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Reading lists: a guide for academics: Adding structure and notes

Adding structure and notes (video)

It's recommended that reading lists are structured to help students make the most out of the resources available to them. For example, a list which is broken down week by week with key reading identified and guidance notes added will be more useful than something long and unstructured.

In this video we:

  • highlight 3 examples of structured lists (time index 0:08-0.50)
And then show you how to:
  • create new sections (time index 0:51-1:45)
  • move sections around and how to nest sections (time index 1:45-2:02)
  • add items to the list (time index 2:02-2:31)
  • move items around within and between sections (time index 2:31-3:00)
  • mark-up whether an item is essential, recommended or optional reading (time index 3:00-3:37)
  • add notes for students or for library staff (time index 3:37-4:41)

Adding structure and notes (step-by-step instructions)

Click on 'My Lists' and then open your list. If a list doesn't yet exist for your unit then you will need to contact your Faculty Library Team to check you have the right permissions.


Sections are containers used to group sub-sections or resources together. These can be customised to structure the list to suit the learning needs of your students. Common list structures include:

  • Week by week. Each section contains reading identified for that particular week.
  • Importance. Sections could be labelled as 'key reading' or optional reading'.
  • Resources could be grouped in sections thematically.
The system is flexible enough for you to come up with your own section headings and to combine some of the suggestions above.
  • For example, it would be possible to add sub-sections (nesting) within the weekly structure to show what is key or optional reading for that week (see the video for an example).

Adding sections

To add a new section:

  1. Hover your cursor over the area you would like the new section to go.
  2. Three options will appear (Add resource / Add paragraph / Add section). Click on 'Add section'.

In the example provided, the new section would be added between weeks 2 and 3

Moving things around

You can move items within or between sections by:

  • Clicking and dragging the double sided arrows.
  • Or by clicking on the three dots and selecting the 'move up' or 'move down' options. Sections can be moved in the same way.
Notes and guidance

You can add notes for students to guide them in their reading:

  • Click on the three dots to add notes for students (e.g. please read chapter 1).
  • Guidance can also be provided by adding paragraphs or by adding a description to each section.

Use the 'Note for library' for anything you would like to bring to the attention of library staff.

  • For example, the library will automatically remove old editions from your lists and replace them as new editions are released. If for some reason you want to keep a specific edition on the list please add a note to alert the library.

Setting importance
  • Please choose either 'Essential', 'Recommended' or 'Optional' from the drop-down option next to each item.
  • Do this even if each section is labelled by importance (e.g. 'Key reading')
  • This enables the library to keep track of essential texts across different units to make sure we have sufficient copies in stock.