What makes a good Resource List?

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The content is important, but what about the style and structure? What about length? Can a list be too long? Or too short? In what ways can a resource list interact and engage with students?

A great feature of Resource Lists @ Edinburgh is the flexibility. We have lists created by academics across the University across a wide variety of schools and subjects, each using resource lists in their own specific way.

CertAVP Equine Dentistry by Sharon Boyd at the Royal Dick Veterinary School

Sharon’s list contains just seven items and provides clear instructions on reading expectations for the class. It also advises where to go find additional abstracts and sources. The Vet Schools’ ‘Instructions for using this Reading List’ is extremely useful and has been adapted by Library Learning Services and is used on many of the lists we create for course organisers.

The sources of knowledge: Understanding and analysing research literature by Dr Peter Allison at the School of Education

Featured as one of our ‘Great Lists’ last year, this continues to be an excellent list. What initially caught our attention was Peter’s note at the top of the list encouraging students to contact the course organiser with any materials that may be particularly useful in particular web pages or YouTube clips. These have been collected towards the bottom of the list in the section ‘Useful Websites’ and, by the number of resources in this section, it looks to have been quite successful in promoting self-study and engagement with students.

Peter also uses the list to encourage skill learning. In ‘Session One’  a resource link is provided to the University Library Catalogue and then in the notes students are directed to search for and locate a specific article. Details are also provided on where to find additional guidance via the information skills module in Learn.  

Social History 2.2 The Making of the Modern Body – History, Classics, and Archaeology

History reading lists tend to be quite large as the format of their lists are to provide a wide range of options from which students are encouraged to self select and prioritise.

To help make this large volume of reading options easier to navigate, Social History 2.2 has been split into three separate lists. One for Lecture and Tutorial readings (226 items), one for the Essay Title readings (141), and one for the Group Project readings (62 items).


If you would like to create a resource list but are unsure how to best format a list for your course please get in touch, we’re more than happy to sit down with you and come up with a solution together.

More information on how to make the most of Resource Lists can be found on the Resource Lists using Talis Aspire webpage and the ResourceLists@Edinburgh Blog.


Stephanie Farley

Library Learning Services Assistant