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Oxford Reading Lists Online (ORLO): Admin and list creation

Creating reading lists in ORLO

To make a reading list appear in ORLO, someone needs to create it, add resources to it and publish it. When an ORLO list is initially created, it will be in draft form. Once a list is published, however, it will immediately become visible to students and an automatic review request will be sent to the relevant subject library. Library staff review lists so that they can purchase the teaching materials added there. Who takes responsibility for creating and publishing ORLO lists (e.g. academics, administrators or library staff) varies between departments, faculties and colleges, but the process remains the same. Contact your Subject Consultant to find what services your local library can offer you.

Click through the tabs in the box below for guidance on setting up an ORLO list. Please note: it is essential that all lists adhere to the ORLO Naming convention outlined in the tab below. 

Tip: We recommend that you use either Google Chrome or Firefox to create ORLO lists; students can access lists from any browser, but we have found these browsers are the most suitable for creating lists.  

Steps of ORLO list creation

To start creating and editing ORLO lists, you will need 'List Publisher' permissions. Please email your subject librarian or to request permissions. Alternatively, please sign up to one of our ORLO list creation training sessions, where you will be sent permissions on completion.

Please see the PDF guide below on how create an ORLO profile, which will give you view-only access to all ORLO lists, as well as details on how to accept the invitation to receive List publisher permissions. 

To create your reading list in ORLO, click on the My Lists tab in the grey banner at the top of the ORLO webpage. 

Screenshot of the ORLO webpage tab options, including the My Lists tab

From here, click the Create new list button. Please note that this button will only be visible to those who have accepted their List Publisher permissions. 

Sceenshot of the ORLO My Lists page including the Create New List button 

You will then be prompted to set the details for your new list, including an appropriate name (please see the Naming convention tab above), description and the year that the list will run for (e.g. academic or calendar year). Please ignore the hierarchy button as this feature is not currently in use. 

Screenshot of the ORLO create a new list page with the various fields to describe the list

Lists can either be public or private. Public lists are visible to anyone (N.B. only those with an Oxford SSO can then access the electronic resources from the Oxford Collections via the View Online buttons) whilst Private lists can only be accessed by those with an Oxford SSO. It is not possible to restrict an ORLO list to a specific student cohort. If a list is private, the red icon in the screenshot below will be visible under the list title.

Screenshot of the 'private' tag on an ORLO list

When you create a list in ORLO, it is automatically set to the 'Institutional default', which is private. It is recommended that lists be set to private as this allows more accurate usage statistics to be captured, however, you might prefer to create a public list. To change the privacy setting, click the edit button and then select edit list details from the drop-down menu. In the pop-up screen you can change the 'Who can view' option to 'Everyone'. 

Screenshot of the edit details pop-up screen in ORLO

All ORLO lists must adhere to either the departmental or tutorial naming convention, which are outlined in the PDF guides below. 

For example, a departmental list for the Oxford Internet Institute would appear like this: OII_MSc SDS_Foundations of Social Data Science_MT

The list of all existing departmental and college codes is on the Key Contacts page of this LibGuide. If your department or college is new to ORLO and so there is currently no suitable code for you yet, please email

Student numbers are used to determine how many copies of an item to purchase and to request digitisations. If you are unsure of the correct student numbers, please provide the highest estimate for the group.

To add the student numbers to your list, click the Edit button at the top right of the list and select Hierarchy and student numbers

Screenshot of the Edit menu from an ORLO list

In the pop-up screen, please type in the number of students on the course and click Save

Please download the full guide on how to add student numbers below. 

Each ORLO list requires a unique digitisation code. This will allow you to place digitisation requests for scanned chapters/articles to be created and uploaded to your list (see the Digitisation page for further details). Most codes have already been added to the lists as Libraries manage digitisation codes. If you need a new digitisation code please email your library rep

To add the digitisation code to your list, click the edit button at the top-right of the list and select the Edit list details option from the drop-down menu.

Screenshot of the Edit menu from an ORLO list

Under the List description heading, type in the digitisation code (e.g. "digitisation code = TestCode123) and then click Save. This text will then appear underneath the list title.    

Screenshot of the edit list details pop-up screen including list title and description fields

Alongside the digitisation code, please feel free to add further text to this field to provide context for your list if necessary. A more detailed guide on how to add the digitisation code can be download from PDF below.

Please see the PDF guide below on how to assign a list owner:

When deciding who to assign as the list owner, you may wish to consider the following:

  • Multiple people with list publisher permissions can edit an ORLO list at once, however, there can only one named list owner.
  • Anyone with an ORLO profile can be assigned as a list owner. An ORLO profile can be created without list publisher permissions, but these are required to edit lists. 
  • You may wish to add further names in the list description in addition to adding a named list owner. 
  • You may wish to set the course convenor or the administrator as the list owner. 
  • Assigning a list owner can act as a point of contact for students when they have questions about the list or accessing the materials.
  • Students can search for ORLO lists from the homepage by list owner names. 
  • When lists rollover in the summer, the latest version of this list will automatically appear in the assigned owner's 'My Lists' tab. This helps you to find the list to make edits and publish it list before the start of the next academic year.

On your new ORLO list, you can select the Add Section button to add sections and sub-sections to structure your lists (e.g. Week 1, Core texts).

The Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) have developed a guide on how to create an effective reading list, which may be useful for planning the structure of your ORLO list. Features in ORLO such as setting the reading importance (e.g. essential or recommended reading) and using descriptive section headings should be considered. 

It is possible to rearrange sections once they are created; please download the PDF guide below for instructions. Once you have created a skeleton structure for your list, you can start bookmarking various resources onto you list. Please see the Bookmarking page for further details.