Skip to Main Content

Library Services



Reading Lists @ UCL

A guide for UCL teaching and academic staff.

Purpose and Disclaimer

This guidance has been created to aid teaching staff who are looking to review and diversify reading lists in the context of the UCL-wide Liberating the Curriculum initiative.

A shelf of books authored by women of colour

This page is a work in progress and we welcome your feedback and contributions. 

We use the term 'Liberating' to encompass the many diversifying and decolonising initiatives, without emphasis on any topic or group of people. This page enjoys the narrow focus of reading lists only: for more on UCL Library's other work with Liberating the Collections see the Library Liberating the Collections webpages.

For help with reading list content please contact your Subject Liaison or Site Librarian

For additions or corrections to this page, the guide author is ReadingLists@UCL.

UCL Case Studies

Online reading lists are rich in useful data which can be extracted if you wish to analyse the content for diversity (see the box to the right on how to extract data).  Several studies have used different approaches to this, for example Imperial and LSE.  Limitations to this approach include the problematic issue of identifying race, gender or background from author names; inferring readings are Global South / North from publisher or place of publication (and the broad-brush assumptions about views in those areas); and there being no indicator of the nuance of different views or voice within bibliographic metadata.  Nonetheless, it can be a helpful starting point to take an overview of your list before moving into deeper analysis.  

Here two projects from UCL departments use reading lists to consider diversity in their modules.

Political Science

The UCL Inclusive Curriculum Project looked at the diversity of teaching staff and curriculum, using reading lists. The project was run by academic and student collaborators. The reading list data was enriched with the addition of coding for topic and diversity of ideas, as well as the gender of the person who selected the module readings.  The study findings include outcomes you might expect of reading list data: author gender and ethnicity, and geographic location. However the additional coding allowed for findings on inclusivity of topics, diversity of ideas /approaches, and how the person setting the readings could affect the diversity of readings chosen.  The team published article on their project.

A follow up project, the Shadow Curriculum Project, is underway. One of its outcomes will be an annotated reading list of diverse readings.

Economics quantitative analysis

Economics were interested in analysing undergraduate reading lists.  ReadingLists@UCL sent two reports from their online reading lists data: all reading lists for their department for the current academic year; and a report of 'all items' in all reading lists, detailing the bibliographic data such as author name, place of publication etc.

Read more on this project 'How diverse is your reading list? An analysis of BSc Economics curriculum' from the UCL Education Conference blog.

Resources and Reading

Reading Lists:

Liberating the Curriculum for ReadingLists@UCL - an online reading list set up by the library looking particularly at Decolonising and Liberating work with reading lists. To contribute resources, follow the note at the top of the list.


Viewing Lists:

Box of Broadcasts (BoB) has a rich store of audiovisual playlists complied by UK Universities.  Use the search function to look for public playlists on Decolonising, Liberating and other related subjects.  Kanopy is a collection of film and documentaries. UCL login required.  

Liberating the Curriculum [BoB Playlist].  This playlist of TV and radio programmes on this topic, curated by a UCL user. 

Black lives matter: broaden my bookshelf [BoB playlist]  from the University of Huddersfield.

Disability Pride Month [BoB playlist] created by the University of the Arts London (Wimbledon College of Arts Library)

Critical Race and Ethnic Studies [Kanopy playlist] Selected by Kanopy, this collection contains documentaries and films on topics including Identity, Asian-American stories, and Racism.


Inspired? Create your own reading list or BoB playlist for use in teaching, or as a collaborative exercise with students.  Let us know if you create a resource and we will collate a list for this page.

UCL Resources for teaching and inspiration

These interdisciplinary subject guides, subject specific reading lists and toolkits have been curated by UCL departments or UCL Library.  Re-use readings in your own reading lists, discover new works or authors, or direct students or colleagues to these pages when evaluating your modules.

Let us know about your own Liberated resource and we will link to it here.