Reading Lists 2020-2021: advice for module coordinators

The Library is undertaking a check of Essential books on Aspire reading lists for 2020-2021 modules for the availability of ebooks to gain a true picture of the impact on individual lists and departments to inform planning, purchasing and liaison. There will be more information about the procedure and timescale soon.

Issues impacting the delivery of e-only reading lists

  • When purchasing books for the Library, it is frequently not possible to buy ebooks because they are not available with an institutional license. Just because a title is available as an ebook on a publisher’s website, or as a Kindle edition on Amazon, does not necessarily mean the Library can buy it for students and staff.
  • The availability of ebooks is not equal across all disciplines and some departments will be more adversely impacted than others
  • Ebooks can cost hundreds of pounds to purchase; either due to high pricing for a title or because an ebook only serves one or a few users so the Library has to buy multiple copies. Some ebooks are charged by usage over time and have to be “topped-up” on a regular basis.
  • The Library is able to digitise a chapter / 10% of a book and make it available online via the CLA HE license but some publishers / countries exclude themselves from the license
  • In 2019-2020 there were 1,569 modules with a published Aspire reading list with over 50,000 items on those lists.

Meanwhile you can

1. Create Aspire reading lists for new 2020-2021 modules

If you have a module returning from a previous year (2018-19 and prior), library staff are checking the Aspire archive for old lists and will contact you when these have been copied to draft.

2. Refresh your existing reading lists for 2020-2021 modules

  • Add new items
  • Add newer editions of essential books
  • Remove anything which is no longer needed
  • Consider adding chapter readings as appropriate which the Library can often digitise under CLA HE license
  • Consider adding other online content as appropriate such as journal articles and digitised sources such as historical books and periodicals, and television and radio programmes
  • Ensure that the importance is set in Aspire for Essential items – when the Library checks for e-availability it won’t be sufficient to have added them to a section called Essential, you must set the importance to Essential.
  • Republish the list to save the changes

At this stage you can add items whether or not you know they will be available online.

There is currently a range of online resources available temporarily from publishers which may not be available by the start of term.

3. Tell us if a 2020-2021 module is being moved to a different semester

4. Does your reading list reflect the resource requirements for the module?

Please ensure the reading list is the focal point for library resources

Help the Library to accurately gauge resource requirements, and plan accordingly, by adding all the reading and other resources required to the Aspire reading list. You can add books, chapters, journal articles, audio-visual content, web pages and more. 

Equally, please consider reducing the size of very long reading lists 

It could be more effective to have shorter, more focussed reading lists together with information skills training to enable students to discover online resources themselves rather than spoon-feeding with very lengthy lists. In 2019-2020 there were 87 Aspire lists with more than a hundred items.

5. Is your book available as an ebook?

If you have written a book which is on a module reading list, and you know there is no ebook available for library purchase, please contact your publisher to request one.

Your subject librarians are available for your questions about resourcing modules for 2020-2021 and to provide advice and assistance with Aspire by email, phone and MS Teams. Please do get in touch.

This short article from York St John gives further insight into the challenges facing HE libraries sourcing ebooks.