The purpose of reading lists
The intention of a reading list is to give you a starting point, suggesting some of the most relevant or significant texts in the field. Each one represents an individual supervisor's own thoughts about what they feel is important; no one reading list is the authoritative one. A reading list is not intended to be exhaustive, nor are you meant to read every item on the list. Many of the items are alternatives to one another, in case particular books are in high demand or out of the library, or to cater for students' differing personal preferences in the way a text is presented. Nor do you have to stick to the list; many supervisors will welcome the initiative shown when a student finds their own texts, as long as they are of suitable quality.
Types of reading list
Your supervisor may give you a reading list each week for your essay. This list is probably closely related to your weekly essay and may be shorter and more accessible, given the time available to you. There are also much larger reading lists for each Paper that you take, on the Faculty website. Please note that this information is Raven- access only. Faculty lists are similar to extensive bibliographies for a period or topic, and you might want to use them to supplement the supervisor lists, or dip into them occasionally for wider reading, especially in the vacations.
Recognising different types of item on the reading list
When selecting from items on a reading list or searching for them, it is helpful to be able to identify what type of text each item is. This will influence how you search for it, what format it is in and where you might find it. Knowing what type of source you are looking for may help you track things down more quickly, and it may help you prioritise your reading.