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Oxford Reading Lists Online (ORLO): FAQs


Please click through the tab-headings in the box below to search through our FAQs. 

If you have any further questions that have not been answered here, please email


How do I get ORLO permissions? I want to create and edit reading lists.

Please book a space on an upcoming ORLO list creation training courses, where on completion of the session, you will be sent an email invitation to receive ORLO List Publisher permissions. Alternatively, please read through all the sections on this LibGuide and then email your Subject Librarian who will arrange for you to receive ORLO List Publisher permissions. Please email if you are unsure. 

ORLO permissions are sent via email invitation (sent from or can be accepted from your ORLO profile. Please see the Admin and List Creation page for further details.

Who is responsible for my reading lists and who do I contact for help?

The exact balance of responsibilities for every reading list is different based on departmental policies and how your library is involved. Talk to your College or Subject Librarian for help and more information.

Can multiple tutors/editors contribute to the reading list?

Yes, you can work collaboratively on a reading list. Each list can only have one named list owner, but you can invite anyone with ORLO permissions to edit and publish the lists. Tutors on sabbatical or departing from Oxford can easily share or pass on ownership.

How can I find the list(s) I need to edit?

From the ORLO homepage, type the list details into the search bar (e.g. department code or course name). ORLO will tell you how many lists it finds matching your terms, but it will only display 5 published lists and 5 draft lists at this stage (N.B. only those with ORLO List Publisher permissions can see draft lists). To see more lists matching your criteria, hit the Return key to view all results in the next screen. If you are not seeing draft lists, check that you have logged in at the top of the screen as only public published lists can be seen otherwise. If you are still struggling to find your draft list, please contact your Subject Librarian and they will be able to provide you with the direct URL to the draft list. 

Is it possible to “hide” ORLO lists behind a Faculty firewall?

The current single sign on (SSO) does not include enough information to grant permissions to only certain sections of the University. This means that we can’t put any lists behind a password or firewall, other than setting a list to Private (institutional default) to limit access to only those with and Oxford SSO, which is already in use. 

How can I make an ORLO list public?

When a list is created, it will automatically be set to the institutional default of private, which means that only those with an Oxford SSO can access it. To change the list to public, you can go to the edit button at the top-right of the list, go to 'edit list details' and then switch 'who can view' to everyone and save. The red PRIVATE icon under the list title will now disappear and anyone can now search for and access the list. Please note that an Oxford SSO is still required to access any eresources on the list that are added from the Oxford collections on SOLO.

Can I embed my ORLO list in Canvas?

Yes, this is a quick process. Please see the Canvas page for further details. You can either embed a full ORLO list into a Canvas module or a section of the list. Embedding the full ORLO list provides students with full functionality. 

Can I create non-course ORLO lists?

Yes, you can create ORLO lists for non-course reading lists. For example, please see our Study Skills Resources list open to all of Oxford University. The only requirement to set up these types of lists is that you start the list title with the special code 'OXF' to seperate it from departmental and tutorial lists. 

I bookmarked an item and now it is not working

It is important to install and turn on the Oxford VPN if editing ORLO lists off campus. If you do not use the VPN, the links in the bookmarks you create will be more likely to break. You should also use the VPN when adding links to existing bookmarks.

How do I install the Add to my bookmarks button?

We recommend that you edit ORLO lists using either Google Chrome or Firefox (although students can access the lists from any browser). You can download the bookmark tool to the bookmark bar of your preferred browser. Go to the 'My Bookmarks' tab on the ORLO homepage and click the 'Install Bookmark Button'. Please see further details on the Bookmarking page.

If the bookmarklet doesn’t work in your browser, try installing the bookmark plugin. Instructions on how to do this can be found on this website:

How do I create bookmarks that show both printed and ebooks?

Copy the URL of the ebook from the SOLO record and manually add this to the metadata of the print book. Please see the Bookmarking page on the ORLO LibGuide for a more detailed explanation.

Is there a quick way to update a bookmark with the newer edition?

Yes; find the newer edition on SOLO, look under 'Details & Links' and copy the Aleph System Number. Open the reading list, go to the item, edit the metadata (click on three dots and click edit). In the Lookup box at the bottom select LCN from the dropdown list, paste the Aleph System Number from the new edition in the box, click Lookup. The new record will overwrite the old record and show the information for the new edition. Click save.

How do I add a title with large numbers of holdings which times out?

There is a 15 second timeout when bookmarking items. In these cases the workaround is to bookmark as normal, ignoring the message that it is not found. Then manually remove the web address and add the LCN field. Then the Check Availability button works for the students to check the availability in Primo from the list item, as the time out is still an issue for the availability display.

I added a link but it isn’t working.

  • This could be due to old cookies. Try clearing the cookies from your browser and trying again (Please see the IT Services guide on how to reset your browser
  • If you get an error message about EXProxy, Contact your Subject Consultant who can ensure that this article/websites is added to the EZProxy list.
  • Check that the link is still working outside of ORLO, the link may have changed and you may need to update a bookmark.

Why doesn’t “View other editions” work for Chapters?

“View other editions” works by searching for the title and author of the bookmark in the catalogue. This usually works quite well but can cause problems when searching for a chapter. The chapter has its own Title and Author, but these are probably not listed in SOLO. We have asked the supplier of ORLO to fix this and they are working on it.

How do I delete a bookmark? 

Go to the three-dot menu button to the right of the bookmark you wish to remove and press delete. Please note that this action cannot be undone, you will need to readd the bookmark to the list if you do in fact wish to keep it. BEFORE DELETING please check if the bookmark has a digitisation attached. If so, please inform you ORLO Library Rep so that they can manually withdraw the digitisation in the back system as well.

The incorrect chapter has been digitised – how can I request this to be fixed?

Please contact your Subject Librarian so they can look into this. 

What is the digitisation code for my course?

A unique digitisation code is required for each reading list to request digitisations for it. It is used to report scans to the Copyright Licensing Association (CLA). Talk with your Subject Librarian to determine what your digitisation code is. If the library assisted in creating your list, the digitisation code may be written in the details section at the top of your list and this can be used to complete the digitisation request forms (please enter this into the 'course code' field).

Why has my digitisation request been rejected?

When your digitisation request was rejected you would have received a message which would give a brief explanation of the reason using certain terms. Rejection messages you may receive are as follows:

  • Exceeded copy limit. This means that our CLA Licence allows us to scan 1 chapter or up to 10% of a book, this request would exceed this limit.

  • Existing electronic copy available. This means that we have found an ebook for this title. We do not make scans when an ebook is already available.

  • Not permitted by RRO. This item is not covered by our CLA Licence and we do not have permissions to copy it.

  • Duplicate request. A scan of this item has already been requested for this reading list.

I have been asked to edit a draft list. How can I edit this?

You will need ORLO List Publisher permissions to access draft lists. Any edits that are made to a draft list will be immediately saved to the list, however, changes will only be visible to students when the list is published. You will need to republish the list each time you make edits for students to see these. 

Is there a particular file format that my reading lists should be before I get started with ORLO?

If you have the references for your list in a reference management tool (such as EndNote, RefWorks etc), you can import these into ORLO (see the 'Import RIS files into ORLO' guide on how to import a .ris file). Please note that the order of items on the list will be lost in such an import.

If your existing list is only available as a MS Word or pdf file, you can use that as a starting point for your ORLO list, even if you cannot automatically import or convert it to ORLO. For more information about reference management software, including workshops please see here:

I have been sent a link to an ORLO list but I’m getting a 404 error message

The link you are trying to access is probably for a draft (i.e. Unpublished) list which requires you to log in to ORLO and have ORLO list publisher permissions. If you have List publisher permissions, log into ORLO from the homepage in your browser and then to open the link again in a new tab in your browser. 

How do I move sections around within a list?

Click the arrow to the right of a section heading and click and drag this to the desired location on the list. Alternatively, click the three-dot button to choose Move Up or Move Down - this moves the section one place. Please note that there is also the option to create sub-sections in your list. 

Is it possible to undo changes to lists?

There is no 'undo' button in ORLO; all changes are saved live onto the list, so please take care when editing your lists. You can see recent changes by clicking on the View button, but you will need to manually re-add or delete any new items/sections. If this is a published list but you have made edits since, you could go to student view from the 'View' button to see what changes have been made since the last publish and then reverse these changes manually (e.g. re-add deleted bookmarks). 

I have published a list by mistake. What do I do?

Unfortunately, you can’t “unpublish” a list. A published list is visible to all. If you have set the list to “Private” or the “Institutional Default” then only those with an Oxford SSO can access it. If you really don’t want this list to be discoverable to anyone, then you can “Archive” the list and copy the Archived list to a new draft version, which will be hidden from students. If there are digitisations linked to the archived list then these may need to be requested again on the new Draft list. Please email to have your list archived. 

There is a blue banner at the top of my list saying 'A review has been requested'. What does this mean?

This means that your list has been published and so is immediately visible to students, however, a review request has been generated for Library Staff. They will complete this review as quickly a possible. Reviews will include checking links and looking into the possibility of acquiring electronic and print materials to support your teaching.

Please note that you can add 'Library Notes' to the items on your reading list to send messages to Library staff to consider during their reviews; these notes will not be visible to students. 

Is it possible to merge more than one list into a single list?

There's no current method of merging lists directly. However, you could use the Export RIS feature, to export and add all of the bookmarks from one list and then drop them into another, which would typically be a few minutes work. The ORLO Supplier has a more detailed explanation of the procedure: existing-lists

Is it possible to separate out one list into several?

The best way to do this is to copy the list as many times as required and delete the unwanted items and sections from each list. It might be a good idea to Archive the initial list first just in case it is wanted at a future date.

How do I delete a list?

To hide a list from general view you can Archive a list. Staff can view archived lists and copy them back whenever needed and logged in users can see archived lists using the direct link. Note: only published lists can be Archived and only if there is no outstanding Review on them. If you really want a list to be deleted, i.e. never to be seen again, then prefix the list name with del_ or DEL_ and these will be deleted from ORLO on a regular basis.

Can I export an ORLO list?

ORLO lists can be exported as PDF or CSV files once they are published. To export the list: 

  1. Click the 'View' button at the top-right of the list
  2. Select 'As Student' from the drop-down menu
  3. The 'View' button will be replaced with a 'View & Export' option
  4. Click this to export the list as a PDF or CSV file

Please note that if you have any unpublished changes on your list, these will not appear on the exported file. 

How can I export in certain citation styles?

ORLO lists will automatically use Harvard style citation. The citation style of the list can be altered when in student view at the top of the list. Then, when the list is exported as as PDF (as outlined in the steps above), the selected citation style will be applied. 

How do I get statistics on usage of my lists?

At the top of your list click 'View' then select Analytics. You will see the number of clicks an item has and the number of reading intentions. You will not see information for individual students.

What is rollover and what does it mean for my lists?

Rollover is the copying of lists from one time period to another, usually one academic year to another so that a list can be archived each year and edits made to a new list if required. Rolling over lists with digitisations will ensure that the digitisations are linked to both lists while they are current. Analytics will be linked to each list and can be compared from year to year. Please see the rollover page for further details.