Policy and guidance on reading and resource lists

Updated on 5 October 2021

On this page

This Policy applies to all Schools and the taught programmes and modules for which they are responsible. Deviation from the expectations detailed in the Policy must be for compelling reasons and should be agreed with the Director of Academic and Corporate Governance and Library & Learning Centre Assistant Director (Research & Resources). Any such decisions should be communicated to the Library and Learning Centre (LLC) Resources team.


The principal aims of this Policy are to:

  • enhance the student learning experience through effective consideration and timely communication of the details of relevant texts and resources to support student learning
  • support appropriate communication between academic staff and the LLC so that physical stocks and licenses for e-resources appropriately match the requirements of students and academic staff
  • promote inclusive teaching practice.

Questions and suggestions

Questions on the implementation, or suggestions for improvement, of the Policy should be directed to the Director of Academic and Corporate Governance or Library & Learning Centre Assistant Director (Research & Resources). Questions about the resource list management software or bibliographic services should be directed to the LLC Resources Team.


The following key principles underpin the Reading and Resource List Policy:

  • clear and consistent information should be available to students about expectations on what they should be reading to support their learning
  • resource lists should be made available in advance of the teaching schedule to help students prepare to successfully undertake the module/programme and to enable provision of alternative formats for disabled students, where required
  • resource lists should be accessible from within the associated online learning module on My Dundee
  • recommended texts, journal articles and resources should be easily available through the LLC or by purchase by the student. Due consideration should be given to the potential costs incurred by students or the LLC in the development and updating of resource lists
  • resource lists should be realistic in terms of the volume of required reading, and provide appropriate commentary and signposting to the most relevant texts
  • appropriate consideration should be given to the use of e-books, e-journals and other e-resources to enhance accessibility and inclusive practice
  • resource lists should contain clear information regarding textbook editions and standard identifiers such as ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers) and DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers).



Module leaders are responsible for maintaining and updating their reading lists using the centrally provided reading list management software, and ensuring that lists are available to students in advance of the start of the module. Advice can be sought from the LLC and Alternative Formats Service on the provision of accessible texts, where required. Deans of Schools have ultimate responsibility in ensuring compliance with University policy.

Programme leaders have a key role to play, in liaison with module leaders, in ensuring that students are not required to buy an unreasonable number of books and online availability of resources is sufficient to support blended or remote learning.

Module leaders are responsible for liaising with the LLC Resources Team to agree on the academic learning resources that the library will provide to students.

With regard to this policy, the LLC is responsible for:

  • managing the resource lists service
  • ensuring My Dundee modules link to the appropriate resource lists
  • providing training and support to users of the resource list management software
  • advising staff on the digitisation of texts
  • selecting the most appropriate formats for purchase in line with budgetary, tendering and consortium restrictions
  • managing the overall budget available for e-textbook, learning packages, books and other academic learning resources within the library
  • ensuring an optimum percentage of core reading specified in resource lists is available, as permitted by budgetary restraints.

Student feedback

Feedback from students on the quality and accessibility of learning materials, and how the reading and resource materials support their learning should be actively sought and responded to. Feedback should include information relating to the:

  • clarity of the resource list
  • quantity of reading materials
  • cost of texts
  • usefulness of texts
  • availability of texts to all of the students.


Resource lists should be managed by module leaders (or equivalent for programmes that do not follow the standard modular structure) using the University’s centrally provided resource list management software


The content of resource lists should be clearly described to students under the following headings:


  • essential reading – suggest for student purchase
  • essential reading – available from the LLC in an online format where possible
  • recommended reading (defined as not essential, but relevant for assignments and/or useful alternative sources of information for the module)
  • further reading (defined as supplemental reading around the subject in order to further or deepen understanding).

The content of resource lists should be reviewed annually by module leaders or equivalent to:

  • ensure that all items are relevant, up-to-date and that book editions are clearly described with the correct ISBN (the most recent editions should be recommended unless there are pedagogical reasons for using older editions, in which case this should be made explicit to students and the LLC)
  • consider the availability of digital formats where relevant
  • ensure that the cost burden is reasonable where purchase is required by students
  • give due consideration to e-book and e-journal availability to support inclusive teaching.


  • Up-to-date resource lists should be available to students at least six weeks before the start of the module (or equivalent teaching unit)1. Ideally, reading and resource lists should be available as early as possible. After publication, no further changes should be made to the ‘essential reading’ category.
    • There should be clear guidance in the commentary that accompanies the resource list to alert first year students that purchase of texts is not advised until module choices have been selected and confirmed by the School.
  • New resource lists should ideally be made available to the LLC at the time of module approval or change, and no later than ten weeks before the start of the module (or equivalent teaching unit).
  • Annual revisions of existing resource lists should be provided to the LLC at least eight weeks before the start of the module (or equivalent teaching unit).
  • Module leaders should notify the LLC about any issues on availability of materials as early as possible.

Guidance to students

Clear and consistent terminology should be used, as described in Content.

Clarity should be provided to students about how they should approach the ‘Further Reading’ resource, where applicable, within the context of the module or equivalent.

Where alternatives are provided for core texts that students are required to purchase, module leaders (or equivalent) should provide a commentary to aid students with their choice. The commentary should be informed by student feedback where possible.

Cost considerations

The cost to students for essential purchases of resources to enable their learning should be considered at the programme level as well as at the module level. Programme teams should ensure that the learning resources that require purchase are not unduly burdensome for students.

Due consideration should be given to the potential cost of adapting material that is not accessible to blind and print disabled readers to alternative formats.

Accessibility considerations

When developing and reviewing reading lists, consideration should be given to the needs of blind and print disabled readers (see below).

Guidance, information and good practice

The LLC will provide training and support for users of the resource list management software. The LLC will also undertake to create, amend or correct existing resource lists, and any details should be sent to llc-resources@dundee.ac.uk. The software will be a single point of entry, and no duplication will be required. Resource lists will be available within the appropriate My Dundee module and included in the learning module template for each School. 

The LLC runs an e-preference policy, although this may be constrained by availability, costs, licensing, tender agreements and consortium purchasing arrangements.

The LLC manages the budget for all academic and scholarly resources across the University, and may make discretionary decisions about stock levels, format, demand and efficient purchasing.

The LLC can provide feedback to Schools on the use of the resource list management software and compliance, and support module leaders to investigate resource list usage statistics. The LLC will advise through the annual operational planning procedures on the level to which the overall library resources budget met School requirements.

The Copyright Licensing Agency licence 'Higher education licence for UUK/Guild HE members' allows the scanning (or digitisation) of extracts from books or journals, subject to certain limitations, for students to access via My Dundee. Where lecturers wish to use the licence to make material available to students, digitisation can be used for large classes, distance learning, or where material is out of print. Due to restrictions imposed by the licence, the digitisation service is run centrally, and staff should contact the LLC Resources team in the first instance, via llc-resources@dundee.ac.uk. Lecturers should not make available on My Dundee or elsewhere, copyright material (e.g. PDFs of journal articles) which have been harvested from e-journals or other copyrighted sources, and should consult the Library resources team for advice.

HEIs are required to provide equal and timely access to information for all people and pay due regard to legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People 2009. This is an anticipatory duty. Key considerations to enable inclusion are outlined below:

  • e-book formats offer greater access
  • materials published post 2008 are more readily available in suitable accessible formats
  • materials produced by publishers in the EU/Australia overall provide greater access for print disabled people
  • identification of a range of suitable alternative publications
  • consultation with the Alternative Formats Service when developing and reviewing resource lists to ensure that due consideration has been given to the availability of accessible material for blind and print disabled readers. Early contact (90 days) is necessary to enable the provision of alternative formats.

Disability Services can provide specific guidance and support to meet the needs of individual disabled students.

The Alternative Formats Service provides guidance for staff in selecting accessible e-resources and assessing the accessibility of reading materials. The Alternative Formats Service should be contacted as soon as possible when a disabled student is known to require alternative materials.


Hannah Whaley

Director of Library Services

Corporate information category Academic standards, Learning and teaching