Wednesday 4 December 2013

Tagging Library School Reading Lists in the Catalogue

I've recently been given the opportunity to develop and promote the Library Science collection at Cambridge University Library and I'm really enjoying the experience so far. I've been given a fairly broad remit which means that I've been able to try out a lot of initiatives that I've read about or studied (such as using Pinterest to promote the collection).

Another thing I've been quite keen to develop is access to material on the reading lists of various library courses. Luckily we're a Legal Deposit library which means that we hold many of the titles already, it's really a matter of making sure the last few make it into the collection. In order to make it easier for users to retrieve the items on their reading lists I've been experimenting with tagging books in the catalogue and adding them to lists. The UL uses LibrarySearch which provides tagging and list functions through it's My Discoveries tab. I decided to use course codes to tag the items as I thought this would cause the least confusion. At the moment I've only made lists according to university rather than individual course but this is something I can develop in the future is needed.

The outcome of this is a reading list which displays like this in the catalogue:

Hopefully this will make it easier for users to see at a glance whether the library holds the item that they want. One of the main benefits of this feature is that users don't need to know what the tag is. LibrarySearch allows you to create your own search URL which can then be used as a link. For example clicking on Robert Gordon University : The Digital Age should bring up the reading list shown above

One major disadvantage that I've found is that LibrarySearch doesn't allow you to tag certain items, which results in an incomplete list. I'm looking into a solution for this and will hopefully be able to find one. The plan is to launch a dedicated website for the collection through the University Library website which will include links to reading list materials. Fingers crossed I can make it work before then!


  1. think this tagging of books in reading lists is genius - hope we copy you you soon.

  2. Thanks Isla. There are some teething problems but people seem to find it useful

  3. A very good idea that I copy if I can, create a professional library in your library but with new acquisitions and so, not only needs just in case. Congratulations