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Reading Lists

What is Talis?

Talis Aspire Reading Lists provide an interactive resource list that allows students to access the correct materials - when, where, and how they need them. By providing links to online resources and displaying library availability as well as allowing them to make notes and set reading intentions, the lists allow for greater accessibility and interactivity for students.

The leaflet below details the benefits of using Talis Aspire Reading Lists, including information on the digitisation service.

If you are new to Talis or would just like a refresher, these pages will help you to get started. Alternatively, you can request a 1-to-1 appointment by emailing

N.B. As we use a different catalogue in Southend, members of staff at our Southend Campus should email to get their lists set up on Talis.

Why use Talis?

Reading lists created using Talis can transform how students interact with their modules' assigned resources. Using these online reading lists can have huge benefits for students. The best practice guide below, created with contributions from University of Essex students and academic colleagues, gives information and top tips on how to best realise these benefits.

There are extra functionalities in Talis that make for a more interactive list. Some key reasons to use Talis are:

  • It provides live library availability as well as enabling the addition of notes to individual bookmarks.
  • Talis provides the option of digitising articles or chapters that we do not have available electronically, allowing access for all students on the course. You would not need to worry about copyright restrictions or having to scan a chapter yourself as the library will process the request for you.
  • It also makes it easier for the library to purchase the correct materials. When you publish your list it gets sent to the library for review, where we check that we have everything we need in the library and let you know if there are any issues with any of the materials on your list.
  • You can integrate your Talis reading list into your Moodle page so that students never need to leave Moodle to access their reading list. To find out more see here.

What do I need to do, and what will the Library do?

You can find what is expected of a module supervisor in relation to their reading list, and what is expected of library staff below.

Responsibility of module supervisors

  • Take responsibility for the creation and maintenance of the reading list for any module for which you are the module supervisor
  • Attend any relevant training where necessary, or familiarise yourself with the guidance available from the library website
  • Ensure that reading list material is relevant and up-to-date, with any changes made to the online reading list
  • Publish updated reading lists after rollover each year by the deadline given
  • Communicate with the library reading list team regarding the resourcing of materials and any issues encountered, e.g. article links not working, broken webpages
  • Make it clear which readings are essential by setting importance
  • Make use of student notes to provide clear information to students about particular resources 
  • Identify chapter or section information for books where appropriate to aid with digitisation 
  • Provide access to the online reading list on the module’s Moodle page
  • Ensure all readings lists are provided via the online reading list, and that no scans or PDFs of articles or chapters are provided on Moodle

Responsibility of library staff

  • Provide training, advocacy and guidance to all academic and support staff who require it, both in person and online
  • Review published reading lists, checking for and acquiring resources in line with the purchasing policy
  • Check published reading lists for any errors and make amendments as required (e.g. relinking articles or broken webpages, requesting digitisation, editing metadata
  • Engage in open communication with module supervisors when essential resources are unobtainable in an appropriate format (e.g. not available as an e-book, unable to secure digitisation, out of print), seeking an alternative reading where possible
  • Seek copyright clearance for the digitisation of copyrighted materials, advising module leaders if this cannot be obtained
  • Ensure the digital availability of all essential items wherever possible, highlighting times where this is not the case to the module supervisor
  • Treat items not marked as essential as further reading. Where no items are marked, contact the module leader to double check this and review all as further if no response received in 3 days
  • Check student numbers for all lists that are received for review via ESIS, to ensure that purchasing is as accurate as possible
  • Ensure lists are linked to the hierarchy and assigned to the module supervisor wherever possible 
  • Purchase newer editions of texts wherever available, unless it has been indicated otherwise
  • Monitor high demand resource usage, contacting module supervisors where appropriate
  • Communicating any issues and ideas for improvement to Talis