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UCL and Talis co-hosted event

Hazel M Ingrey1 December 2017

Talis Aspire and UCL eventThe ReadingLists@UCL software is provided by a company called Talis.  We have worked closely with them over the years to develop our service; feedback from UCL academics and students have led to improvements to the reading lists for everyone.

This week we co-hosted an event with Talis, attended by librarians and learning technologist from other Universities.  Some of the presentations and discussion really gave me pause for thought.


June Hedges reminded us that the UCL student body has more than doubled in the past ten years.  Budgets, space and resources certainly haven’t kept up with this amazing growth, so reading lists really is one of the essential value-for-money services we can offer:

  • using the lists to deliver readings digitised under the CLA licence, so paper print readings can reach all students on a taught module
  • to make the most of existing electronic resources by bookmarking articles, e-books and film direct to the reading list
  • … and in doing this, students clicks on key readings maintain the resources’ high usage statistics, which helps to ensure they continue to be funded for purchase.  (Adding a copied pdf into Moodle, by comparison, will mean no measureable indication that the journal is being used).

Eugene Walker from the School of Managment gave a wonderful insight into how his department has identified the benefits to using ReadingLists@UCL, wanted their students to have the improved academic experience, and doggedly set about improving their uptake!  They have some subject specific resources which they use to create excellent, helpful lists for students.  They also have some self-imposed ambitious targets for next year.

Goldsmiths had a similar approach to UCL, explained by Maria O’Hara: they aimed to thoroughly use their online reading lists from the start.  In their statistics they count reading lists which are set up, populated, and have the key texts purchased or digitised.  That is a great deal of work, but sets a wonderfully high standard for their users.

Something else I took away and will be working on this year, is looking ahead. One measure of our success last year was reaching the target of 65% coverage of reading lists for taught course modules.  This year we are focussing on:

  • Quality and currency.  Excellently resourced lists that are updated regularly, are enriched by commentary or notes, and excellently resourced.
  • Best practice.  What makes a good list?  Do you know if students are engaging with all or some of the list, or what they need from a list?  We will use research, student feedback and analytics to suggest best practice.
  • Use in teaching and research. Academic staff have told us how they use reading lists in the classroom for teaching, it would be good to capture this for peer-to-peer use.  We will also suggest ways to use lists as a tool to engage students in learning through research.


Everyone seemed engaged in the conversation and the TLS team certainly came away re-inspired with some academic-new-year resolutions for online reading lists.


New Explore interface

Hazel M Ingrey4 October 2017

You may have noticed that a new Explore user interface (UI) has been soft-launched and is in a development phase for user testing.

When adding new readings into an online reading list however, please continue to use the classic Explore interface.  ReadingLists@UCL can only interact with one catalogue interface, so until the new UI has been formally launched, the reading lists will continue to interact best with the classic Explore interface.

Classic Explore catalogue

Click to enlarge


We will post an update on this blog, and on the ReadingLists@UCL homepage message, when the switch has been made to the new UI.

Do contact the TLS team if you have concerns or questions.


Welcome to new UCL students!

Hazel M Ingrey3 October 2017


Over summer we have been working towards this moment, helping to prepare reading lists and digitised readings for Term 1 teaching. The many new things to remember in your first few weeks can be overwhelming, so we hope that online reading lists are one of the few things that are easy to use!

Library resources block

Click to enlarge

If your module has an online reading list you can find it:

  • On Moodle (usually in the ‘Library Resources’ block – see picture)
  • Searching the ReadingLists@UCL home page by module code or title.


When we speak with students they say that reading lists are intuitive to use, and they don’t need much guidance; here is a little information to help you get started:

Not all modules have a reading list set up for them, this is at the discretion of your tutor or module lead.  If you would like a reading list for a particular course, please get in touch with your department to discuss this.

We wish you a good first term!


Induction week preparation

Hazel M Ingrey21 September 2017

Poster owl


Each morning we arrive to many requests for editing access to online reading lists; and teaching and support staff have been calling into our Wednesday drop-in for training in how to best use them.  Term 1 is only a few days away and there much preparation going on!

In the run up to induction week, site and subject liaison librarians have also been requesting support material to hand out in induction packs, or to refresh a notice board.


Poster Unusual Study habits 2



The images here are two posters that are available as pdf to print for your department, and also bundles of Owl postcards.  Please get in touch with TLS to request any of these.


To particularly help those Departmental Administrators, Librarians and other support staff, our webpages ReadingLists@UCL for Support Staff is being updated as we speak.  Please let us know if there is anything else that we can usefully add there to help you!





ReadingLists@UCL reach 65%!

Hazel M Ingrey10 August 2017

Bengal Owl from John Gould’s A Century of birds from the Himalaya Mountains (London: Published by the Author, 1831). (ref. STRONG ROOM E, LARGE FOLIO 950 G6) (c) UCL Special Collections

I am very pleased to report that ReadingLists@UCL has reached its target for July 2017: 65% of taught courses at UCL now have an online reading list.

The target was set in the UCL Library Services Strategy to have 65% coverage by the end of July 2017. 65% equates to more than 3,000 reading lists, and forty-one departments have met, or exceeded 65% coverage. To show how far we have come, the first measurement of the new system in October 2014 showed a baseline of around 29% coverage.

Librarians, administrators and academics have worked hard to embrace the online reading lists, with the aim of providing excellent quality guidance and resources to students. With a wealth of e-resources available to us at UCL, many essential texts link to full-text readings, or are digitised using our CLA licence.

Here are some figures. Between 1st September 2016 and 31st July:

  • there were more than 460,000 visitors
  • the top visited reading list was ‘ANTH1001 Introduction to material and visual culture’ with 5425 page views
  • total visits each month have been consistently higher than in the same period last year
  • the busiest month was October 2016 with more than 70,000 visits
  • … and around two-thirds of these were returning visitors, demonstrating that students return to lists rather than look just once.


You can read more about online reading lists on our webpages and in our ReadingLists@UCL blog.  And of course do get in touch if you would like to know more!


Summer drop-in sessions

Hazel M Ingrey9 August 2017


This way!

This way!

Wednesday afternoon drop-ins at the TLS office in Senate House continue each Wednesday, despite the building work in UCL Senate House Hub.

Pam or Hazel will be available from 2.30 – 4.30 pm each Wednesday to:

  • Walk you through getting started
  • Set up new reading lists with you
  • Troubleshooting any issues, such as links to Moodle not working
  • A quick refresher if you haven’t used the lists in a while
  • A quiet seat to get away from your email and telephone, and organise your readings!


If you would like to drop by, give us a call on 020 3549 5729 (internal x65729), and we will meet you in reception to guide you to the TLS office! Or get in touch to arrange us to visit you in your office.



Outage affecting ReadingLists@UCL, 14th August

Hazel M Ingrey8 August 2017

Some rights reserved CC BY https://www.flickr.com/photos/rusty_clark/32889331901/ ; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Cones–Endless cones by Rusty Clark

On Monday August 14th 9am – 3pm there will be some disruption to ReadingLists@UCL.

This is the final step in an ISD datacentre migration.  The project is to move the server of the Library Management System, which powers UCL’s Explore catalogue. This will mean a necessary outage of the library catalogue.


Read more information on the Aleph server move and how it affects all UCL Library services.

This affects online reading lists in two ways:

  • For students: existing readings won’t have their live ‘Availability’ on display: you won’t be able to see whether books are on the shelf or out on loan.  The shelfmark, however will remain on display.
  • For UCL staff: you won’t be able to bookmark new readings from Explore.

Bookmarking from e-resources such as e-journal articles and e-books will be unaffected.

The TLS team are here as ever to help and answer questions, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.


ReadingLists@UCL back to full function

Hazel M Ingrey3 August 2017

The ISD server migration work is complete and ReadingLists@UCL has returned to full function.  Thank you for your patience during this time.

You can now bookmark books from the library catalogue, Explore, as usual.  Readings on your lists will display the library shelfmark and how many copies are on the shelf, as usual.

The TLS team will run a report of all readings bookmarked in the past three days to check they are linking to the catalogue correctly.

If you have any queries about your reading lists, please get in touch with us!

Disruption to ReadingLists@UCL 31st July – 3rd August!

Hazel M Ingrey25 July 2017

Some rights reserved CC BY-NC https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramnaganat/7346166054/ ; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Traffic Cones by Natesh Ramasamy


From Monday 31st July 3pm – Thursday 3rd August 9am, there will be some disruption to ReadingLists@UCL.

Aleph, the Library Management System behind UCL’s Explore catalogue, is having its server moved as part of the ongoing ISD datacentre migration. This will mean a necessary outage of the library catalogue.


This affects online reading lists in two ways:

  • For students: existing readings won’t have their live ‘Availability’ on display: you won’t be able to see whether the texts are on the shelf or out on loan.  The shelfmark, however will remain on display (see screenshot below).
  • For UCL staff: you won’t be able to bookmark new readings from Explore.

Bookmarking from e-resources such as e-journal articles and e-books are unaffected.  You can also bookmark from COPAC, though its information is not live; bookmarking from COPAC has an extra step.  And of course do get in touch with the ReadingLists@UCL team if you need any help.

Read more information on the Aleph server move and how it affects all UCL Library services.


Library Availability

Library Availability

Annual rollover complete!

Hazel M Ingrey19 July 2017

The online reading lists have rolled over succesfully, creating copies of all lists ready for the 2017-18 session.  The reading lists for 2016-17 have been archived.

You are able to continue editing as usual.  In fact, this is the perfect time to update your list: students look at their readings over the summer and it is very easy to add a section of ‘Summer reading / research’.  Even if you haven’t finalised changes to all readings, you can still set up the structure and update dates and notes.  Though students are very positive about their reading lists, a couple of complaints have been about currency; the previous year’s dates were still on display.

Do you feel too busy to get re-acquainted with how to update your list?  Drop-in to us on a Wednesday afternoon and we will help you log in and make a few basic changes; or ask us for a quick refresher to get started again.  We are also happy to visit you in your office.


Drop us an email if you would like to:

  • re-use a previous version of your reading list (for example, for those modules that run every other year)
  • Archive a reading list if it is not being run in 2017-18
  • Change a module title / name on an existing reading list
  • Set up a new reading list


One final thing. Your ‘My Lists’ page may still contain 2016-17 lists.

  • To remove older lists: Go to ‘My Lists’. Check the box left of the list title; at the top of the page click ‘Action’ -> ‘Remove’
  • To add new lists to your ‘My Lists’ area: navigate to the 2017-18 list and click the button ‘Add to my lists’ (top right hand side).
  • All reading lists are at the same module URL each year (e.g. http://readinglists.ucl.ac.uk/modules/publg084.html ), this does not change.  The link from Moodle to the reading list (via the ‘Library Resources’ block) is also stable and won’t need updating.