Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Reading Lists

A guide to using the Reading Lists Online service.


As part of the ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic the college has created a Flexible Education Project to prepare for the changes that we face in terms of delivering teaching and learning online.

Part of this project is requirement that all reading lists are created using the Talis Aspire Reading List system and that these lists are linked to Moodle courses. 

Another key aspect is the consideration of online availability of Essential and Recommended resources

The library is here to support you with these requirements. Full training is available on how to create and edit Talis Aspire Reading Lists, as well as instructions on how to embed this list within your Moodle page. Take a look at the training sessions section to find out more about these sessions.

Further information can be found here

Online Availability of Resources

As you may know from the recent exercise to get Essential resources for this year’s students, some items are not available in formats students can read online. Additionally, some items which have been available temporarily over the last few months will not be available from August. 

We are happy to check online availability of any materials you may be considering, please email with the specific items you want checked (this can include books, journal articles, films, and music) and your course details, and we will aim to get back to you within five working days.

If you are confident most materials are available, you can publish your 2020-2021 reading list on Talis Aspire and we will process the list in the usual way.

Definitions of Essential, Recommended and Further Reading

Across the college there are various definitions used when describing the importance of a resource and whether a student must access this resource or if this is more of a guidance. The following definitions are used by the library in line with the Talis Aspire system, they are also used to affect our purchasing decisions.

The library has a formula to calculate how many copies are needed to support students based on the level of importance assigned to the resource. This is very important as we will use this to make sure we have suitable online access to support the numbers of students accessing the resources. The Academic Ebooks section of this guide has more information on the types of ebooks we can buy and their access models.


Vital to students understanding of the course


Supports understanding of the course


Supports students’ background research and assignments

Length of Lists

  • Lists of up to 100 items will be checked.
  • Our suggested breakdown of resources is to have a maximum of 20 Essential, 40 Recommended and 40 Further items.
  • For courses with weekly readings, we suggest the following per week: 1 Essential, 2 Recommended, 2 Further. We will not check availability of Further reading at this time.
Creative Commons License
Royal Holloway Library LibGuide by Royal Holloway Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.