the Library catalogue and web, providing real time availability and, where available, full-text access. In addition, each item in an online List is assigned an ‘importance’ (Essential, Recommended or Optional), which provides a very useful signpost to students looking to manage their reading effectively.

Online lists are interactive and you can add comments to particular items and sections to help students prioritise their reading. Student can also log into a List and add private notes and reminders as a way of helping them organise their reading.


All of my essential readings are available as scans via my Canvas site - do they need to be on a reading list?

Many academics have done this in the past but it sometimes breaks the terms of our CLA HE License and Copyright Law. You can find out more about this on our Copyright Guide. We’re very happy to digitise as much material as we’re legally allowed to and host them for you within your reading list. 

Adding to Canvas

How do I add my Online Reading List to my Canvas site?


Reading lists can be integrated into their corresponding Canvas sites. More information on how this works can be found in our Embed in Canvas page.

Benefits to students

What are the benefits to students?

Lists increase the availability, discovery and use of paid resources, both print and electronic, and make it more likely your students will engage with the required reading for your teaching.

Other benefits include the ‘1-click’ linkage to the full-text of electronic items and the ability for students to add private study notes and reminders, helping them to prioritise their reading.