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Reading List Guide: Providing easy access to resources for students

A quick introduction to the reading list service from the Library

What is the Reading List Service?

The University of Exeter has a mandate which means all taught modules should have a Library created Reading List in ELE or the appropriate software.
Our policy lays out what this means from both sides:

If you want to guarantee your Term One reading list is ready for the start of the academic year we need to receive this by the 1st August 2020.  For Term Two we will need to receive it by 20th November 2020.  We can accept a partial list and you can send edits later.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for Staffundefined

  • Currently no access to print collections.
  • The purchase of print material for the Library is currently suspended until further notice.
  • We are only purchasing digital material for library stock. Please ensure that ALL items on a reading list can be accessed by your students online. We will double check items for you but anything we can't purchase or source as a digital copy cannot be included on a reading list.


Welcome to the University of Exeter reading list service. This guide is designed to be a quick introduction to the reading list service from the Library.  We think it is more important than ever to give students simple and easy access to the resources they need for study,  that way they get the most out of the Library, the resources your department has paid for and it will help improve their academic performance. 

To help achieve this we can turn your reading list into an online digitised document which links to the key reading you want your students to access. This can include quick web links to:

  • Full E-books and online text articles
  • Scanned chapters and articles from our print collection (where legal and if we can access the print material to produce the scan)
  • Links to the full records on our Catalogue
  • Websites
  • Video clips and full programmes via Box of Broadcasts or You Tube (where legal)

Each time we develop a reading list on ELE we’ll also check to see if the Library has enough access to the most heavily used items for your module and contact you if it is not in our collection. Then we will put the list up so it can be accessed via your module on ELE. 

Alternative Formats

We can work with individual students and staff to ensure that digital items on a reading list are available in a range of formats to ensure that the student can access the material. We also ensure all of our scans are compatible for OCR (Optical Character Recognition). For more information contact us at

Who are We?


In 2012 we started a reading list service that was a basic digital replacement for photocopies held in our ‘High Demand’ collection. Since 2012 we have expanded and developed the service and as of 2019-20 we are doing around 1,500 lists using Talis Aspire software embedded by LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) into ELE and all created alongside other library services by 15 trained Information Assistants. The reading list service is administered by Sue Abbott (Digital Library Manager) and Simon Foote (Taught Courses Support Coordinator).

Encouraging Student Engagement with Digital Reading Lists

How to Create an Excellent Reading List

Below are some guidelines to help you and your students get the most benefit from a digital reading list.

  • Provide a clear structure – week by week and/or by topic will help students plan ahead with their studies.
  • Clearly indicate which texts are essential and which are further or background reading, to enable students to prioritise their readings effectively.
  • Ideally contain no more than 100 individual items and provide clear information for students on how to engage effectively with the list. Ensure that the reading list is realistic and achievable.

Here is an example of a clearly structured reading list


Digging Deeper: Reading List Analytics  


Once a reading list has been published, the Talis Aspire software can track any usage or activity. This can be viewed via the list’s Analytics (also referred to as the Dashboard) and is available from the ‘View’ menu within the reading list.

Analytics can help you to make informed decisions around your reading list content by displaying the following information:

  • Page Views: the number of times your list has been viewed.
  • Clicks: the total number of times people have clicked through to the item view of a resource from your list.
  • Annotations: the number of student annotations/notes added to resources on the list.

To view Analytics we need to register you in Talis Aspire. Just contact us at if you would like to access this data.

Alternatively, the library can use Google Analytics to provide more in-depth statistics on list usage. If you are interested in seeing more details, please contact us at

Contact Us


The Reading List Team will do all the work of creating the online list, scanning chapters and articles plus making it available via ELE - all we need from you is your reading list as a word document and enough time to complete the work.

For modules taught at Exeter email:

For modules taught at Penryn email:

How do Digital Reading Lists Work?

Library staff will create a digital reading list in Talis Aspire and link the list to your module in ELE.

We can embed the link to the list within the relevant block in ELE so students can easily access that week’s reading.



To access the list click on the link and the student can access secure links available both on and off campus to Kortext chapter scans, online articles and e-books.



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