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Information for teaching staff: Materials to support your teaching

Guidance on getting Library resources to support your teaching, ways in which we can help develop your students' academic practices, and Library resources for supporting your teaching practice

Getting materials into the Library

The primary method the Library uses to purchase materials for teaching, is through online reading lists. 

Creating and maintaining your reading lists online, will also save you time by maintaining all your reading lists within a single interface, linked from Blackboard, and accessible to the Library. Your reading list can contain items that we have in stock in the Library, items that you'd like us to order, online books and journal articles available via the Library's subscriptions, and freely-available online material such as videos and blogs.

What does the Library do with my reading list?

Raising student satisfaction with Library resources is one of our highest priorities – so send us your reading lists to ensure that...

  • your Academic Liaison Librarian can make sure that student expectations of Library resources are met; 
  • the items your students need are in the Library in time (allow 4-6 working weeks for your list to be checked and for items to be ordered, arrive and be processed); 
  • there are enough items at the appropriate loan periods to meet the likely demand; 
  • scanned extracts of readings you wish to provide are compliant with the CLA HE Licence 
  • the items you are recommending can be found easily on the catalogue - we will re-catalogue any items with brief records; 
  • they are accurate and up-to-date - we can alert you to typographical errors which may make it harder for students to locate books or let you know about later editions.

Benefits of using an online reading list include not having to: upload revised Word or PDF lists to Blackboard every year; link to PDFs of scanned extracts; or send update lists to your Academic Liaison Librarian. 

To avoid student dissatisfaction, please aim to publish your online reading lists by the advertised deadlines so your Academic Liaison Librarian has enough time to review them and order any new or additional copies of printed materials. Items not in stock can take several weeks or even months to arrive on the shelves.

How do I access the online Reading Lists system?

Follow the link below to search for reading lists by module code or title, or by instructor.

What is good practice?
My reading list is not on the system, what do I do?

Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for advice on setting up and maintaining your reading lists online.

If you have any other questions about using online reading lists, please take a look at the online guide below or contact your Academic Liaison Librarian.

There are no funds set aside to provide for new programmes or modules. Formal consultation with the Library takes place as part of the procedure for completing Form A for new programmes. Please contact your Academic Liaison Librarian as soon as possible so that the Library can advise on resources needed and a plan can be created to provide resources for the new programme. 

The Library will use your online reading list to order copies of items that are not in stock. We will also order additional copies or e-books if the likely student numbers indicate that existing provision will not be sufficient. For more information, please read the guide to online reading lists, or contact your Academic Liaison Librarian.

How long will it take for a book to appear on the shelves?

Time taken will vary, but allow 6-8 weeks for them to arrive and go through ordering, receiving and processing. We can process some books urgently if required and will try to fast-track essential course reading. Foreign publications might take longer to source and arrive.

If you have a query about a specific book order please contact your Academic Liaison Librarian.

What if a book is needed urgently?

If a book is needed very urgently, please contact your Academic Liaison Librarian giving a specific reason for the urgency e.g. the item is essential for a particular week. The book will then receive fast track treatment at every stage of the process. Please note that Items on a reading list cannot all be considered urgent, as the majority of our orders will come from reading lists.

Isn’t it quicker to order from Amazon?

To comply with University policy we must use approved suppliers for most orders. This ensures we receive the substantial discounts available from our approved suppliers. They also process books ready for the shelves, saving time when they arrive in the Library. We can occasionally order items from mainstream sources (such as Amazon); but there are transaction limits on purchase cards which limit the amount of material that can be purchased via this route.


When bookmarking items to add them to your online reading lists, use the 'Note for Library' option to let us know if you would like us to investigate e-book options for specific items.

We can purchase individual e-books via the aggregators or directly from selected publishers (e.g. CRC, Wiley, Elsevier). We can also purchase e-book collections. Not all books are made available online but your Academic Liaison Librarian can investigate options if you indicate that an e-book is required.


Many course materials can be scanned and made available in Blackboard. In order to comply with the terms of the Copyright Licensing Agency's Higher Education Licence this has to be done by the Library. Use the 'Request digitisation' option on your online reading list to ask for a scan. See Scanning course materials page for more information.

The Library subscribes to a large number of journals. Many of these are part of large packages, whilst others are individual title subscriptions.

To check which journals are currently available search the Enterprise catalogue. This will show both print and online access.

If a journal you require is not available, and you would like us to consider a subscription, you should contact your Academic Liaison Librarian. Decisions on new subscriptions are usually taken in the summer, with a new subscription starting at the beginning of the following year.

Journals or articles not available via the Library

If you require articles for teaching you should use the Library's Scanning service to provide copyright-cleared versions instead of making your own scan, or getting articles from your network of contacts. You can request the scan via your online reading list (see the link to more information on the Library's Scanning Service below)

If you need articles for your own research, the Inter-library loans service can get them from another source.

The Educational Recording Agency (ERA) provides a licence which allows recordings to be made of television, radio and Internet broadcasts for educational purposes.

Free to air programmes, for example any broadcast on BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Freeview channels (including Open University programmes) are covered by the license. These guidelines are adapted from the ERA web pages - for more information about how recordings can be made and used, see their FAQs page.

Accessing TV and Radio programmes

The easiest way to get this content is via Box of Broadcasts (BoB) - record TV and radio programmes or watch over 2 million previously recorded programmes, all available immediately. Box of Broadcasts (BoB) is a streaming service and requires an internet connection.

You can use the search feature in BoB to locate a specific programme, or programmes on a particular topic - if it has already been requested, you can view or embed in Blackboard immediately. You can also request that BoB make a recording of a programme that will be added to their database of programmes, and can be viewed or emebedded in Blackboard. Recording requests can be made up to 30 days after broadcase or up to 7 days in advance.

Making a hard copy recording
  • Recordings can be made on University premises, or at home, by teaching staff or their auxiliaries. 
  • Extracts can be recorded from different programmes to create a compilation
  • Recordings made under the licence must be labelled on the case and the disc itself with the following:
    • Date when the recording was made
    • Name of the broadcaster
    • Programme title
    • The wording 'This recording is to be used only for educational and non-commercial purposes under the terms of the ERA Licence.'
  • Multiple copies can be made as long as all the terms of the licence are complied with.

If you want to obtain a recording of a programme contact your Academic Liaison Librarian with the details.

Using on-demand services

You may access and download content from on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer, 4oD, ITV Player, Demand 5 and Clic (S4C) in a similar way to personal private users, and use it in your teaching. Making a copy of the downloaded content is not permitted unless specifically allowed by the on-demand service you are using - check individual terms and conditions. Be aware that the majority of on-demand content will only be available to you for a limited time - if you want to use it for an ongoing period it is better to use Box of Broadcasts (BoB).

Using recordings made under the ERA licence
  • Recordings can be made available via a secure VLE (eg BlackBoard) for use by students off-campus. This only applies to students within the UK - it is not permitted to make ERA recordings available to distance learners outside the UK, or to students at overseas campuses
  • Recordings can be lent out for home use to University members
  • Recordings may only be watched by members of the University for educational and non-commercial purposes
  • Recordings cannot be used for promotional or entertainment purposes
Keeping recordings

Recordings can be retained indefinitely. There are no record-keeping requirements at present.

Further information

Providing Library materials in Blackboard

The best way to provide links to Library resources in Blackboard is via your online reading list. Links to books, articles and scanned materials are managed in your list, which is then easily embedded in your Blackboard course. 

For more information on using your online reading list, please take a look at the guides below, or contact your Academic Liaison Librarian.

Although it is possible to add links to many e-journal articles and e-book chapters in Blackboard, we recommend providing links to e-journals, e-books, and other materials via your online reading list. 

Uploads of PDFs may be prohibited or subject to restrictions. The process and terms under which an item can be made available depend on the publisher/supplier and the terms of our licence. Due to the complexities of this, we would always recommend linking to an e-book or article, ideally via your online reading list rather than uploading a PDF taken from a website.‚Äč

If you require links embedded directly in Blackboard, these are the ways we recommend. Set the links to open in a new window to avoid off-campus login problems.

Linking directly to an e-book

  1. Search for the book on Enterprise.
  2. Right-click on the link to the e-book and select 'Copy link address' (Chrome) / 'Copy Link' (Edge). This will copy a custom link which gives access both on- and off-campus.
  3. Create the link in Blackboard. To create a link, type a word or phrase where you want the link inserted e.g. 'Read this book'. Then highlight the text, right-click on it and select 'Link' from the menu. Paste the link in the 'Link Path' box and set it to open in a new window to avoid login problems.

Linking directly to an article

  1. Search for the journal on the E-journals Finder and browse to the article.
  2. When you are viewing the full-text of the article copy the link from the address bar. This will copy a custom link to give access both on- and off-campus.
  3. Create the link in Blackboard. To create a link, type a word or phrase where you want the link inserted e.g. 'Read this article'. Then highlight the text, right-click on it and select 'Link' from the menu. Paste the link in the 'Link Path' box and set it to open in a new window to avoid login problems
  4. These steps should work for most resources, although some require you to link to a stable URL or DOI which may not include the proxy server in the URL.

If the resource you wish to recommend to your students is not available electronically, Library staff may be able to scan this material for you, subject to the terms of the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) HE Licence. The CLA HE Licence allows for many, but not all, published print items to be scanned by Library staff and made available via your online reading list or a link embedded within your module content on Blackboard. In order to comply with the terms of the CLA HE Licence this has to be done by the Library. 

Library staff will:

  • undertake all the relevant copyright checks
  • arrange for the material to be scanned, producing files to high standard, which also meet disabled access requirements
  • ensure the correct copyright declarations are displayed alongside the scanned material
  • deposit and manage scanned files securely within the Talis Aspire Digitised Content Management system, which links seamlessly to your published online reading lists
  • report all scanned and uploaded files to the CLA as required under the terms of the licence.

Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for help

Academic Liaison Team

If you need help with providing materials for your modules, developing your students' information literacy skills, or anything else Library-related, then please contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for advice.

Course packs

The Library does not offer a course pack production service, but we can offer advice on what is permissible for inclusion in course packs under the terms of the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) HE Licence. The CLA has also published a Good practice guide in the creation of course packs (PDF) on their website.

For further assistance contact the following people: