Reading list design: what makes a 'good list'?

Reading lists will naturally differ by subject, level and its intended purpose, e.g. to be either a comprehensive guide or a starting point. However, feedback from students at a number of institutions suggests some common principles - as listed below - that constitute a 'good list'. A list that incorporates these features could expect to be easier to navigate, more engaging and more accessible to its intended audience.

Suggestions for designing your reading list

  1. Availability: ensuring your key resources are available online, e.g. ebooks, online articles, scanned chapters, significantly improves student access and reduces frustrations. If an item is a key reading and is not available electronically, liaise with your Information Adviser to see if this can be arranged
  2. Usability: organising your list into relevant sections helps students navigate your list
  3. Guidance: highlighting the importance of each resource (e.g. 'key', 'recommended'), and providing contextual information through annotations for specific items helps student decide on the resources which will be most relevant to them
  4. Variety:  incorporating different resource types, e.g. TV and radio clips can stimulate interest and cater for different learning styles
  5. Keep up to date: reviewing your list each year, adding new materials and removing old, keeps your list refreshed and up to date. Using the Aspire dashboard provides you with usage information to help consider changes
  6. What we need from you. Please request a review of your reading list at least 8 weeks before teaching begins, to allow for checking and purchasing
This University of Brighton list successfully brings together a number of the above principles to win recognition by the developers of Aspire.
Please contact your local Information Adviser should you wish to discuss using the above principles in your reading list.