List creation and editing

This is an introductory guide for list publishers to start creating and editing lists in the university’s Talis Aspire Reading List (TARL) tenancy.


Before starting on list creation and editing, we recommend you refer to the bookmarking article. Once you are familiar with bookmarking and have a few resources ready to pull into your reading list, you are ready to start creating or editing a reading list. Once a list has been created, when bookmarking for that list in the future, items can be bookmarked and added directly to the list.

List Creation

List name

Please refer to any naming convention set out by your university when creating a list. For instance, this may or may not include the module or unit code. If students wish to search the list from the home page of your TARL tenancy, a clearly named module or unit title in line with the institution's policy will help discovery. Generally, students will discover the lists from your Learning Management System (aka Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)), but once looking at a module they may wish to explore other reading lists.


This field is not mandatory though can be very useful. You can stretch the box out for easy editing, and add text to describe the list, add collaborators names or simply give some overview guidance to using the list. There may be some guidance around using this field within your University.

Add to the hierarchy

In order to link to the university’s VLE, Talis Aspire has a Hierarchy feature where the module or unit codes are uploaded centrally by your university. Linking a list to the correct module or unit node enables the students to see the list within the VLE when it has been published. When searching for the module or unit, if no results are returned please raise this using the Feedback tab in the university’s Talis Aspire Reading List tenancy. It may that your university needs to add that module or unit code.

Time period

Selecting a time period enables a student to see they are working from the latest version of a reading list. For each teaching period, your list may be copied to a new version for you by a centralised rollover process, often in line with the VLE rollover of modules or units. This is to ensure the right list appears in the correct version of the module or unit in the VLE. Those also using Talis Aspire Digitised Content also have the benefit of using the time period to determine how long a digitised item will be viewable by that cohort of students in the request process. The exact timing of a rollover varies across universities.

Student numbers

If at the point of list creation the student numbers are unknown or unconfirmed, this field can be left blank and completed at a later date. Accurate student figures help library acquisitions teams to understand the potential demand for an item and help with decisions on electronic sourcing. For those universities who are using Talis Aspire Digitised Content, this provides the student numbers used when reporting to the copyright authority or agency.

List owner

Before starting to edit the reading list, you are able to assign yourself as the List Owner from the Edit menu from the list itself. If creating a list on behalf of someone else, if the list owner has a user profile on the university’s Talis Aspire Reading List tenancy the list can be assigned straight away. If the list owner doesn’t yet have a profile, invite as a list publisher first once the list is created. Note that assigning list ownership does not also assign the list publishing role. More information on assigning a list owner is available in our Assigning a list owner support article.

Editing a List

Whether the list has just been created or is an existing list that has been handed over for further editing, the main functions to edit a list from this point are the same. You can use the actions bar to add sections to build the structure, add resources to the correct position in the list, and add paragraphs of notes. For detailed step-by-step instructions on editing lists, please see our Editing lists support article.


Sections can be used to give structure to a list, here are some suggestions:

  • Weekly readings
  • Topics based sectioning
  • Resource type sectioning
  • Guided reading, structured around the importance of the items - Essential, Core, Background, Further Reading, etc.

Sections can have sub-sections, just click "Add section" within an existing section. This allows for a combination of structures so that weekly readings can also have additional subsections for topics.

You are able to move complete sections using the cut and paste option. 


Notes can be added as individual paragraphs and positioned anywhere on the list. The Add paragraph function offers some basic formatting, BOLD, italics, bulleted or numbered lists. Notes can also be added to a section when you create one of those.

Individual items can also have notes added, these can either be for the student or library. Library notes are not seen by students.

Adding bookmarked items to a reading list

To add an item, simply click "Add resource" and you will see a list of your previously bookmarked items. You can use an item more than once on a reading list, simply by adding it multiple times from the "Add resource" functionality. Use the search to refine the results and search for other unbookmarked items. More information on this is available in our Editing lists support article.

You can also add items to lists at the point of bookmarking by selecting the "create and add to list" option and selecting to add the item to the top or bottom of the list or to a chosen section.

Draft or Published

When a list is created it is only viewable by those with the List Edit permission until it is published. To publish a list select "Publish" from the list editing screen. If you don’t see this option, this may be due to institutional preference, in this instance select review list from the review menu or the list editing screen. If in doubt, use the Feedback menu option to ask for help.

Once published you can continue to edit, and your changes remain in draft until the list is next published, you will know this is the case when you access a list and it indicates that there is a newer version with unpublished changes. All published changes are tracked in the recent changes function from the list view.

Top Tips

  • If you have created a list structure to suit a style of teaching, delivery or university preference, create a draft list to use as a template. Copy this draft list each time you want to create a new list to save time building the structure. The university may already have some templates set up for this purpose.
  • If you are teaching a similar module and don’t want to start from scratch, you can copy any published or draft list then edit the parts you need to change.
  • Using importance on an item not only helps the library make appropriate acquisition decisions, but also guides students and gives them a consistent experience across multiple modules.

Points to note

  • When creating or editing a list we recommend no more than approximately 500 items, this is not an exact figure as detailed notes and annotations may increase the size of the list. Larger lists may suffer performance issues, if you have trouble publishing a larger list you may wish to consider splitting it into 2 or more smaller lists based on session, weeks or topics.
  • In order to assign a list owner, they first need to have created a profile in the university’s Talis Aspire Reading List tenancy. If lists have been created on behalf of a module leader, academic or lecturer, use the handover process as a way of familiarising them with the reading list, by first sending the List Publisher invitation from the Edit menu of the list.
  • Using Delete from the edit menu means the list is deleted and cannot be retrieved. It is suggested that this permission be a system admin permission only to ensure against accidental use.
  • Archived lists can be copied if they need to be retrieved for future use.
  • Deleting or archiving a list in the draft view WILL delete or archive the published view too.
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