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University of York Library
Library Subject Guides

Preparing for Autumn 2020

Online resources

A guide for academic staff to help you prepare for the Library's resources and services ahead of Autumn term 2020

Online resources

An open book resting on an open laptopWith the move towards online teaching, it’s become more important than ever to prioritise electronic resources. Although students will have access to the Library’s print collections in the Autumn, this is likely to be very different from normal for some time (see Accessing the Library buildings for more on this).

It’s also very likely that many students will be present on campus only infrequently (and some not at all) for at least the Autumn term and perhaps beyond. Selecting online resources in the first instance will therefore be crucial to ensure that all students on your modules have equal and easy access to essential materials.

Selecting resources

Although many resources are now available in an online form, it remains the case that some resources are only available in print. The document below guides you through some of the main issues to consider when selecting resources for online learning. You can also download it as a PDF.

To identify additional online resources you can:

  • Limit a search in YorSearch to show only online materials. These can be added to your reading lists straight away.
  • Explore the Library's range of ebook collections.
  • Consult our list of scans which the Library has created in the past.
  • Recommend open textbooks and other free online resources (see below).

We also encourage you to consider a range of publishers, perhaps broadening your options beyond the usual sources. We have drawn up a list of diverse publishers which might provide some inspiration. In the coming months we will be adding further content to Your Library, Your Voice, our platform for reading lists on a range of equality and diversity themes. Explore the lists for suggested reading to add to your own modules.

Open textbooks

Open textbooks are free, online textbooks which have been licenced under an open copyright licence. The options below provide access to a range of open textbooks.

Requesting other items

If you need new items for teaching it’s best to add them to the relevant reading list. For other items you and your students are welcome to use our purchase request form - this might be to ask us to check for an electronic copy of items we have in print, or for something brand new for the Library.

Checking your reading lists

We advise you to check your Autumn term reading lists well in advance of the start of term. That will give you reassurance that online resources are ready for your students and give the Library plenty of time to make available any new materials that you need.

To check at a glance which items are available online, look for the ‘View online’ link below each item in your list (see the screenshot below). Note the additional guidance below for HYMS staff.

A screenshot of the View online button in Reading Lists

If the item is available both online and in print, you can choose to hide the information about print copies in the Library. Open the relevant item in the list, then look for the ‘Links & Availability’ section. Use the toggle on the right to switch the physical availability section on or off (see the screenshot below).

A screenshot to show how to hide physical items in Reading Lists


Click to reveal additional guidance for HYMS staff

Digitising materials

In cases where the Library is not able to purchase an online version of an item, we’ll most often be able to digitise some of that item. We’re usually permitted to scan one chapter or up to 10% of the item, whichever gives the greater number of pages. In some cases we are also able to approach publishers to request permission to scan additional chapters or from titles which aren’t usually covered by our scanning licence. You can request digitisation using the tags in the Reading Lists system; see our Reading Lists guide for further information.