FAQs for staff who teach

These FAQs provide key information based on questions from staff. If you can't find the information you're looking for please get in touch with the librarian for your department.

Ebook-related questions

How can I check whether an ebook is available for the library to purchase?

There isn’t an easy way to check availability for institutional purchase. Please complete and submit the library resource recommendation form and we’ll be happy to check for you.

The publisher website says that a title is available as an ebook; does this mean that the Library can purchase it?

There is a difference between individual and institutional access. Platforms such as ebooks.com and the Kindle Store provide ebooks for individuals to buy, but they can’t be used by academic libraries that need to make the books available to multiple users.
The University Library uses a range of suppliers and platforms that provide institutional access.

Many publishers have separate models for institutional access to the textbooks that they publish, or they may not allow institutional access at all. These models often require the payment of annual fees, or may be part of a collection of titles, some of which may not be needed. These models are generally expensive and likely to be unsustainable in the long term.

Some publishers are reviewing their models in response to pressure from the HE sector, and discussions are ongoing in the University and across the sector about how to respond to the challenges of etextbook provision. However, it may not be possible to provide digital access to all recommended textbooks, and it may be necessary to seek alternatives.

If you can’t get the title I want as an ebook what are my options?

You can look for alternatives that are already available using StarPlus, or look at open access options such as:

It is sometimes possible to digitise one or two chapters or sections of a book, subject to copyright. Please submit the Library resource recommendation form if you’d like us to investigate this.

Will all my students be able to access the book I’ve found on StarPlus?

There are lots of different ebook models. Some allow unlimited numbers of students to access them simultaneously, while others are more restrictive and only allow one or two users at a time.

If you have a large number of students, and you expect them all to access the book at the same time, we recommend getting in touch with the librarian for your department to check the model. It’s likely that a limited access ebook will be fine for smaller cohorts of students or for wider reading, but we would always suggest offering a range of titles to avoid students becoming frustrated.

Reading list (Leganto) questions

How do I provide recommended reading to students?

The online Reading List system, Leganto, provides students with access to their recommended reading via Blackboard. You are required to create your reading list on this system for each module. Using Leganto will help you to provide access to your reading materials in a stable, accessible and legal form and will provide a consistent student experience across modules.

A quick guide Creating an online Reading List for your students in Leganto (PDF) is available.

How to re-use a list from last year.

Further guidance is available on the Library page Using the University’s Reading List system.

What if the Library doesn’t have the book or paper I want to recommend to my students?

Use the Library resource recommendation form and we’ll try to obtain an electronic copy for you.

How long should my online reading list be?

This will vary by discipline, programme and curriculum design. A succinct list, with key reading and a limited selection of supplementary materials is advisable. Usage data shows that most students don’t engage with long lists.

An embedded link to StarPlus and the accompanying video tutorial Using StarPlus - University Library discovery at the top of your reading list will encourage students to develop independent searching skills and discover further resources themselves.

How can I provide recommended reading in digital form?

To help students get easy access to their reading please ensure your reading list contains electronic material only. Print items should only be added as an exception since access to physical resources is likely to be subject to restrictions throughout the 20/21 academic session. Use StarPlus to search our digital holdings.

If an item isn’t available please request it using the Library resource recommendation form. We may be able to purchase an electronic copy or make use of our CLA License to digitise articles and book chapters.

What if an item I want to recommend isn’t available digitally?

Not all print materials can be replaced, like for like, with online versions. You may need to select an alternative title.  We may be able to work with you to identify alternative material, including open textbooks.

The Open Textbook Library contains over 700 peer-reviewed books. You can add a book to your reading list or you can choose sections to embed in your teaching.

Directory of Open Access Books lists thousands of peer-reviewed items which are free to read and share.

What if my students need to access print materials?

If students on your programme need access to our print collections during the 2020/21 academic session please contact the librarian for your department to discuss options.

Our update page provides current information about access to Library sites.

How can I comply with copyright legislation in my learning and teaching?

To understand more about how copyright may impact your teaching, see our Copyright and your teaching web pages. You will find guidance to ensure that your use of copyright material for teaching purposes is legally compliant, sustainable and fair, using materials such as books, journals and audiovisual materials (images, music and film).

When will students be able to see my online reading list?

Click “Publish” to make your list visible to students.

The Library will ensure items are available digitally, where possible, so please allow us time to provide these resources - 6 weeks is recommended at busy times, such as before the start of a new semester.

Contacts for further support

For support with your resource list please contact the Library:

Speak to the Librarian for your subject.

Email us at readinglists@sheffield.ac.uk.

Sharing reading with your students: using the University's Reading List system