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Resource Lists

Resource Lists: guidelines

Resource lists enable you, our academic staff, to curate a powerful learning and teaching tool. A well-structured, inclusive list of high-quality content supports our students to learn, to manage their study time more effectively and guides discovery and access to content that is relevant to their subject.

The University is committed to high-quality, inclusive resource lists in support of the learning and teaching undertaken at Derby, enshrined in our institutional Resource Lists Policy

For guidance on creating, managing and publishing your resource list please check out our training materials.

Resource lists should be regularly reviewed, at least once per year.

When to review and publish your resource list

For standard teaching, we recommend following the timescales below to help ensure that any new resources are available for your students.


Deadline for review submission

Trimester One 15 August
Trimester Two 15 December
Trimester Three 1 April
How to get the most out of your online resource list - for you and your students

a) Ensure your reading list is maintained on the University’s online reading lists platform and has a registered ‘owner’.

You will need to ensure that your reading list is created and maintained on the University’s reading lists system, with this being the definitive reading list for the module.

This ensures consistency of experience for students accessing your list, enables them to click through and directly access items included.

You should also ensure your list has a registered ‘owner’. Typically, we would expect this to be the module leader.

b) Identify the importance of each item

All texts should have an importance selected. Items must be identified as ‘essential’, ‘recommended’ or ‘further’.


  • Students expected to consult these to understand module content
  • A ‘set text’
  • Referred to multiple times across a module of Programme.


  • Students are advised to consult these.
  • Specific texts to supplement essential reading
  • Expected to read at least some material

Further Reading

  • More in-depth research on topics covered by the module
  • Support for different assignment topics
  • Help to broaden and deepen understanding
  • Items included under this category should not act as a substitute for a bibliography of the subject

Setting the importance of items allows your students to plan their reading and research more easily and informs library purchasing. If no importance is selected, then the Library will treat that resource as ‘further’ reading.

c) Structure your list

Structure your reading list to complement your teaching style. For example, structure by weekly reading, organise by theme or by importance level. This makes it easier for your students to structure and plan their work.

d) Provide realistic reading expectations

Very long reading lists become difficult for the student to navigate and for you to keep updated. Think about how much time your students should be spending on reading.

We recommend that lists should have no more than 50 titles as research shows that longer lists can be off putting for students. The Library will purchase up to 50 items only from Reading Lists (Essential, Recommended or Further). Where more items are needed on lists, which exceeds the maximum number of items (e.g., for deeper exploration of the subject, detailed thematic reading, or to spark independent student research) these can be added as ‘exploratory reading’. The Library will not purchase items marked as exploratory, and it is therefore suggested that these items are sourced from the existing collections. Notes to students should explain the nature of this section and the expectations for how it is to be used.

The resources that you choose for your list should be easily accessible to your students. Whilst we will always try to obtain or digitise items, we are not always able to source out of print books, some video content and journal articles where we don’t already have a subscription. If an item proves impossible to obtain the Library will inform you.

e) Is the whole item required or just an extract such as a chapter or article?

Consider requesting a digitised extract so students can access a key chapter or article instantly within the Reading List should the whole item not be required. Under UK Copyright legislation the Library can make a digital copy of either 10% or one chapter/article, whichever is greater, of a book/journal.

a) Suitability to academic level

Consider the suitability of items placed on your reading list in accordance with the academic level of your students. This helps foster inclusive learning and understanding.

b) Diversity

It is critically important to our University that we are able to cultivate a global mindset. The reading you recommend should recognise the diversity of the student cohort and help to make learning a more inclusive experience, encourage greater student engagement and reduce barriers to discussion and attainment.

When you review your reading list, consider the following:

  • To what extent does your reading list enable students to learn about, and compare and contrast the contributions of writers and thinkers of diverse backgrounds, academic roots and national contexts?
  • How could you ensure that your reading list includes a diverse range of perspectives, experiences, thinking and analyses?

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Update your list with more recent content and the contributions of contemporary thinkers and writers from diverse backgrounds.
  • Evaluate the demographic group or cultural identity of the authors.
  • Reflect on any unconscious bias you might have displayed in selecting resources, and consider how to address this.
  • Could this become a topic for discussion with students – especially if you find it difficult to find examples from marginalised groups/authors?
  • Encourage students to critique the list and suggest additional/alternative resources.

a) Relevance and currency of material, as appropriate to the subject area

Your list should be kept current and relevant. In general, reading lists should list the most recent editions of recommended books. Lists should be regularly updated to ensure that readings are still relevant and up to date. Review your list regularly, at least once per year, to ensure items are still relevant and up to date.


Items included on your list should be reputable scholarly, academic and/or professional/technical sources. Other sources which fall outside of this definition, but which develop critical thinking, challenge accepted wisdom, or extend reading are also encouraged, with appropriate instruction/narrative provided.

Reflect module, Programme and University objectives

Development of lists and their contents should be reflective of module learning objectives. Lists should be designed for individual modules, but with the whole Programme in mind to enable learning scaffolds to be built across the levels of a Programme and facilitate our students’ academic development. 

Research informed teaching and learning

Where appropriate surface the outputs of University of Derby innovation and research through your reading list, linking to the University’s open access repository, UDORA. This supports a strategic aim of the University that our research should support our teaching and learning.