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Library Resources in Canvas

This guide provides instructions for adding library databases, links, videos, and other materials to Canvas courses.


The OU Libraries’ Course Materials Canvas tool is designed to help instructors incorporate library materials in their Canvas courses. Instructors can use the tool to build reading lists that include books and articles owned by the library, videos, web resources, and more.


  • Instructors search Discover and link directly to resources; no need to deal with off-campus access or link maintenance
  • Course materials can be saved and reused in other courses or future semesters
  • Course materials lists are added to Canvas course navigation so that students have easy access

This page contains instructions to help you get started, or you can check out our video tutorials. For individualized help, contact your subject librarian.

Add Course Materials tool in Canvas

You can add the Course Materials tool to your Canvas course in a few easy steps.

  • Log into your Canvas course.
  • Select Settings on the bottom of your left side navigation. On the settings screen, click the Navigation tab at the top of the screen.
  • Find the Course Materials tool in the bottom list of navigation items. Click on the Course Materials bar and drag it to the top list, in the order you would like it to appear in your left side navigation.
  • Click the red Save button at the bottom of the page.
  • Course materials should now appear on the left side navigation.

Create a Reading List

Launching Course Materials

  • If you are not there already, navigate to the Course Materials section of your Canvas course.
  • You should now see the Course Materials interface. Your screen should look like the figure below.

Setting up a blank list

  • To create a new list, click + New List in the top right.
  • If you don't see the + New List button, email
  • A pop-up box will appear. Enter a title of the list and a brief description. Click the create button.
  • Select Blank as your template.
  • You will be asked to associate your list with a course. We will do this later. Skip it for now by selecting Not Now.

Organizing your list

  • Before you can add items, you'll need to create at least one section.
  • Click on the New Section button.

  • Enter a Title. The description and dates are optional but can be helpful to your students.
  • Click Create when you are done.
  • Repeat to create more sections.

You are now ready to add items to your list.

Add Resources

Adding Resources

  • You can add resources to individual sections by clicking the + button on the right.
  • This will open a dialog box where you can search library resources. To add a resource not held by the library, click the "Add item manually / Upload file" link at the top of the dialog box.
  • By default, you will search in Discover, but you can change this setting by selecting another option in the Search Library drop-down menu. The other search options are Discover Local, Course Reserves, Research Guides, and Alma.
  • For most cases, leaving the defaults (Simple Search in Discover) will be appropriate. Enter in a search term in the text box, and click search.
  • You can also search by Title, Author, ISBN, and ISSN by selecting the Advance Search Tab. 
  • Your results will appear in the dialog box below your search query.
  • Click the resource you want to add and click the blue ADD button. Note: clicking this button multiple times will add the item to your list each time.

  • You can continue at add as many resources as you would like.
  • Exit out of the search dialog box to return to your reading list, where each of the items you added should now appear. Electronic resources will be marked as complete and print resources will be marked as being prepared.
  • Students can view online resources by clicking View online.
    • If there is only one entry point it will automatically open a new tab with the resource.
    • If there are multiple options, it will list all the relevant databases.
    • All the links go through the library, preventing potential access problems.

Manage Your List

Creating Sections

Your list can be divided into one or more sections. This can help you organize your readings.

  • Click New Section.
  • Enter a Title. The description and dates are optional but can be helpful to your students.
  • Click Create when you are done.
  • Repeat to create more sections.
  • You can expand and collapse the sections by using the toggle section view icon near the top of the screen. 

  • To reorder sections, click on the section name and drag it to the preferred location.
  • You can edit the section information by click in the … to the right of the section name and selecting Edit Section. This will open a dialog box allowing you to change the title, dates, and description. Click save when you have made all of your changes.


Editing Resources

  • The Course Materials tool will automatically include all the metadata from Discover.
  • If you want to add additional information to the item, click the … beside the item title and select Edit item. This will open a dialog box where you can edit the imported metadata.  
  • You can also delete an item by clicking the … and selecting Delete Item.

  • You can designate materials as required or optional by clicking Add tags to item.
    • Then, click the Add tags box.
    • The Mandatory and Optional tags will be visible to the students.
    • The Digitize tag (DGT) is currently not functional.
    • Click save when you are done adding tags.

  • Clicking on the resource will open a new page with additional editing options.
    • You can add a Due Date to the resource.
    • You can add Public or Private Note.
      • Your students will be able to see the public note.
      • Only you can see the Private Note.
    • You can set dates during which the citation and item will be visible to students.
    • Note: The Library Discussion feature is not functional yet.

Managing Your Collection

  • Instead of adding resources directly to a list, you can choose to add to your Collection. From your collection, you can easily place the same material in multiple lists.
  • To start, click My Collection on the left sidebar. This will take you to your Collection page.
  • To add a new item, click the blue + ADD ITEM button.
  • This brings up the search dialog box, which functions the same as it did when you were adding items directly to your reading list.
  • After searching for a resource, click the blue ADD TO COLLECTION button.
  • When you exit the search box, you should see the new item at the top of your Collection page.
  • Go back to your reading list by clicking Reading Lists on the top left and then selecting your list.
  • Click the blue OPEN COLLECTION button.
  • Now your collection list should appear on the right sidebar. The open collection button has changed to CLOSE COLLECTION

  • To add a resource from your collection to your reading list, just click on the resource and drag it into the appropriate place in your reading list.
  • Once you are finished, click CLOSE COLLECTION.

Publish and Share Your Reading List

Publishing and Associating a List with a Course

  • By default, your list is not shared with students. You need to publish it to make it visible to your students.
  • Click the … at the top of your reading list.

  • Select Publish to open the publish dialog box. When you publish your list, you can choose who can see your list. Your options are:
    • Only students in your course
    • All OU students
    • Anyone
  • Click Confirm to close the dialog box and publish your list.

Associate with a course

  • For your final step, you will need to associate the list with a course.
  • Click the and select Associate this list with a course.

  • A dialog box will appear for you to search Canvas courses to which you can link your list.
  • You can search by course code.
  • Once you have selected the course, click the blue Associate button to link the list to your course.

Sharing with Colleagues

Now that you have created and published your list you may want to share the list with colleagues. There are several ways to share your list:

  • First, you can add OU colleagues as collaborators to your list.
    • Click Manage collaborators on the right sidebar.

    • Start typing a OU faculty or staff member’s name or email address.
    • Select the correct person when it appears.
    • Click the blue Send Invitation button.
  • If you want to send your list to a non-OU colleague, you can send them a permalink.
    • Click the at the top left, and then select the Permalink option.

  • This will open a dialog box with a link you can copy and send out.
  • Note: you must have selected to share this list with everyone when you published the list to ensure that the permalink will work.
  • Note: non-OU users will not be able to access electronic resources, but they will be able to see the citations.
  • You can also export your list in a variety of formats. Click the  and select Export to view the different options.
    • .lgn file will download your list as a Leganto file. This file can be uploaded into the Leganto to recreate your exact list. The option to upload this file appears when you create a new list.
    • If you export to MS Word you will see a dialog box, where you can chose your bibliography format. After clicking EXPORT, your list will be downloaded.
    • NOTE: Exporting to word or PDF will just provide you with a citation list. It will not include any links to the resources.

Future Developments

There are a few Leganto features that are still in development. These functionalities will be added in the future.

Physical Reserves Workflow

  • Eventually, Leganto will be able to automate physical reserves requests. When you add a physical item to your reading list, the system will send a request to the Library and the book will be placed on reserved. 

Cite It Plugin

  • The Cite It Plugin will allow instructors to link to web or library resources not in discover by using a browser plugin. We are resolving EZproxy issues before a full launch of this plug in.


  • Leganto can integrate with Zotero. This feature requires additional testing before it is ready for a full launch. If you would like to test the integration, you can add Zotero by clicking your name and then User settings in the top right corner.