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Reading Lists @ UCL

A guide for UCL teaching and academic staff.

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Here we provide best practices for creating, maintaining and reviewing your reading lists, along with examples of reading lists that follow some or all of these practices.

  • The Essentials: a check-list to guide you through getting started with a reading list, to help ensure items are available and accessible for your students.
  • Advanced: develop your module list further and utilise the reading list to its full capacity.
  • Reading list examples: we've picked out reading lists from a variety of disciplines at UCL to give you ideas for your own list

The Essentials

Use the Essentials check list to ensure your list meets best practices.

  • Add yourself as ‘List Owner’ so students and the library know who to contact.
  • Organise your list by week, seminar or topic using ‘Sections’.
  • Flag readings as ‘Essential, ‘Recommended' or Optional’ using the tags provided.
  • Does your list include all readings needed for the student to pass the module?
  • Is your list short enough to navigate easily? If you would like to include a fuller bibliography of non-essential readings, consider creating this as a separate document, outside of ReadingLists@UCL.
  • Liaise with Library Services to source online versions of readings, digitise readings using the CLA licence or find out more about databases and other resources in your subject area.
  • Complete the list 8 weeks before the module starts. This gives the library time to source readings and liaise with you about alternatives if needed.
  • Currency: has your list been updated this academic year? Make updates and publish to give students confidence in the currency of the list.
  • Check there are no broken links. Alternatively, you can request a ‘Review’ for the library to check all links work.
  • Link your list to Moodle.  


To develop your module further, use our Advanced checklist:

  • Include a variety of resources.  Chose from UCL's subscribed resources of broadcast TV, image databases, newspapers and more.
  • Future-proof your list by using Open Access or UCL-subscribed e-resources. These will have durable links whereas resources infringing copyright may be removed and are not a good example of academic practice for students
  • Add your own annotations to each reading using the ‘Student notes’ field. Giving context or guidance leads to more engagement from your student.
  • Liberated curriculum: include resources from a variety of voices, by using authors with different backgrounds and viewpoints. Inclusive, diverse readings model good practice in research to students. For toolkits, case studies and suggested reading, see the Liberating the Curriculum page in this guide.
  • Connected Curriculum: use the reading list to encourage students into their own research.  You could give students their own section of a reading list to add readings they have found when researching a particular topic.
  • Incorporate your reading list into class teaching to embed the importance of reading and research into student’s academic practice.  For example, set questions or tasks which require use of your reading list to answer