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Diversify and decolonise your reading lists

Actions you can take

In this section, you can find lots of ways to decolonise and diversify your reading lists.

Some of the actions require time to research and then develop your list.  This might involve:

  • Researching the area
  • Looking at higher education sector developments
  • Adding content to your reading list and sending the reading list for review

Rest assured, we are here to help you with any questions and offer support.  You can contact your subject librarian at any stage of this process.

Annotate your lists

Words are power!

Many lists use notes to help the students understand a little bit more about the resource that has been selected. If you have not experimented with the note feature in Reading Lists Online, you may like to try it when you next add a resource to a list or when you next prepare your lists for next semester.

Annotating your lists is a great way to explain to your students why you think they should be using the item on the list. Each time, we add an item on to a reading list, we are making a decision. We are saying that this item is worth your time to read, watch or listen to. A list selection confers value on to that resources as it is being elevated above other resources within that area because out of all the resources you could have chosen, you chose this! 

Help the students understand your thought processes and why you chose that item by adding a note!


 Action: Add your note as you add the resource

You may find it easier to add your notes as you add each item as the reason why you selected the resource will be fresh in your mind.

How can I discover underrepresented narratives and voices?

There are a number of ways you can discover underrepresented voices.

You can search for published research using the library resources available. A good place to start is the subject databases available on the library Subject Guides:

Try some of the Open Access resources that are freely available. A list of of Open Access Resources is available here:

Have a look at what smaller, independent publishers are publishing.  You will will find a list of some of these here on this guide:

There is lots of work happening on this area across the sector so you may find it helpful to look at reading lists from other Universities for ideas and discussion points.  We have suggested a few on this guide here:

Scan the sector

 Action: Take a look at decolonisation projects and webpages from other institutions.

See what is out there: new organisations and publications

Publishing in academic journals can be challenging and there can be barriers.

Take a look at independent organisations that are publishing content in new ways related to your subject or research interest and consider building them into relevant sessions.

Find inspiration! Browse independent, specialist or smaller presses or imprints

Take a look at a range of publishers.

You can find a range of publishers and presses here with examples of their writers books that we have in the Library.

Another way to find new publishers is to tap into a few curated pages like this!

Librarians! They love to help and here are some impressive collections of publishers and suppliers in a range of subject areas.

There may be new books that you find that you now want to add to your reading list or have added to the Library collections.


 Action: If the books are for a reading list

If books are for a module, add them to your reading list and send the list into review and we will take care of the rest! Order the book and add the link to the Library Search version to your reading list for you!

If you are not sure what we mean, here is a link to the Reading List guide for staff and this will take you through the process!


 Action: If the books are recommendations for the library collection 

Use the Recommend a book to the Library form below.

We are always looking for new publications to support your learning, teaching or research, and to keep the library collections up to date with high-quality materials.  If you think we're missing something crucial though, we'd like to hear about it.  

Use Library Search to find place of publication sources.

You can use Library Search to filter your results by place of publication.

This is a screenshot of Library Searc.Most Library Searches begin on the Library homepage using the above search box. This view includes filters for format, resource, date, language options etc. You can see below a different way to search Library Search.

If you like detail (or a fellow librarian) this is a scoped version of Library Search which is unique for use within this guide. 

The Library Search box below enables you to search for a topic and limit the search results based on:

  • place of publication. This is at country level and is based on the publisher of the information.

Both versions of Library Search include the language filter. The place of publication filter is not available in the Library Online version of Library Search.

However there are three important pieces of information you need to be aware of:

  • The library gathers data from a wide range of sources.
  • It is not possible to check all data which means some of this data will be unchecked and could contain errors.
  • This version of Library Search only returns results for items in the Library collection that contain place of publication information in a way that Library Search can work with. It will not work for other items like online journal articles. Ideally, we would want this to work as a filter in the Library Online version of Library Search but due to technical issues this is not possible at this time.
  • Whilst data accuracy is important... Library staff are not able to check each and every Library Search record to verify the place of publication.


Use the Library Search widget below to search the library and limit by place of publication


Find and use research and evidence from across the globe

Databases are really exciting resources for helping discover and find research

There is so much that you can do within the databases and here is one option! We didn't want to predict your favourite resource and only make one video so here are two - one for Scopus and one for Web of Science. 

Choose the one for the database you use the most and in almost under 2 minutes, we will show you how to find research affiliated to a specific country.

Consider the ranges of approaches you can take with data

There are lots of ways to work with data and search results when using academic databases.

Let's talk about using InCites Essential Science. 


 Action: Watch the video to see how you can use InCites Essential Science Indicators (ESI)

You can use it in a variety of ways and the visualization map shows the geographical distribution of highly cited or hot papers within the database. You can sort the results by Countries / Regions and this will help you see which papers linked to a country or region are being cited the most.



Countries and region filters

We can use filters in ESI to find highly cited papers within a specific country or region and we can filter by country to find the most cited institutions. This is one way in which we can amplify research from under represented minorities. It is a way to help add to the canon and bring in more international research into seminars and the curriculum.


Citation sorts in databases

We can use citation sorts in databases to order search results in to highest cited papers. This enables the viewer to understand which papers are getting the most citations but does this perpetuate citation patterns and possible bias of sources?

If EDI shows that citations are higher in papers published in western publishing then using the relevancy sort in a database seems to be the equitable approach when sorting search results. 


Balancing up

Use a combination of approaches in databases can help find articles that are relevant and representative of the international research community. Think global!

Consider knowledge production

Open Access (OA) is about making research outputs freely accessible online

With OA, there is at no charge to the reader, and with any restrictions on re-use minimised. The aim is to give researchers, members of the public, and industry access to the research they need and to give them the freedom to build upon research already carried out.

Open access journals and books offer new opportunities to discover global research literature in your discipline. 


How do I find open access content?

That is a great question! There are a couple of ways that you can do this! You can look on individual publishers webpages for Open Access information or search on a open access site.

Mix it up! Use a variety of formats!

Use a variety of resources to engage students with audio-visual resources.

Students may prefer accessing materials in different formats and incorporating these alongside traditional text based resources is a great way to make your reading list more inclusive and diverse.  You could choose:

  • TV programmes, documentaries and feature films 

  • Radio shows

  • Theatre productions 

  • TED Talks and YouTube videos

  • Podcasts


 Action: Take a look at Box of Broadcast

You could create a themed playlist in Box of Broadcasts for your reading list. Here are two examples created by the library so you can get a feel for how it would look for students: 


The library provides access to a phenomenal range of TV programmes, feature films, theatre productions and radio shows.  Use the links below to explore some of these: