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!
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 21 September 2017
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.
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!
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 11 September 2017
Ovid is a large database which provides access to many journals, books and some audio-visual resources. If you need to bookmark a journal article from here you will find the link is not stable: when you return to the reading the link may not work – and therefore is not helpful to your students.
The easy solution
Make a basic bookmark and the library will turn this into a stable link for you:
- Bookmark the page as usual: in Ovid, this works beautifully so all the bibliographic data will pull through nicely.
- Use the ‘Library note’ to flag that the link needs upgrading.
- When you have completed your reading list, click ‘Request review’. TLS will be notified to check your list and we will update the link to a stable link.
How is this done?
A surprising number of academics, learning technologists and librarians ask how they can do this themselves, so the following is for them:
- Navigate to the article
- First click on ‘Email jumpstart’ and from the popup box, copy the jumpstart URL (click on the image below for the screenshot)
- Then bookmark as usual from the article, but replace the ‘Weblink’ with the ‘jumpstart’ URL.
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 11 September 2017
PEP-Web is a database for Psychoanalytic resources (books, journals, video etc.). It used to be a little more tricky to bookmark from however when this was flagged to Talis, the software owners behind ReadingLists@UCL, they were able to create a fix so the two systems now interact well.
When you search through the library catalogue for a journal, and click ‘View online’ you
may be offered more than one journal provider:
PEP-Web has a good archive back to the 1920s and is very specialist, so it may be the only source for some readings. From this screen click on ‘Go’ and then navigate to the relevant reading.
Journal articles in PEP-Web do not have a DOI however the online reading list system will create a good bookmark despite this.
- Click on your ‘Add to my bookmarks’ button as usual and the correct bibliographic data will be pulled through into the bookmark.
- The weblink is also stable, so you need do nothing more than save the bookmark into a particular reading list!
If you are aware of any databases or resources that don’t bookmark well, please let us know so we can work with Talis to solve this.
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 11 September 2017
Harvard Business Review articles are often key resources for students across UCL, particularly in the UCL School of Management.
UCL Library subscribes to this resource online, making it readily available to students. It is available through the EBSCOhost platform. However academics wishing to direct students to readings will find that technical measures inhibit them from creating a durable link to an article. This is to reinforce the licence terms which do not allow academic institutions to use HBR material in ‘electronic course packs, persistent linking from syllabi or by any other means of incorporating the content into course resources.’.
How to help students to key readings, whilst still respecting the licence restrictions? You can signal to students which readings are interesting to read, and the library will turn this into a permitted link at the most granular level allowed.
- Bookmark the page as usual, so enough of the bibliographic detail is saved to be clear which reading you are recommending. Even more helpful, add the ‘Accession number’ from the article into the student or library note.
- Use the ‘Library note’ to flag that this is an HBR link which needs upgrading.
- When you have completed your reading list, click ‘Request review’. TLS will be notified to check your list and we will update the link to a stable link, from where students can reasonably click to search for the relevant article.
By Hazel M Ingrey, on 1 September 2017
Everyone thinks summer is a quiet time in the library, however the TLS is at its most busy! Along with most academic departments, we are preparing reading materials ready for term start and setting up new reading lists.
We have also had many excellent questions about reading lists. Some are so useful or universal we thought it would be helpful to share them, along with the answers.
Q: I am a Departmental Administrator updating our course information. The titles of some of modules have changed and I wondered who to send the updated information to, so they can be amended on the online Reading Lists?
A: Email any module code / title changes to: email@example.com This account is checked by more than one person each day: we will update your lists as soon as possible and let you know when they are complete. If a module code has changed, do also check that the link from Moodle to the reading list still works.
Q: I had some changes on my 2016/17 reading list that I didn’t publish. When the lists rolled forward into 2017/18 those changes were lost. I can’t recall what the changes were and don’t have the references anymore, is there any chance that there is an archived version of the list to look at?
A: I am pleased you asked because it is very easy for us to retrieve archived lists! We have made the 2016-17 version available again: once you have looked over both versions let us know which one you prefer to keep live and we will archive the other version.
Q: Last year I used the Moodle tool ‘Reading List items’ to embed readings from my reading list more directly into Moodle. After the Moodle and reading lists roll overs, not all these links are working well. Do I have to re-embed them all?
A: Some teaching staff find this Moodle tool very helpful, to pinpoint sections or readings for specific weeks. The Moodle and ReadingLists@UCL teams have liaised to create some instructions: ‘Displaying your Reading List in Moodle’. They explain the most basic and stable way of linking from Moodle to reading list, using the ‘Library Resources’ block; they also show the more sophisticated integration, using the ‘Reading Lists Items’ tool. Finally, there is specific note of Caution ‘What you need to do before each academic year’ which explains how to update any broken links.
We hope this helps. If you need help with any of the above or have your own questions, you are welcome to call us any time (020 3549 5729 or internal x65729), email, or drop in to our office in Senate House! The ReadingLists@UCL webpages also have further support and information.