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Searching for information: a practical guide

Reading Lists

Searching for information is not always straightforward. We got a bunch of librarians to suggest some insider pointers and useful techniques.

For each module you take, you will find at least one reading list on the Yorkshare VLE. These lists link directly through to YorSearch, helping you to locate print copies, and giving you quick access to any electronic texts. Scanned extracts from library books are also linked where copyright permits.

Further reading recommendations may be provided in module guides, or during lectures or seminars. You can search YorSearch to find the item you need, using the author's name and/or title keywords.

Reading Lists FAQs

Click on an FAQ to reveal the answer.

What are the benefits of using the Reading Lists system?

Reading Lists are designed to provide you with easy access to reading materials for your module. They can include print and e-books, journal articles, websites or podcasts, for example.

Your lecturer might have structured your lists by topic or by week to help you navigate them more easily, and you'll find that items are tagged as essential, recommended or background so that you know which to read first.

The Reading Lists system provides information about where items are in the Library and it also tells you if books are out on loan. Direct links are provided to electronic resources to make accessing them really easy for you.

What kind of materials are included on my reading list?

It tends to be books and journal articles but you might also find recommended websites, videos, scores etc. Basically it could be anything that your lecturer thinks is useful to read for the module.

My reading list is really long, how can I make it more manageable?

You might find your lists structured in different ways e.g. by week or by topic, which will give you a place to start. Most items are designated by the lecturer to be essential, recommended or background reading which will also indicate what its priority is. If you’re still not sure where to start with your reading, or how much you need to be reading each week, then please speak to your lecturer about this.

Reading Lists are set up so that separate sections are collapsed, making it easy for you to navigate to the section you need. You can use the compact view to make each section or item smaller. This is particularly helpful if you are using a device which has a small screen. Note that this will remove from the screen any notes that your lecturer has added to an item; you will need to click on titles to view them.

How can I search or filter a reading list?

To search, click on the search icon at the top of the list and type in your search term. You’ll then be able to scroll down to all the items on the list that match your results.

If you want to filter the list then click on the filter icon at the top of the list. You can then filter by tag (essential, recommended or background) or by type of resource (e.g. article, book, etc).

Does the Library do anything with the priority tags?

Yes we do. We ask your lecturers to tag all items on a reading list as one of these three categories:

  • Essential - all students must read this
  • Recommended - you are advised to read this
  • Background* - this is of possible interest and you may wish to read this

This helps you to prioritise your reading and it also lets us know how important a reading is for your course. This helps us work out how many copies to purchase. We also take into account:

  • The number of students on a module
  • If an ebook is available and what the licence options are

*Note that not all departments make use of the background tag so you will mainly see items marked as essential or recommended.

Can I bookmark materials and build my own list?

Yes, you can use My Collection to gather materials you want to read.

  • Click on My Collection on the left hand menu to view saved items. These will display in order of date added, but can be searched and sorted by title or author.
  • Click on the + (Add Items) to search the Library catalogue for items to save in My Collection.
  • You can also add items to My Collection from Cite It! by selecting Collection and clicking Add It. See the Cite It! FAQ for more information about this feature.
  • You can also create your own tags for items in My Collection, which you can use for filtering or searching.

What is Cite It! and how do I use it?

Cite It! is a bookmarklet tool, and is the easiest way to add items from the web to My Collection. To install the bookmarklet tool:

  • Click on 'User Menu' in the top right corner of the Reading Lists screen and select Cite It!
  • Drag and drop the Cite It! bookmarklet into your bookmarks/favourites bar
  • You'll then see it appear in your bookmarks bar

You can use Cite It! to add items to My Collection whilst browsing the web. For example, if you find an interesting article on Web of Science or JSTOR, you can add this to My Collection using Cite It!.

  • When you are on the item details or article abstract page, click the Cite It! bookmarklet to open the 'Add this to my collection' box
  • You can check and make any changes to the details if needed, then click 'Add & close'.

I need my readings provided in an accessible format, who do I need to talk to about this?

We want to make sure that all of our students can make best possible use of the Library and its resources. Please take a look at our accessibility web page for more information about the ways we can help.

How do I find my lists in Yorkshare?

On the menu on the left-hand side of the module homepage you will see a link called Reading Lists. Click on that to access your list.

If you want to return to the Yorkshare module site, click on the module name in the top left-hand corner.

How can I see if a book is available to borrow?

For each item on your reading list you’ll see a link appear; this may say 'Check availability' or 'View online', depending on the type of item that is available.

Click on this to see what is available e.g. to access the ebook or locate the printed copies.

If the book you need is out on loan you can place a request on the item to get hold of it quicker. You can place up to 10 item requests at any one time.


I can't see a list for one of my modules, is it missing?

Not all modules will have a reading list. If you think there should be one and it isn’t appearing, please check with your lecturer in the first instance. If there should be a list and it still isn’t visible, then please email or email your Faculty Librarian.

There aren’t enough copies of a book, what should I do?

Here are a few suggestions to try:

  • Place a request on an item - that way the person who has it out on loan will need to return it in a few days. If an item has multiple requests on it we will automatically look at getting extra copies ordered.
  • Is there an ebook available? It might not be your preferred method of reading but it can help you access things at the last minute.

If these don’t help then you can either speak to your lecturer to say that you are having problems accessing your course reading or you can contact your Faculty Librarian directly. They’re here to help you make the most of our resources so they’re always happy to hear from you about this sort of thing.

Why aren’t all of the readings listed available electronically?

We always try to buy an electronic copy wherever possible to help as many people as possible get access to a book, but it does depend on what the publisher has made available. If an ebook isn’t available we will try and buy extra print copies. We also recommend that your lecturers use our Digitisation Service to provide a scanned chapter from the book.

I'm getting an error message, what should I do?

Depending on what your error message says, there are a few things you could try:

  • If the error message says ‘illegal institution’, take a look at our troubleshooting instructions.
  • Clear the cache and cookies and then log in again.
  • At the Library we’ve found that Reading Lists works best in Chrome, if you’re using a different browser you might want to try switching.

If things still aren’t working please email with details about the module you are trying to access and a screenshot of the error message.

One of the links to an e-resource isn’t working, who should I tell?

Please email with information about the module and the link you are trying to access and we can look into what is going on.


Thinking about source types

Take a look at the Let’s get critical: A global warming reading list.

  • What does the information provided tell you about the material?
  • Can you ascertain how the material will be useful from just the information provided here?

Looking beyond your reading list...

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