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 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. This may or may not include the module or unit code for instance. In case students wish to search the list from the home page of your TARL tenancy, being clearly named in line with the module or unit title will help discovery. Generally, students will discover the lists from your Learning Management System (aka Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)), but once looking into a module they may wish to explore other reading lists.


The 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 units codes are uploaded centrally by your university. By 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. If, when searching for the module or unit, 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. Each teaching period, your list may be copied to a new version for you by a centralised rollover process, often inline 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 point. 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

When creating a list, and before starting to edit the reading list, the system will prompt you to name a list owner. If creating as a module leader, academic or lecturer, this is likely to be you so select I am list owner. This will label the list with the creator's name, enabling a list to be searched by owner. 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, click decide later and invite as a list publisher first once the list is created. These actions are also in the Edit menu on the list view. Note that assigning list ownership does not also assign the list publishing role.

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 simple drag and drop actions to build the structure and add resources to the correct position in the list. The dotted line that appears as the item is being dragged into position, will show where the dragged item will be dropped. 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 To do this drag a new section into an existing section. This can enable a combination of structures so that weekly readings can also have additional subsections for topics.

When creating the structure of the list the Table of contents at the top of the edit screen can be used to re-order sections.


Notes can be added as individual notes and positioned anywhere on the list, the Add a note function offers some basic formatting, BOLD, italics, bulleted or numbered lists and adding hyperlinks. 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

If you have items bookmarked ready to use on the reading list, these are available on the list edit screen to drag and drop into position. You can use an item more than once on a reading list, simply by dragging multiple times from the bookmarks. Use the search to refine the results.

Once you have a list that you are working on, when you are bookmarking new resources, you can use the create and add to list option to save a new bookmark directly to 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 either select publish from the edit menu or 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 as 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.
  • 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 where a student is using a few different lists across their modules or units of study it gives the consistency of suggested use of the items.

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 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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