Skills Hub

Reading lists

The Library uses a reading list system called Aspire which gives you access to recommended resources, together with guidance notes from your lecturers. You can then check availability in the Library. Aspire also enables you to make private study notes for individual items as you work.


Aspire integrates with StudyDirect. You should find a link at the bottom of your course site, providing direct access to your reading list. Within your reading lists, you should usually expect to see the following:

  • Core reading: available for purchase or included in course packs or online (eBook, digitised text, online journal). Single copy held in Library core collection.

  • Recommended reading: available in the Library in multiple copies or available online (eBook, digitised text, online journal).

  • Further reading: single copy held in the Library's main collection

Once you have worked your way through this section, try to find one of your reading lists using the University of Sussex's Reading lists online.

photo of students looking at their online reading list

What does my reading list look like?

Your reading lists are likely to include references to books, journals and web pages. Books listed will usually be available in print in the library. They may also be available electronically, in which case it will say "electronic resource" under the title.

example reading list

Your reading list may specify particular book chapters. If these chapters are available electronically, it will say "DIGITISED chapter" on the list. Your lists are also likely to have references to journal articles. These are clearly marked as "Article".


recommended reading list

Finding items on your reading list

Search for your reading list

You can search for your reading lists by clicking on the link below and entering the course code (or the course name) in the search box. You can also find links to your reading lists on your course pages in Study Direct.

Useful tips

Sometimes reading lists may have errors. Common errors include:

  • recording a different publishing date to the copy of the book you find in the library (may be a different edition)
  • not updating the edition number - check which one you should be using
  • misspelling the name of an author or title (try searching by a different method)

Sometimes it is assumed that you will know what a shortened reference means. For instance:

  • they might list only the author of a book because they listed the full citation earlier in the list or in other notes
  • some writers use the standard abbreviations of journal titles (e.g. A.A.L.R. for Anglo-American Law Review)
  • some writers use standard abbreviations in their references (e.g. put 'op.cit' instead of the title when the citation comes from the same source as the one previously cited somewhere in the list)
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