Reading List Service

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Guidance for Second Half Session

Many thanks to academic staff for your patience and support over the past few months as the Reading List Service project team worked to introduce lists for all submitted first half-session courses.  In 1HS we processed over 500 Reading Lists and added over 400 e-books to our digital collections. 

The project is now in phase 2 and supports second half-session and summer courses. To balance resourcing requirements for this project against those needed to keep our libraries open, a maximum of two essential items per course are being checked, processed and purchased (where possible). We are not collecting full reading lists - if you have more than two essential items on your list, we recommend you share these additional items with students as you have done so in the past.

The deadline for submitting two essential items was Monday 30 November however we continue to process requests beyond this date. Please complete the simple form - we would expect this to take no more than 10-15 minutes in most cases. Submitting key items gives us the opportunity to enhance the Library's collections and support teaching and study. We aim to check, purchase (within financial limitations) and create lists which will be available within the VLE for the start of teaching in January. We are processing forms in the order in which we receive them. 

As with 1HS, we expect that costs and licences mean that some titles will not be affordable and licence restrictions may limit availability online. Therefore, for the second half-session we have shared received forms with Blackwell’s to help them support you and your students. If you have other essential books that you will be recommending your students purchase, or you normally work with Blackwell's on book bundles for your courses, please email the details to Greig Watt, Blackwell’s Store Manager, at so that he can ensure the campus store has them in stock.

With the expertise gained from the first-half session experience of providing online Reading Lists, and the physical opening of our libraries, we aim to:

  • Purchase e-books where it is affordable for us to do so
  • Where an e-book is not available, and the item is not already held in the Library, we will buy one copy of the print version if available
  • Provide a regularly updated report on all processed items. This is available from a password-protected document found in FAQ 2 below. Individual emails will not be sent to list owners. Direct access to this report will help us to keep you up to date and allow you to coordinate your responses at a school level.

The FAQs on this page provide further information. If you have any issues using the form or any questions please contact the team at

Thank you
Simon Bains, University Librarian        Ruth Taylor, Vice Principal for Education

2. How do I know if the items I requested are available?

Second Half-Session

This password-protected Excel spreadsheet provides updates on what we have been able to make available in online and print format. This spreadsheet is updated regularly and replaces the emails used in the first half-session.

The spreadsheet was updated on Monday 05 July. Please note that items are still being processed and will be added to the next version of the document.

This short video explains how you can find and access reading lists for courses in MyAberdeen.

First Half-Session

Please consult this Excel Spreadsheet, as it contains details of requested titles that we have NOT been able to purchase to support the Reading List Service. 

The spreadsheet is arranged into two different worksheets:

  • No ebook available for purchase - the requested title has either never been produced as an ebook, or not with a licence that allows it to be bought by an academic library

  • Only available as e-textbook - these titles are not the same as general ebooks, and have much higher costs. Currently we are unable to purchase e-textbooks to support the Reading List Service. See FAQ 19 below for further details.

The spreadsheet is sorted by Course Code.

3. How is Leganto related to the Reading List Service?

Leganto is the University’s new system for managing reading lists. It makes preparing and sharing course reading lists easy, and it makes the best use of our library resources. For the launch of the service in September 2020 library staff will assist with moving your reading lists to Leganto and into the VLE. In later phases of the service you will be able to update and produce reading lists that are relevant, interactive and accessible for your students to access via the VLE.

4. Why should I send you two essential items for my Second Half Session course?

So that we can help to build the library collection (both digital and print) to ensure it meets your student’s needs.

The new service, when fully launched, will allow you to add materials subject to copyright or licensing restrictions, from practically any resource – print and e-books, online journals, websites and YouTube videos. Given the high volume of work academics are undertaking to prepare for Blended Learning in the next Semester we are trying to help by doing some of the legwork for you.

If you send your two essential items to us now using this form we will check to see if the items are available digitally and purchase licences for them. If we are unable to acquire a digital copy, we aim to purchase a printed copy (subject to affordability).

5. How does it integrate with our VLEs?

Watch this video to see how it has been integrated within MyAberdeen.

If you have submitted a reading list for the next semester, please do not try to access your Leganto Reading List in MyAberdeen yet, as it is currently being built. This also applies to MyMBChB, MyBDS and MyPA, the VLEs that specifically support the Medicine (MBChB), Dentistry (BDS) and Physician Associate Studies (MSc) programmes. 

6. Will my students need to learn anything to use it?

It’s fairly intuitive, but there will be many resources available 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 the library catalogue, Primo. Academics can add notes to the lists to fine tune student engagement..

7. Why are you only asking for two essential items? Last term I supplied my full list and highlighted three essential items,

We do understand that there are likely to be many more than two essential items on your reading lists. The two you flag to us will be reviewed and where possible added to your course reading list before the start of term. We will publish a weekly update of our progress so that you can check the availability of these items.  If we have not been able to source an item, you may suggest an alternative one for us to check.  We will produce training guides to allow you to build your lists once these checks for course essential items are complete.  Please note – Links to journals are likely to pose less of a problem than extracts from printed materials.

8. Will there be more licences available to support e-book access for multiple students?

Unfortunately, we cannot promise this. The Reading List project does not have an allocated budget with which we can purchase additional resources, it must be done in line with our existing book budget. If additional licences for existing holdings can be purchased cost effectively, we will certainly consider doing so. By including an approximate student number for the course when submitting your reading list, we are better able to make such decisions.

9. One of my essential items is currently available in the VitalSource / Kortext free trial. Will this be available to my students in the first half session?

The period in which we will continue to have access to additional content as a result of COVID-19 is under review. Anticipated pricing for e-textbooks where there are no special arrangements in place means that we cannot guarantee access to titles from providers like VitalSource and Kortext. The Library is represented in national negotiations with academic publishers in order to try and reach affordable deals for UK higher education sector.

10. Reading lists online does not equal reading materials online

Correct – Where possible we will link to an electronic resource, or if you recommend a particular chapter within a printed book which we already own we may be able to scan it and offer that as a link (subject to the building being open to staff).  As we move back to normality on-campus students will be able to see what stocks we have in the library and reserve / borrow items on our shelves for loan.

11. Can students still be asked to purchase books, e.g. from Blackwell’s?

Students should certainly be able to choose to buy their textbooks if they wish to, and in some cases that may be the most effective way.

For the second half-session we will be sharing received forms with Blackwell’s to help them support you and your students as well. If you have other essential books that you will be recommending your students purchase, or you normally work with Blackwell's on book bundles for your courses, please email the details to Greig Watt, Blackwell’s Store Manager, at so that he can ensure the campus store has them in stock.

12. I have existing scans but they are poor quality, can I still share these with my students in September?

Please share them with us so that we can review them. We need to ensure materials are machine-readable to support accessibility requirements. We also need to ensure the University is complying with copyright legislation and licensing restrictions.

13. How much of a book can be digitised?

An announcement on 20 August by the CLA temporarily permits 20% or two chapters of a book from participating publishers to be made available via Library reading list services. The additional content can be made available until 31 July 2021. Books not covered by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Higher Education Licence can only be scanned with the permission of the rightsholder. There is no restriction on copying from books which are out of copyright.  For articles in a periodical, one article from one issue of a periodical can be used.

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

As mentioned in question 8, this will help us assess whether additional licences are required for existing e-book items we already hold.

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

Yes, this may be the case for some items. A portion of our electronic books are restricted to a set number of simultaneous users, e.g. one user or 3 users at a time. Others are licensed for unlimited simultaneous users. Where possible, these details will be available within the reading list, with some data also available in the Primo record.

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

All our libraries are now open to registered students and staff, with reduced occupancy to ensure social distancing.

See opening hours

We are also continuing to offer a Click and Collect Service, and our Special Collections Centre is providing a Scan and Send Service. 

17. Is there any Leganto Training for academic staff?

To avoid duplication and confusion while the Library is developing the Reading List Service we request that you do not start to create your own lists. In a later phase of the project CAD will publish bespoke training materials to assist you in adding to or modifying your online reading list.

18. How are books being prioritised for purchase?

While we set up the service, essential item e-book purchases are being authorised for if they are available up to a £350 threshold. If a digital copy is not available and the item is not already held in the Library we will buy one print copy to a threshold of £100. Print copies costing more than the threshold may be considered if allowed by the budget.

19. What’s the difference between an e-book and an e-textbook?

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