Skip to main content

Tutorial: Creating an E-Reading List: Home

A guide to help instructors provide links to online readings for a course.

E-Reading Lists

What is an E-Reading List?

An e-reading list is a list of links to online documents required in a course.  It's an effective alternative to creating a course reprotext, uploading files to Blackboard, or placing items on Reserve in the Library.

E-reading lists are convenient for students, as long as the links are stable and accessible from off-campus. There are two important parts to remember when creating e-reading lists:

  1. Find a durable link - one that works for another user at another time.  That's NOT always the URL in your address bar.
  2. Make sure it works from off-campus, by including the proxy server prefix.  (ONLY if you access it through a restricted site licensed by the Library.)

This page provides options for finding and providing links to the Library's licensed resources.  Choose the one that works best for you and your situation. 

  • Ask your Learning & Liaison Librarian if you want help with this.

Things You Should Know

  • E-reading lists are lists of readings outside of the course textbook. 
  • Linking to documents is not considered "copying", but downloading a document is considered "copying" and requires copyright clearance in order to post (distribute) it.  This copyright approval must be renewed every time the course is offered.  Links don't need to be renewed, (unless they quit working).
  • "Reprotexts" or "Coursepacks" provide easy access to printed material, but often students pay again for material already purchased by the Library.  Links to Library materials avoid this extra cost. Students can choose to print their own copy or read a document online.
  • When students retrieve articles from our providers' websites, our usage statistics reflect this, and the Library can base decisions about subscription relevance more effectively.
  • Resources licensed by the Library come with specific rights for copying and distributing through a Reprotext or LearningSystem.  You can check these rights through our Online Usage Rights database.  In all but a few cases, linking to material purchased by the Library is permitted when adding to an online course or coursepack is not.
  • Always try your link in another browser to make sure it works.  Use a different browser so that it's not affected by cached information.

There are many ways to provide e-reading lists.  Click on the tabs (above) for information on each type.

If you find an item in Omni, you can use the "Permalink" to link your students to this item.  The link will bring your students to the same page, providing access to all online options. No proxy is required, because Omni takes care of the authentication process.

Persistent Links

The url in your address bar isn't always a lasting one, especially if you found the document by searching a database. It might expire after a few hours. Use a link that offers permanent access to the document.

Look for text indicating a link which will last after you close your browser: Persistent Link, Permalink, Durable URL, Permanent URL, Stable URL, etc.  Sometimes you'll find it under a "Share" button.

  • Copy the link.
  • It may work best if you right-click and select "copy link location".

Finding Persisitent Links

It can be tricky to find persistent links, because different publishers have different methods of providing them.

  • We explain how in our Database Information pages, found by clicking Database Information for a database.
  • Your Learning & Liaison Librarian is also happy to help.  Send us your citations and we'll find the links.

Some examples are listed on this page:

Check Your Link

  • If you see the word "trentu" in the link, the Trent proxy is already included. 
    • Otherwise, add the proxy prefix to the beginning of the link:
  • Try your link in another browser.
    • This ensures your browser history isn't remembering the document, but accessing it fresh.

Using a DOI as a Link

A DOI is designed to ensure access to online documents over time. Look for a DOI for the item you wish to use. 

You need 3 parts for an effective link to a DOI:

  1. the Library's proxy server prefix:
    • Unless the document is publicly available - then DON'T include this.
  2. the DOI resolver site:
  3. the DOI for the item: 10.XXXX/XXXXXX....


Article DOI is: 10.1146/
Link is:

Be Careful

A DOI links to a specific location for a document, but sometimes the document is available in more than one place. Your reader could have access to the same document at a different site.

For Trent Users:

  • Be sure that you're obtaining the DOI from a site that you are able to access through the Library's resources, so that your students can access it, too.
  • If the DOI doesn't work for the Trent location, try a different method of linking to the document.

See our webpage on Using a DOI or ask for assistance.

Get It! Trent

Get It! Trent provides a list of options for obtaining an article.  This is especially helpful if we have access from more than one site - it offers students a choice, and allows them to export citations to their RefWorks account.

  • Navigate to the Get It! screen for the article. 
  • Click on "Save Citation Information". 
  • Copy the link provided. 

When students use this link, they'll get the same Get It! screen that you have. 

See details on our webpage: Embedding Links to Journals into your Webpages Using Get It! or ask for assistance.

Blackboard LearningSystem

You can generally post a link to a resource on your LearningSystem/Blackboard course without obtaining copyright clearance, so long as it doesn't violate any license.  It's already available - you're only guiding your students to it.  This is not copying, and it helps the Library know which resources are being used.

You can post a digital copy of a reading on your LearningSystem/Blackboard course, providing it is cleared for copyright approval. Downloading/saving a copy of any file is considered "copying" and copyright law must be observed in order to share it.  Every item posted must be cleared for copyright, each time the course is offered.

  • Many Library licenses allow posting a copy in an online course that has restricted access.  Check our Online Usage Rights database to see if our license permits the  type of usage you need.
  •  If it's not permitted for the supplier you're using, request copyright clearance using the Copyright Clearance Form on the Trent University Copyright Office webpages.
  • Clearance is done through the Trent University Copyright Office in the Oshawa Campus Library, where records are kept of all articles used.  Send requests using the Copyright Clearance Form available on the website.

Full Citations

Provide a full citation to the document and show students how to navigate from a citation to the item through the Library.  Your Learning & Liaison Librarian can help teach this skill. 

The Library maintains web tutorials on how to do this.  It's a good skill to promote.  We find that many students have trouble distinguishing between a citation for a book, an edited book, and an article.  The more practice they get with this, the easier it will become.

Posting a .PDF File

Be cautious about saving a file and making that file available to students.  This is copying and distributing, and subject to copyright restrictions. It's different than providing a link.

You may only post these files on a site restricting access to current students, and they must conform to copyright regulations. In order to ensure copyright compliance, you must request permission to post these documents through Trent's Copyright Office. This permission must be obtained each time the course is offered.

  • Often the Library's licensed resources allow items to be posted on Blackboard. Check our Online Usage Rights Database to see if our license permits the  type of usage you need. You must still submit this to Trent's Copyright Office, for verification.
  • Copyright clearance is requested using the Copyright Digitization Form on the Trent University Copyright Office webpages.
  • A Copyright Digitization Form must be filled out for each reading that is posted on Blackboard, each time the course is offered.