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RLO: Selecting Resources

Selecting Resources

Your Library Services aims to provide resources at the point of need, in an affordable and sustainable manner.

Here you can find out more about how the library can work with you to select a range of resources which reflects the diverse staff and student population which we are proud to support. 

Where to start - Library Online

Digital access to essential texts

eBooks / eTextbooks at Hallam

The Library has extensive eBook collections which offer digital access to tens of thousands of eBooks on a variety of subjects, free of charge to the student.  eBooks offer a range of reading and learning functionality, including highlighting, adding to favourites, annotation and text to speech software.  Use Library Search on the Library homepage to locate and access eBooks. 

The top 100 eTextbooks at Sheffield Hallam

Many key textbooks are normally only available to borrow in print format from the campus libraries, and students have needed to purchase their own copy at personal expense.  To improve access to key learning materials, your Library has been working with course and module leaders to identify around 100 of the most in-demand textbooks which have previously not been made available in eBook format.  These texts are now available online via the BibliU eTextbook platform and have made a fantastic addition to our already extensive eBook collection. 

All materials available via BibliU have multi-user licences which allow unlimited simultaneous use. Staff and students will get twelve months access to eTextbooks on the platform from the point at which the title is first used or activated. Please encourage your students to access these resources.

Why should you choose eBooks over traditional print items?

Whilst you might not be an immediate convert to the eBook and may be thinking, ‘I don’t like reading on a screen’, there are some advantages to reading texts in this format. 


Woman reading ebookThe most obvious advantage is that you can access the contents from the comfort of your own home or even on your mobile device, provided you have a reasonable internet connection. Or you can download chapters to read at a later date, which is useful when distance learning, commuting or travelling. Chapters can even be printed off so you can annotate and highlight relevant sections which is something you can’t do with loaned textbooks! But, the number of pages you can download is subject to publisher restrictions in accordance with DRM (Digital rights management). And there is nothing to return or fall overdue – so no fines! 


eBooks can be embedded into your Reading Lists Online giving students easy access to course specific resources at the click of a button. This has the added advantage of saving students money too as it means they are no longer required to purchase core texts.  Items are available for on-campus and off-campus use and multi-user eBooks allow many students to access the item at the same time. Please be aware that not all books are made available with multi-user licences. 


When you access an eBook or journal online you can adjust it to meet your specific reading requirements. Digital access to text can remove a myriad of barriers to reading.  Key features include the ability to:

  • enlarge font size and magnify the print for easier reading whilst still enabling text-flow to fit the screen.
  • alter colour and contrast of the screen to improve reading for the visually impaired and adjust brightness for lighter/darker learning environments.
  • use Text to speech software to enable print to be read aloud by simulated voice technology. 
  • apply alternative text features to obtain a brief description of the information given in images and tables.

You can also search the contents of an ebook using key words. This highlights all the mentions of the specific topic within the text, sparing you the time-consuming task of scanning pages for relevant information.

Use our eBook collections to select readily accessible resources to add to your reading lists.

bookEBook Central Collection

Authoritative ebooks in a range of subjects from the world's top publishers. Use Ebook Central to quickly and easily find relevant ebooks and chapters; read online; search within the ebook; and highlight, take notes and bookmark pages in your online copy, stored on your bookshelf for you. You can also share your research with others, download ebooks and chapters to your laptop or mobile device, and more.

bookVLe Books

An enormous multi-disciplinary database of eBooks. You can search for a title or browse by subject category.

bookDirectory of open access books

A searchable database of peer reviewed scientific monographs that have been made accessible by academic publishers in open access. DOAB  provides direct links to the full text of the publications on the websites of the publishers. The collection covers all disciplines but focuses in particular on humanities, law and social sciences. All books in DOAB have a full open access license, making them ‘free to share’.

bookOxford Handbooks Online

An outstanding collection of the best Handbooks across many different subject areas. One of the most prestigious and successful strands of Oxford’s scholarly publishing, the Handbook series contains in-depth, high-level articles by scholars at the top of their field. Each Handbook offers thorough introductions to topics and a critical survey of the current state of scholarship, creating an original conception of the field and setting the agenda for new research.


A-Z list of Databases

Subject Guides

Multimedia Resources

Online Archives

Independent, specialist and smaller presses

Open Educational Resources for Teaching and Learning

image of library book shelves on a computer

How do we choose which books to buy?

The Library selects resources in a number of ways.

We purchase books using:

  • reading lists - for Essential items we will endeavour to purchase a multi-access e-book. If this is not possible, your subject librarian will be in touch to look for alternatives. For Background resources we will automatically purchase a one week loan copy.
  • suggest a purchase recommendations from students and staff
  • colloboration with Hallam staff networks
  • recommendations from our subject librarians

The mixture of approaches means that we are more than a textbook library. The collection has depth and range. We have the books you need for your modules and research as well as supplementary material around these core topics.

Our subject librarians build the wider collection and make sure the library has new and relevant content. A key focus is  look for books related to key areas like decolonisation and titles that amplfy diverse voices. 

Introduction to the review process

Once you have completed your RLO, it is advisable to send the list to Review. This will allow the Library to check your reading list and order any resources that are not already available. Under the Edit button, select the option for Request Review. This will send the list to staff in the Library Resources Team. Please ensure that you have included the Module Title, and attached the Module Code and Student numbers (if known). 

RLO review

Whilst your list is in Review, please do not add any new resources as these might be missed.

What does the Review Process do?

  • Staff in the Library Resources Team will check to make sure that all the items are available in the Library - upto a maximum of 75 items will be checked.
  • Essential items - staff will check for multi-access E-Books. If one is not available the team will contact you and your Subject Librarian so that you can discuss with the Librarian how best to proceed. This might be changing the item from Essential to Background and substituting an alternative title as Essential, or digitising an essential chapter. Two one week loan print copies will automatically be ordered.
  • Background items - staff will check and order one print copy if not already in stock.
  • Once the Review is completed, the Resources Team will notify you and you will be able to publish the list and start adding new items if required.

Sending Your List to Review and Publishing

Which publishers do you support?

We are keen to make sure we have a strong collection that is representative of the student and staff community that the library is proud to support. 

We use our purchasing power as a force for good and purchase across many publishers to ensure there is depth and range in the collection. We buy books from a range of publishers and purchases books related to learning, teaching, resources, wellbeing, social and political issues. It is important to purchase resources from a range of publishers to ensure that we support independent and small press publishers. 

In our collection, you can find many examples of books published by large publishers such as Oxford University Press, Elsevier and Penguin. You can also find publishers, university presses and imprints like:

Open acccess and themed collections created by publishers 

We also include within Library Search themed collections that publishers curate to support decolonisation and the amplyfication of diverse voices in the academy.

Here are examples of resources that have been added to the library as part of a project to decolonise the library collections: