Reading List Service

Reading List Service

What is the Reading List Service?

The Reading List Service is run by the Library, and designed to support you in the creation of integrated and engaging reading lists for your students, providing them with easy access to their course materials. By creating your reading list in this way, you can help to build the library collection (both digital and print) to ensure it meets your student’s needs. Through this service, in 2022-23 we processed more than 1100 reading lists and added over 350 e-books to our digital collections.

Guidance on how to manage existing reading lists and create new lists is available via step by step tutorials in the Leganto Toolkit

As part of the service you can expect the Library too:

  • Purchase all essential items not currently held by the library - subject to availability and affordability. 
  • Purchase ebooks before print where it is affordable to do so
  • Notify you by email if an ebook is not available
  • Purchase two copies of the print version, if possible, where an ebook is not available
  • Notify you by email if a print copy is also not available

Should you have any queries please contact the Reading List Service team via email:



Leganto is the University’s new system for managing reading lists. It makes preparing and sharing course reading lists easy, and allows you and your students to make the best possible use of our library resources. By using Leganto you can update and create reading lists that are relevant, interactive, and accessible for your students to access via the VLE.

It is also integrated with MyMBChB, MyBDS and MyPA, the VLEs that specifically support the Medicine (MBChB), Dentistry (BDS) and Physician Associate Studies (MSc) programmes.

Leganto enables you to add links to materials from practically any resource, e.g. print and ebooks, online journals, websites and YouTube videos. Linking directly to items in Primo means that the students can access the material quickly and if the journal changes publisher, any link updated in Primo will be immediately updated in your list. It also saves the time you would spend uploading Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) coversheets for material in copyright.

Electronic Resources and Digitisation

Wherever possible, we will ensure your essential reading will be linked to an electronic resource.

When you recommend a particular chapter within a printed book which we already own  - and it is covered by the CLA Licence - you can request fully accessible scan for your students to access digitally via the course reading list. 

For books covered by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence, a maximum of 10% or one chapter of a book may be scanned for teaching purposes. There is no restriction on copying from books which are out of copyright. For journal titles covered by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence, a maximum of one article per journal issue/part may be scanned for teaching purposes. More information on this can be found via the copyright webpages. 

If studying on campus, students will be able to see the physical stock we have in the library and reserve/borrow items on our shelves. 

Creating a Reading List

Guidance for the 2023/24 Academic Year

The rolled over reading lists are ready for you to review, update and extend for the 2023/2024 academic year. 

In 2023/2024 we will continue to purchase the essential items on your reading list not currently available through the library - where costs and licencing permit. Any purchases made through the Reading List Service will come from the dedicated reading list fund, and not through your department budget. 

Building your Reading List

Discover how to create and manage your reading list by following the steps below. Alternatively, if you prefer visual guidence, you can find tutorial videos on our Leganto Toolkit

Step 1. Access your reading list

Use the following route to ensure the reading list links to the VLE course:
• Navigate to your course area in the VLE
• Click through to Leganto – this short video demonstrates the steps in MyAberdeen

Step 2. Prepare your reading list

New Reading lists
• If the course does not have an existing reading list, you will be prompted to Create a new reading list from scratch; click on CREATE IT
• Enter a title for the new reading list. TIP: add the year to the title. Why? In the future you, as the
instructor, will have access to multiple years of reading lists. Recommended format: EL1009 (2022-23): Acts of Reading. Click on CREATE
• Select a template: there are two templates to give an initial structure for your reading list: Essential, Recommended, Additional for arranging items by priority; Weekly for arranging items by date. Once selected, the base template can be adapted. If neither template is suitable, click on Blank.
• If you selected Blank, click on New Section; enter a Section title (this can be edited later)

All Reading lists
IMPORTANT: please enter the number of students registered on the course. Why? You can view the
usage of items; we can decide if more ebook licences are required. To do this:
• Click on the ellipsis (…) to the right of the reading list title
• Click on Manage course association
• Click on the ellipsis (…) beside the course title; select Edit course
• Enter the number of students in the No. of participants box; click on UPDATE & CLOSE

Step 3. Add items

Add items – whole books
• Click on ADD ITEMS+; click on Library Search
• Make sure the Search in box is set to search All Library Collections
• Click on Advanced Search; search using the primary title and one of the authors’ family names.
TIP: do not search by ISBN – ebooks often have multiple ISBNs
• In the results, look for the ebook entry containing Available in format(s): E - Electronic
• No ebook entry? Look for the print entry containing Available in format(s): P - Physical
• To move the entry to the list, either:
• Click on the entry; select the correct section from the drop-down list; click on ADD
• Drag and drop the entry into the list

Add items – journal articles
• Click on the ADD ITEMS+ button; click on Library Search
• Make sure the Search in box is set to Search everything
• Click on Advanced Search; search using the primary article title and one of the authors’ family
names. TIP: do not search by DOI – Leganto struggles to find articles by DOI.
• Move the entry to the list in the same way as whole book entries
Other methods of adding items
• Add an item manually for items that cannot be found using Library Search
• Use the Leganto Cite It! widget for webpages, including an online bookseller’s webpage for a
book we don’t hold as an ebook or in print
• Steps on how to do both of the above and more are available in our extended guide

Step 4. Contact the Library

Purchase Requests
There are five tags.

Three tags are visible to the students: Essential; Recommended; Additional and highlight to the student the importance of the reading recommended. They help the students prioritise the material and allow the Reading List Service to gauge potential use.

To apply tags:

  • Add the item to your reading list in Leganto
  • Within the entry, click on Add Tag
  • Select one the correct tag from the drop-down list

In addition to the above tags, there are two tags for requesting an ebook purchase.

If you have essential texts that the Library does not have as ebooks, we will purchase these titles, subject to availability and affordability. Additionally, if there is a title you would like the library to purchase as part of your goal to decolonise your reading list, we will purchase these titles. 

  • To make a purchase request, select the correct tag, either "Essential Item – please purchase" or "Decolonisation Item - please purchase"; that’s all you need to do
  • We will investigate ebook availability and will email you if the ebook is unavailable/unaffordable
  • If the ebook is unavailable/unaffordable, and we don’t hold the title in print, we will purchase two print copies for the library, subject to availability and affordability

Digitisation Requests
If you require extracts (e.g. book chapters or journal articles) that we only hold in print and are covered by the CLA Licence, we will digitise the extracts, meeting accessibility standards. We will then add the links to your reading list. To make a digitisation request:

  • Add the item to your reading list
  • Click on the entry to open the record; click on Digitisation request
  • Check the CLA scanning permissions
  • Complete the required fields; click on SUBMIT

Please note: if you require an essential extract that we do not hold in print, we will purchase a digitisation of the extract, subject to availability and affordability.

Step 5. Publish your reading list

The default publication status for all reading lists is set to Draft.

To make the list visible to students, it is necessary to change the status to Published. To publish your list click on the PUBLISH button at the top of the list. Your reading list is now available to the students.

By default, all published lists will be openly available to anyone via the University’s Leganto webpage. This includes people outwith the University. If you require your reading list to be restricted to students registered on a course, please email

All reading lists left in draft will be automatically purchased by the Reading List Service on the third week of eaching each term.

Availability of Requested Items

Once we have purchased the ebook you have requested, it will be accessible via your reading list as soon as it is activated by the provider. 
If we are unable to purchase an ebook you have requested, we will notify you by email, and if we do not hold a print copy of the title in the Library we will purchase two copies.
If we are unable to purchase any print copies, you will also be notified by email. 

Extracts e.g., book chapters and journal articles 
Once you have made a digitisation request via Leganto, a link to the extract will be available on the reading list. 
If we are unable to digitise an extract, we will notify you by email.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any Leganto training for academic staff?

There is a Leganto toolkit which includes step-by-step instructions detailing the process on how to create an new reading list and maintain a rolled over one from the previous year.  

Training sessions can be booked online here

Additionally, please send any enquiries or questions can be answered by emailing

Will an online reading list ensure all recommended reading is online?

We will link your essential reading to an electronic resource wherever possible. If you recommend a chapter within a printed book which we already own, you can make a digitisation request via Leganto. If the title is covered by the CLA Licence, we will be able to scan that chapter and offer access to it via a link on your reading list.

Alternatively, your students will be able to see the availability and location of our physical stock by clicking on the citation in Leganto and can reserve and borrow items from our shelves.

As per the previous year, we expect that costs and licences will mean that some titles will not be affordable and licence restrictions may limit online availability. Therefore, the Library is continuing to share reading list requests with Blackwell’s to support you and your students. To avoid any delay at all, if you have plan to recommend that your students purchase any books, or you normally work with Blackwell's on book bundles for your courses, please email the details directly to the Blackwell’s Store Manager.

Why should I identify the essential items for my course in 2023/24?

If you identify your essential items now, we will check if the items are available digitally and purchase licences for them (subject to affordability). If we are unable to acquire a digital copy, we aim to purchase two printed copies from which - if covered by the CLA licence - 10% or a chapter can be digitised and accessed from your reading list. 

Tagged items within your Leganto reading list will be checked and purchased as quickly as possible, with the Library team aiming to get as many items available prior to the start of term as possible. All requests will be processed in the order they are received - the closer to the start of term your request is submitted, the higher the risk that will not be processed until after teaching has begun. 

You can identify your essential items by adding the tag "Essential Item - Please Purchase E-Copy" to that line on your reading list. Guidance on how to do this is available via the links above. 

How many essential texts can I request the Library to order for 2023/24?

The Library will purchase any essential texts not already available, subject to availability and affordability. To make a purchase request simply add the tag “Essential Item – please purchase e-copy” to the item on Leganto. Additional support can be found on this page. 

How are books being prioritised for purchase?

Wherever possible, a digital copy will be purchased. If a digital copy is not available and the item is not already held in the Library, we will buy two print copies for our collections.

Will there be a limit to how many students can access a particular item?

While some of our eBook licences are for an unlimited number of simultaneous users, others are for a limited number of users – for example one user, or three users at a time. Details on the limited licences are included, where possible, within the reading list and in the Primo record.

Will there be more licenses available to support e-book access for multiple students?

By including the approximate number of students when you are creating/reviewing your lists we are better equipped to make decisions on the licensing required. If additional licences for existing holdings can be purchased cost effectively, we will consider doing so.

Why are you asking me to estimate the number of students on my course?

Entering the student numbers for the course enables you to view the usage of the items on your reading list. It also helps us assess whether additional licences are required for eBooks we already hold.

What is the difference between an eBook and an eTextbook?

Publishers determine the categorisation of their books and often classify popular books that contain study materials and exercises specifically designed for students as textbooks. Library licences for eTextbook or eTexts are tied to the number of students on a course and must be renewed annually. Unfortunately, the licensing model applied by publishers means that eTexts are considerably more expensive than eBooks for the Library to purchase. Currently we are unable to purchase eTexts as part of the Reading List Service.

My courses rely on students being able to access printed items within the Library collections. How can they do this?

All our libraries are open to registered students and staff with occupancy levels in compliance with sector guidelines.

Will my students need to learn anything to use Leganto?

Leganto is intuitive, but we will be publishing resources to help students navigate the tool. 
It will make it easy to find and access what they need to read, watch, and listen to, all in one place as it links directly to Primo, our library catalogue. As an instructor, you can add notes to the lists to fine tune student engagement.

Help and support 

Support in learning how to edit an existing Leganto reading list as well as how to create a brand new one can be found via: 

All of our guidance materials are regularly updated to reflect any changes or as issues are raised. Additional training material's will be published throughout the academic year. 

Reading List Team, December 2023