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Understanding your reading list – University of Reading

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Understanding your reading list

Although most reading lists are now available online via links  in your module information on Blackboard, you may still be given separate lists of additional readings. This guide is intended to help you understand these lists and give you guidance on how to find the items on the Library catalogue Enterprise. It also answers some frequently asked questions on finding reading list items. 

All items on your reading lists should have been made available in the Library by your department - please let us know details of any items you can't find in the Library catalogue.

Please note that it is not Library practice to purchase texts for each student – for more information on the numbers of copies of reading list materials you can expect to find in the Library see the Finding books guide.

Book references

Book references will usually contain author(s), (year),  title, edition, publisher,.


Eysenck, M.A. & Keane, M. (2010) Cognitive psychology: a student's handbook. 6th ed. Psychology Press.

Search the Enterprise catalogue

Just type in one of the author’s last names and one or two words from the title
eg eysenck cognitive psychology

Enterprise will show you if the book is available in print or online.

More guidance on searching Enterprise for a specific book 

Chapters in books

References to chapters in books can take two forms:


  • Tovey, B. (1996) Wisdom and the law. In Alulis, J. & Sullivan, V. (eds) Shakespeare's political pageant. Rowman & Litchfield.
  • McLave Statistics for business (1988) Ch. 4.

Search the Enterprise catalogue

Just type in one of the editor’s last names and one or two words from the title of the book. Do not type in the author and title of the chapter (Enterprise does not hold this detailed information)
e.g. alulis shakespeare's political

Enterprise will show you if the book is available in print or online.

More guidance on searching Enterprise for a specific book 

Journal articles

Journal article references will usually give author, (date), article title, journal title, volume number, page numbers.


Sivakumara, D. & Wall, M.M. (2013) Papaya fruit quality management during the postharvest supply chain. Food Reviews International, 29 (1), 24-48.

Search the Summon discovery service for online access

Search Summon for the title of the article e.g. Papaya fruit quality management during the postharvest supply chain.

If the article is available online it will appear at the top of your results.

If your article title is very short, or contains common words, try enclosing it in quotation marks, e.g. "Papaya fruit quality management during the postharvest supply chain", or refining your results to view just Journal articles.

Search the Enterprise catalogue for print access

If your search on Summon does not find the article, it is possible we only have it in print. To find printed journals search Enterprise for the title of the journal in which the article was published, in the above example search for Food reviews international

More guidance on searching Enterprise for a journal 

Sometimes your journal title will be abbreviated:

Ray, J. (2000) The Houses of Parliament: history, art, architecture. Hist today, 50(10), 56-57

You need to type in the complete words when searching Enterprise. You can often guess the full title (eg this one is History today). If not, check for the full title in our index of periodical abbreviations, available at Folio--016.05-PER or search Google for the abbreviation.

Please note that as part of the Library Refurbishment Project from April 2017 until 2019 most print journals are being temporarily removed from the Library. Free inter-library loans loans will be provided for articles in those volumes.

Strange abbreviations on your reading list

You will often find the following abbreviations used in reading lists and bibliographies:

Ibid. is an abbreviation of the Latin ibidem and means "the same as the preceding reference".

Idem. means "the same" in Latin and is used in place of the author's name for more than one reference to works by the same author (eg Austen, Jane. Emma p. 96 ; Idem. Pride and prejudice, p. 135)

Op. cit. is an abbreviation of the Latin opere citato and means in the work cited. Look back in the list for full publication details which have already been given.

No title?

If a book is quoted using just the authors with no title (eg Eysenck and Keane), the full reference may have been given earlier in the list, so it is worth looking back.  

Organisations are often referred to by their initials, eg AOAC International or MLA. To find out what the initials stand for, consult the Acronyms, initialisms and abbreviations dictionary at Folio--421.8-ACR, or search Google to find their website.


I can't find the book on Enterprise...

  • You might have mistyped your search - check the spelling of your search.
  • There might be a mistake, or typing error on the reading list - try searching for a few key words from the title.
  • The book is not in the Library - check with your lecturer. You might be supposed to buy your own copy or it might be in a School collection.
  • Contact your subject liaison librarian - they can order books on reading lists from your School's Library budget.

My reading list gives a Call Number, but the book isn't there...

The book could be on loan. Check Enterprise - if it is out, you can place a hold on it. There may also be copies in the Course Collection.

Enterprise says that the book is on-shelf, but I can't find it

Make sure you are looking in the correct section.

  • Check the Floor Plans
    Look in the Normal Size Book Section (white labels) for Call Numbers without a prefix eg 630.942-GRE Look in the Folio Size Book Section (pink labels) for Call Numbers with the word 'Folio' in front eg Folio--630.942-GRE
  • Check Enterprise again
    - make sure you write down the whole Call Number including any words in front of the numbers eg Folio
    - notice the name of the Library given next to the Call Number - it might be part of the Museum of English Rural Life collection or held by Special Collection. If you are unsure, please ask at an Information Desk

Someone may be using the book in the Library

  • Check the Recent Returns shelves for books that have been cleared from the desks that morning.
  • Check books left next to the photocopiers.
  • Come back tomorrow - if you still don't find the book, ask at an Information Desk for help

The reference on my reading list is not available online or in print

  • Contact your subject liaison librarian - give full details of the reference you can't find. Your librarian will explore options for making the item available in the Library or via Blackboard.

Online reading lists

See Online reading lists: a guide for students if your Department is already using our Online Reading Lists system.  For a quick tour see the video below (this video is accompanied by music):

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