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Reading Lists in Canvas

Information supporting the use of the Reading List app in Canvas.


For academics setting up their Reading List:

  • How much of a book can be digitised?
    For books, the restriction is 10% of the pages or 1 chapter, whichever is greater. For articles in a periodical, 1 article can be used, or more if they relate to the same subject. Please refer to the Copyright guide for more information.
  • Can I use the Reading List I created last year again this year?
    Yes, you can use the Rollover feature. The rollover feature allows you to use the same Reading List as last year.  Please see the "Rollover a Reading List" tab for instructions on how to do this. 

For students using the Reading List:

  • Why can't I access the eBook on my Reading list?
    Library Licensed eBooks and eJournals have concurrent users access restrictions. This means if an eBook database is set to 20 concurrent users and 25 users try and access the eBook at the same time, 5 users will be rejected. Try accessing the eBook at another time, or day.
  • When I go into my Reading list, I can't access the items. The message says "oops, item not available."
    This may be an error message caused by internet caching. The solution is to refresh your browser or click on Home in the Canvas course and select Reading List from the menu again. It may also be related to Library license restrictions.

Accessibility and availability of Reading Lists

  • Viewing your Reading List in different browsers
    Chrome or Firefox works best for the Reading List software. For students using the web browser Safari, they will need to open their Reading List in a separate tab or change their cookie settings to 'Always allow' in Safari.
  • Viewing on mobile devices
    Reading Lists can be viewed on a mobile device or tablet. Instructors/lecturers can edit on a mobile device, but the drag/drop function to re-order sections or individual citations will not work, so it is best to use a laptop or desktop computer for this.
  • Using the Accessibility Menu in Reading Lists
    For users who need a more comfortable screen viewing experience, there are options to change the font size and screen contrast (Black and White: Medium Contrast and High Contrast). Find your profile at the top right-hand corner of the Reading List and select Accessibility Menu.
  • Accessibility of reading resources
    Most licensed electronic resources in LibrarySearch are accessible (each platform has its own accessibility statement). However, where the Library has to scan or digitize a particular resource, it is converted to OCR and is not fully accessible. Students registered with the Equitable Learning Services can have their readings converted to other formats to meet their needs.

For instructors using Reading List software

  • Why doesn't my Cite It button work?
    There may be two reasons why your Cite It button isn't working. Firstly, have you added the CIte It button on your toolbar correctly? Check by revising the instructions in Adding resources to a Reading List. Secondly, make sure that you are logged into Reading Lists before you try to add a resource with Cite It!
  • Why can't I link to the PDF on the web using CIte It?
    Sometimes webpages have DRM (Digital Rights Management) to prevent direct linking, and it is a breach of copyright to try to circumvent this. The best practice is always to link to a previous/higher-order webpage instead (that is, one that mentions the PDF). The benefit to this is that the reader receives other contextual information (for example, the host webpage, bibliographic, or license information). Another advantage is that if the web publisher produces updated versions of the document, the most recent version is available, saving you time in searching for and updating.
  • Can I transfer a bulk number of PDFs into a Reading List? For example, in Canvas under Files, all my PDF files are listed. Can I transfer them en-masse into a Reading List?

    Transferring files from Canvas to a Reading List is not seamless or a one-click solution because the Reading List platform has a different purpose to Canvas. The platform is designed for the item citations in your Reading Lists to dynamically link to eResources as a preference over hosting PDFs.

    This is because there may be copyright restrictions to the material you wish to upload. Hosting it in your teaching technology may infringe the website or licenced database terms of use from where you sourced the PDF. In the Reading List, the PDF file should be replaced with a link to the licenced or web resource.  

    There are 2 options for building item citations in your Reading List:

    1) Add each item citation separately to the Reading List. You can search for the PDF (title, author) in the LibrarySearch function of the Reading List to see if a licensed version is available in the Library collection and select/add that item to your list. If it is a website, link to the webpage where the PDF sits. 

    2) If you have stored your PDFs in your Endnote file, you could import your references (see the page "Endnote and your Reading List" in this guide). The  Reading List platform has a Link resolver that will attempt to link to the exact journal article. The Library will check these for accuracy and copyright. A link to the licensed resource would replace the original PDF.

    You are able to upload a PDF to an item citation in a Reading List, however, the Library will moderate it for copyright and swap it for a link to the licensed or web resource. 

  • My Lists are not displaying when I click on My Lists.
    The solution is to refresh the page and lists will be displayed.
  • Why can't I see the Rollover button, or the Add/Edit button to select it?
    It may be that the screen is too big, so to minimise the screen, press Control - (minus) keys together until you see the button on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. Also, new staff must be made Collaborators in the Reading List in order to have access.
  • I am an instructor for the course, why can't I see the Reading List? My colleague has added links from Canvas to the Reading List but I get an error message "Your login attempt has failed. The username or password or location may be incorrect."
    Contact the Library for assistance, they will add you to the Reading List as an Instructor.
  • How can I prevent my Reading List from getting accidentally deleted?
    Once your list is completed, export and save it in a safe place as a backup. This will allow you to import your list if you inadvertently delete your list. To do this: Click on the [...] located towards the top-right side of the list. From the drop-down menu, select the export option. Then choose the file format from the options listed.
  • Error messages in Canvas
    Most commonly experienced errors with Reading Lists are: Instructor/lecturer is not in Alma or The course code is not in Alma. If you are receiving these, it may mean that either you are not registered in ALMA as an instructor, or the course code is not registered in ALMA. Contact the Library for assistance, they will register you as an instructor, or have a course code registered.
  • Why are my students seeing a blank list?
    This is caused by the incorrect course code registered in the Library system. For example, a course code might be registered in the Library system as RLAM1238, when the correct code should be RLAM1238_1710. Contact the Library for assistance, they will have your course code updated in the Library system.