By Hazel M Ingrey, on 26 June 2018
In TLS we are preparing for the annual ‘rollover’ of ReadingLists@UCL. This is our final task of the academic year: the CLA report of UCL’s digitised readings was sent in June, the majority of teaching has finished, and the exam period too is largely over.
Each summer the reading lists have a new copy made for the September term, much like the Moodle snapshot. This year the rollover is scheduled for the evening of Tuesday 17th July 2018. From about 5pm that day:
- Reading lists for 2017-18 will have an exact copy made for 2018-19, which will publish immediately
- The old version (2017-18) will archive, which means it will disappear from public view but can be found and re-used in future years if needed
- Students will have continuous access to their reading lists: there is no down time for viewing lists
- Editing rights remain constant, so list editors are able to edit the new lists as soon as they appear
- Lists already set up as 2018-19 will be unaffected by the rollover
- Unpublished changes will not copy forward into the new list: please publish your lists before 17th July if you wish your updates to be carried forward.
- We suggest you stop editing reading lists before 5pm on 17th July, and continue editing when you can see it has the 2018-19 date stamp – certainly from the morning of 18th July, if not sooner.
- TLS are aware of the new module codes being introduced and will begin updating the reading list module codes from around 19th July. More details in our blog post on this.
- To have old courses archived, new lists set up, or current module names amended, please email us your requests!
Do you need a refresher on how to edit and manage your lists? Drop in to our office in Senate House on Wednesday afternoons, 2.30 – 4.30pm for a quick session. You could walk away with a new list set up and ready to go, get guidance on how to link to non-standard resources, or find out how to embed reading lists in Moodle.
The ReadingLists@UCL webpages also have guides, FAQs and contact details.
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 13 June 2018
You may have heard of the Academic Model Project, a project to update all UCL module codes. Whilst you may be dealing with the extra work around this for your teaching, please spare a thought for how it will affect your online reading lists!
- The current 2017-18 module codes remain on the existing online reading lists for any remaining exams, re-sits and continuing students.
- Around the week of 2nd July the new instance of Moodle will be made available, with new module codes.
- Around 17th July, ReadingLists@UCL will have its annual ‘rollover’ where lists are archived and a duplicate copy made for 2018-19. The archived list will have the ‘old’ module code on it when archived.
- From around 19th July onwards we will upload new module codes to the reading lists hierarchy and link the new lists to their new module code. Once this is done, new Moodle courses will link to the correct reading list via the ‘Library Resources’ block.
- Reading lists can be edited at any time and still found by their module title from the home page search: there is no break in being able to update them.
Despite best efforts there is likely to be some messy cross-over between old and new module codes, but we hope this catches the best time to make the switch and still be ready for August when departments might be updating Moodle.
Let us know if there is anything not covered here that might affect you! Liaison and site librarians have also been informed and are your contact for other library issues, so do get in also touch with them.
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 17 May 2018
Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day! Here are a few thoughts on how the TLS have considered accessibility in our everyday library services.
All course readings digitised by the TLS are run through OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software to ensure they are accessible to those using screen readers.
Copyright regulations have changed over the years and our Copyright blog has been following these improvements.
Through ReadingLists@UCL we regularly link to e-books and electronic articles; these are subscribed resources provided by the library. Many have good searchability and portability, or features such as read-aloud; however DRM added by the publisher can render them less accessible. There has been some wonderful library-led research looking into just how accessible these platforms are. This project undertook an e-book audit in 2016 and its work is being continued by Aspire 2018.
Some initiatives encourage publishers to engage in making their platforms easier to access, such as ‘Praise a publisher – critique a publisher’ in which the library community gave comment and feedback on the publishers who were the most speedy and helpful in providing accessible copies of texts – and any who didn’t quite come up to the mark.
While we occasionally still email publishers to request an accessible copy of text on behalf of a student, more often their requirements are more immediately met with the RNIB Bookshare service. This has grown rapidly in recent years and now some publishers deposit accessible vesions automatically on pubication. Any UCL students who need access the RNIB Bookshare please register with UCL Disability Support who will enable your access. They will also be able to introduce you other relevant support, such as the SENIT suite of specialist IT equipemnt and software.
The UCL Library Disability support is also really welcoming: do ask them for key ways they can assist you or someone you know.
- For more information and inspiration, follow the Twitter hashtag #GAAD
- Want to participate? Raise your own awareness by going without your computer mouse for an hour, or using screen-reader software and turning off your screen. After this experience you might like to go back and make sure your webpages are accessible! Find more ideas on the Global Accessibility Awareness Day website.
- Try this training event on e-books and disabled readers. Aimed at publishers and aggregators it covers what to look for in accessibility statements.
- TLS mainly provides IT-based services however accessibility and inclusive design should touch all areas. Current Insta-crush is Sinéad Burke who, amongst other talents, is a charismatic advocate for inclusive design. Follow her to find out more!
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 7 February 2018
Our colleagues in Digital Eduction have recently been working on updating the UCL E-Learning Baseline.
The e-learning Baseline is now included in the Academic Manual, and offers a best practice template for taught courses at UCL, setting out the minimum expectations of a module. One of the drivers is to support students who need consistent and clear information on their module, readings and assessments.
The baseline includes a requirement to have a reading list for students and recommends ReadingLists@UCL; it also clarifies that UCL policy is to have reading materials available for students 48 hours before teaching (both in section 5: Resources).
Providing consistency across programmes, and clarity of what reading is required, is one of the most positive feedback messages we have had from students about ReadingLists@UCL. For some modules their reading requirements are spread over a handbook, with sometimes different or additional information in Moodle, and by email: having one consistent place to check makes their life much easier. This also helps the library ensure books and journals are provided in time, and can translate into good feedback for your module.
Though reading lists themselves don’t have a baseline, we do run ‘Best practice’ sessions for academics.
In a Best Practice Reading Lists session last year we spoke to teaching staff in the Engineering department about recent research around how students use reading lists, and what potential barriers they find in understanding what is required of them, or accessing their essential readings in time. All barriers are very simple to overcome, for example by using the controlled language provided by the ‘Essential’ ‘Optional’ tags on each reading; and dividing the list into sections by topic or by week needed. Enriching your list with personal annotations really helps students understand whether you are pointing to a few readings that could be useful, or a seminal text they can’t get by without. Some academics even like to point to readings they don’t believe have very good arguments, or are based in another library to oblige the student visit another institution: this is also helpful to make clear!
This is the Best Practice reading list of a very few resources used during our session.
Would you like a similar session for your department, or a quick 1:1 to look at your module? Or would you find a baseline for reading lists a helpful guide? You can reach us by email, or call or visit the TLS.
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 19 January 2018
Wednesday afternoon drop-ins at the TLS office continue as usual. Each Wednesday, Pam or Hazel will be available from 2.30 – 4.30 pm to:
- Walk you through getting started
- Set up a new reading list and add readings
- Troubleshoot any issues, such as linking to Moodle
- Give a quick refresher if you haven’t used the lists in a while
- Provide a quiet seat to get away from your email and telephone to organise your readings!
The TLS office is in UCL Senate House, room 318. If you aren’t familiar with this UCL Library Hub, come to the South block, third floor and ask at the UCL reception desk; or call the TLS office on 020 3549 5729 (internal x65729).
If Wednesday doesn’t suit, or you would like reading lists set up on your office computer or laptop, then we are very happy to visit you in your department: get in touch to arrange a visit!
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 15 December 2017
Today an academic alerted us to a problem with a small number of the course readings we make available through our Course Readings service. These readings are digitised by the library under the CLA licence, and made available as a link on the online reading lists.
In January we migrated all course readings to be hosted by the CLA Content Store, enabling us to benefit from the large number of digitised readings already available from other Universities – which reduces the amount of scanning needed from departments.
However a small number of readings remained on the UCL server where we originally stored them. These weren’t updated for various reasons, such as: links to digitised readings were copied from one list to another without notifying the TLS to re-check them; students were being directed to archived lists; the lists and readings were used in years previous to 2015-16 but had not been updated.
What are we doing to solve the issue? We ran a report of all readings across all 2017-18 reading lists and identified those with the older style link. The TLS team ‘copyright checkers’ are checking the readings still fall under the CLA licence and completing our compliance adminstration. The TLS ‘digitising and lists’ team are updating each link in the online reading list. We are prioritising first those lists we have been told are in use, and then those modules which are running in 2017-18 according to Portico. For those lists not running this year, we will be in touch with the department to ask if the readings will be needed at a future date.
Please note: if you have copied any links to add to Moodle or other places, we won’t be able to update these as we only have access to the online reading lists. Let us know if you find any broken links and we will create a working URL for your online reading list.
If you have used the ‘Request review’ option on your reading list in the past year, we will have auotmatically double-checked the links on your reading list.
If you have any questions, please email, or call the TLS team on 020 3549 5729 (internal x65729).
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 1 December 2017
The 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.
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 26 October 2017
The question we are asked most often by teaching staff is why not just use Moodle for providing links and pdfs to readings? Today’s case study shows one student’s experience of this.
A student contacted the library e-resources team as she had difficulty accessing an article online. Her Moodle course is well organised and gives key readings with some great context and reading notes. Several of the readings, however, led to an error page instead of the online article.
This is happening for two reasons. The URL for the reading was copied and pasted directly from the web address bar. For some resources, such as OVID, the web address contains session information or search terms: it is not a stable link. When re-visited later, the link no longer works.
A second problem is that even if a stable link is used, it does not include the information which prompts students to log in with their UCL details.
In the majority of cases, both these issues can be resolved by bookmarking from ReadingLists@UCL in the recommended way – using a bookmarking button, much like Pinterest or del.icio.us. When you first set up a list we will offer a quick orientation to show you how to do this.
For a handful of specialist databases, bookmarking requires an extra step. You can ‘Request review’ when your list is complete, and TLS will check and amend links for you; or ask TLS to create the bookmarks for you. For those who prefer to be self-sufficient we have some guides: in the tag cloud to the right, click on ‘Non-standard bookmarking‘.
How can this situation be avoided on your course?
- Set up an online reading list and have a brief orientation with TLS
- Switch on the ‘Library Resources’ block to make a stable link from Moodle to the online list
- Let your students know about the online reading list!
- Remove any articles from Moodle to avoid duplication of work, and confusion for students
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 4 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.
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.
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 3 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!
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:
- our webpages ReadingLists@UCL for Students
- in this blog, the tag ‘student’ pulls out items that may be relevant to you
- get in touch any time! You can contact us by email, or there is a ‘Feedback’ button at the top of the reading lists page.
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!