X Close

ReadingLists@UCL

Home

Menu

Archive for September, 2022

ReadingLists@UCL pop-up guidance: coming soon!

Nick Forbes12 September 2022

With the new academic year almost upon us, many academic and support staff will be working on getting reading lists ready for the start of term. This might feel like a daunting task at this very busy time of year. Particularly for those of you who are new to ReadingLists@UCL, or who may not have used it for some time.

We are therefore delighted to announce that on Friday 16th September a series of new ‘onboarding guides’ will be going live on ReadingLists@UCL. This will mean that when you visit ReadingLists@UCL to work on a reading list, you will be offered a series of short (~2-min) pop-up videos taking you through the key features of the system. These will cover:

  • editing and organising your list;
  • structuring your list;
  • adding resources to your list;
  • adding library and student notes on list items;
  • publishing your list.

The idea is to provide guidance on the key elements of ReadingLists@UCL at the point it’s needed most (i.e. when you’re working on a list!). These unobtrusive pop-up guides will only be visible to academic and faculty staff, and they can be “snoozed” or even switched off entirely if you don’t want to see them.

This new feature will sit alongside the existing range of existing support and guidance around reading lists, including:

  • the ReadingLists@UCL Libguide, which sets out in detail how to create and update your lists and embed them in Moodle;
  • the Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) webpages, which outlines the many different services available from TLS, including the course readings service and copyright support; and
  • personalised support delivered by the TLS team: whether you want a complete run-through of the system or just want a reminder on how to add a weblink, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

If you have any questions at all about this new feature, or indeed about anything relating to reading lists, please don’t hesitate to email us at readinglists@ucl.ac.uk.

Image credit: “Books HD” by Abee5, licensed under CC BY 2.0

A varied reading diet: Liberating your list

Hazel M Ingrey8 September 2022

In nutrition, one school of thought prefers to add variety into one’s diet, for example eating ‘a rainbow’ of fruit and vegetables, rather than demonising ‘bad’ foods by recommending a decrease in fat / sugar consumption.  This approach balances out the less nutritious ingredients without the need to exclude any food groups.

Licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/44176993@N03/8567619056 ; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/?ref=openverse

“Muffin Tin Monday – rainbow of food for St. Patrick’s Day” by anotherlunch.com

As in good nutrition, so with a varied reading diet.  If you are reading a little more literature by African authors, or texts taking a social model of disability approach, you may have less room for Eurocentric, male-dominated or white-biased views.

Recent newspaper articles show that what one person thinks a varied diet, another considers censorship or blacklisting of literature.  As a profession librarians are ethically opposed to censorship and UK HEIs have not banned any books.  There has however been a student-led movement in Liberating, Decolonising, broadening or diversifying curriculum and institutions, that teaching departments and libraries have engaged with to varying degrees.  Reading lists are a small part of this, but can be a key, tangible window on course content, so is often an accessible first step in reviewing a module.

In the news articles, trigger or content warnings are conflated with discouraging reading, or even censorship of texts.  If you use content warnings on your reading lists you may not agree that this is a logical conclusion.  Content warnings can look like metadata: that is, data about data.  Keywords to help the reader navigate a list of resources, rather than limiting access to them. Indeed adding notes is something we encourage as best practice when setting readings, to set context and expectation.

We will shortly be publishing some suggestions on how you might use your reading list to evaluate module content through through a liberated lens. Involving student collaborators in this work can develop their information literacy skills as they assist in evaluating readings, and also add variety to your module readings, benefitting from the multiple backgrounds and experiences of the student body.

The canon is still there, in both reading lists and library: nobody has lost any literature.  But an outcome of learning how to evaluate their reading diet is that students develop better critical appraisal skills in their research and reading.  An environment of polarised opinion only hinders this progress.  Now isn’t that headline news?