UNSW Library Course Resources Guidelines

These guidelines are to assist teaching academics in establishing and updating a course list to ensure an enhanced student experience and to ensure obligations under relevant legislation are met.

TEQSA - Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency: Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021, Guidance note: Staffing, learning resources and educational support - 2017 and Higher Education Support Act 2003.

Roles and responsibilities

Teaching academics and the Library have a joint responsibility to ensure scholarly resources are available to students via reading list services such as Leganto to support student learning. It is acknowledged there will be exceptions.

Teaching academic responsibilities

It is the responsibility of teaching academics to ensure that any new or updated resource requirements are advised to the Library in sufficient time (10 - 12 weeks) to determine if the resource is available for the Library to acquire and make available for students to use before the start of the teaching term.

Staff should not upload any digitised file of an article or sections of a book or report directly into Moodle or another learning management system as there may be serious copyright implications. These files should be added to a citation in the course resource list so the Library can determine the appropriate copyright status.

UNSW Library responsibilities

  • Obtain scholarly resources that meet the UNSW Library Collection Development Strategy.
  • Advise if a scholarly resource cannot be obtained (possible reasons include lack of availability or restrictive acquisition model).
  • Maximise the availability of resources subject to licence models.
  • Manage copyright compliance of all digitised materials.
  • Ensure linking to electronic resources is monitored and maintained to provide seamless access.

Prescribed course resources

For prescribed course resources to be available via the Library, they must be one or more of the following:

  • Available within the UNSW Library resource collection.
  • Available for academic libraries to purchase (not all eBooks are available for academic libraries to purchase on behalf of their institutions - these are publisher-based restrictions).
  • Able to be digitised under the relevant copyright provisions.
  • Be freely available online.

The Library will always try to obtain an electronic version of a prescribed resource. When this is not possible, a print version will be obtained instead.

The Library should be considered a secondary source of textbook access for students and the availability of a resource via the Library for students is not required to be a 1 to 1 ratio. Students may choose to purchase a personal copy of a prescribed textbook. Additionally, students will have to obtain a print copy of any textbook required for an open-book invigilated exam.

The TEQSA Guidance note: Staffing, learning resources and educational support advises that access can be either via a physical book or full-text digital access where possible.

For a Prescribed Resource the Library must be able to provide a level of availability for students to enable the University to meet the requirements of Commonwealth Government legislation which requires a student must have ready access (either provided by the school/centre/faculty or available in the Library in hard copy or electronically) to complete their course or program (Higher Education Support Act 2003).

Course resources in practice

Prescribed resources

Prescribed resource: essential to student learning in a course and directly links to learning outcomes. Identified in the course resources list with the tag Prescribed.

  • Online format is the preferred format for purchase.
  • Unlimited online access model will be purchased if available.
  • Two print copies will be purchased if the online version with unlimited access is not available.

Recommended resources

Recommended resource: provides additional, background or current information relevant to learning outcomes. All other items in a course list.

  • Online format is the preferred format for purchase.
  • Unlimited online access model will be purchased if available.
  • One print copy will be purchased if the online version with unlimited access is not available.

Unlimited Users Online Access Model: unlimited number of authorised users can read online simultaneously.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) Free: access model with no limitation on downloading or printing.

A print version will be purchased when the online version of a title is restricted i.e. a restricted number of users can read online simultaneously (usually one to three).

Institutional access: Many textbook publishers market titles primarily for retail sale, not institutional sale. Where publishers do sell titles to libraries, they often charge per enrolled student or have limited simultaneous users per purchased copy or can only rent/purchase as an individual making the cost prohibitive for library budgets. Online resources with restrictive access models will not be purchased.

To maximise equity of access for students and to comply with copyright and licensing terms of agreement, only online resources providing institutional access will be purchased. Examples of platforms that do not provide institutional access are: VitalSource, Kotext, eBooks.com, Wiley Direct, McGraw-Hill, Cengage, Rakuten Kobo, Amazon Kindle, Netflix, Foxtel (this is not an exhaustive list).


October 2023

UNSW Library aims to maximise equity of access for all students to their course resources.

For further assistance about course resources contact your Outreach Librarian.