In this section, learn how to:

  • Create a list
  • Add titles to a list
  • Sort and reorder lists
  • Share or print lists
  • Delete a list or list items


Learn how to manage lists as an administrator:

  • Enable or disable lists
  • Assign User Lists permissions
  • Make lists public and searchable
  • Use lists to make browse categories
  • Use lists to make collection spotlights
  • New York Times Bestsellers Lists


Aspen allows users to keep track of items through list creation.

Staff with User Lists permissions can create and share lists to promote collections.



Create a List

From Catalog Results

For both logged in patrons and staff, the process of creating lists is the same!

Under each grouped work, an Add to list button will be there. 

From Browse Category Covers

Users will also see Add to list when they click on Browse Category covers

From Your Account

You can also create a list from Your Account > Your Lists > Create a New List


When you go to create your first list in Aspen, a default "My Favorites" list will be waiting for you. 

If you want to name this list something else, click on Create a New List and give your list a name. As you continue to add titles to your list, Aspen will default to your last modified list instead of "My Favorites."


Add Multiple Titles to a List

Once you have started a list, you can add titles in bulk to the list a couple of ways so that you don't have to keep adding items with the Add to List button one by one.

First, click into the list you want to add multiple titles to.

Then, click Add Multiple Titles at the top of the list.

Add Titles by ISBN

To add titles in bulk by ISBN, insert one ISBN number per line. When you click Add to List Aspen will automatically search for those titles in your collection and add them to the list. 

Add Titles by Title

To add titles in bulk by title, insert one title per line. When you click Add to List, Aspen will automatically search for those titles in your collection and add them to the list. 

Note: For common titles, Aspen is going to choose the most relevant title based on its algorithm, so for something like "Becoming" it will most likely choose Michelle Obama's book, but if you had a board book called "Spring,", Aspen will choose the most relevant copy in your collection matching the title "Spring." For the most accurate results, we recommend adding in bulk with ISBNs.

Find Your Lists

Your lists will be visible from a few different places in the Aspen catalog.


In Your Account > Your Lists

Lists are visible in Your Account > Your Lists. Click on a list title to view the list contents and edit list settings. 


Username Shortcuts

Underneath your username, there is a shortcut to Your Lists.


The 'Your Lists' Page

The Your Lists page shows all of your current lists with useful information at a glance, including the number of titles in the list, when the list was created and last updated, and whether the list is Private or Public. If you're a user with admin permissions, you'll also see whether the list is Searchable, and whether or not the List Author name displays.


In Catalog Searches

As you are preforming searches in Aspen, you will see Appears on List for any titles that appear on a public staff list, a NYT Best Seller list, or one of your own personal lists. Clicking on the hyperlink will take you directly into the list.


'Your Lists' Browse Category

One of Aspen's personalized browse category options is the Your List browse category. This is specific to the logged in user and will automatically update as the user's list(s) update.

Multiple lists will display as sub-browse categories. 



When you are logged in, you can navigate to {YOURASPENURL}/MyAccount/Lists to find your lists.


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Copy and Move Items on Lists

Within your lists, users have the option to either copy or move a title to another list. 

In each list, you'll see Edit next to each item.

Copy Items

Once you hit Edit on the item, you will see Copy to List with a dropdown of all the lists on the same user card. Select the list you want to copy the item to and Save. Now the item will be copied to the selected list. 

Move Items

Once you hit Edit on the item, you will see Move to List with a dropdown of all the lists on the same user card. Select the list you want to move the item to and Save. Now the item will be moved to the selected list. 

Sort and Reorder List

List Sorting Options

Users can sort lists by clicking into the list and clicking Sort By.

Sorting options are:

  • Title
  • Date Added
  • Recently Added
  • User Defined



Sorts list entries alphabetically by title.


Date Added

Sorts by the date titles were added to the list from oldest to newest.


Recently Added

Sorts by the date titles were added to the list from newest to oldest.


User Defined

Allows sorting either by changing the position number, or by moving titles one by one with the up or down arrows.


Move Position Number

Users can switch the position of the item on the list by clicking Sort by > User Defined > Edit (next to the item to change) > Position > Type in New Position Number.

Example: Delete '1' and type in '4' to move this item down the list. 

Move Position Up and Down

Users can switch the position of the item on the list up and down by clicking Sort by > User Defined. Once the user clicks User Defined, arrows will appear next to each item. You can then manually reorder the item(s) with the arrows. 


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Upload Custom List Cover

Within Your lists, users can upload a customized list cover.

In each list, you'll see the Edit button at the top underneath the List title.

Screenshot of list with Edit button highlighted

Once you click Edit, you will be able to change the list title, description and - if you are a user with list staff permissions - the access and search settings. Underneath these are two options to upload your own cover image for your list.

Edit List options

  • Upload List Cover from Computer: opens a dialog box to select your file.
  • Upload List Cover by URL: opens a dialog box for you to paste your URL. This option is useful if you already have a suitable image hosted elsewhere.

If no cover is uploaded, Aspen creates a thumbnail using the covers from the items in your list.

One list with Aspen-generated thumbnail and one with a custom cover image

Share a List

Make List Public

To make a new list public, make sure the Access toggle is switched from Private (the default) to Public and save.

Note: A patron's public list will never show publicaly in the catalog to anyone else. Switching the list to public will only give the patron access to sharing the list externally outside of Aspen via a URL. They can post this URL on social media, on a syllabus, share in an email, etc. The URL will take users directly to that list.

If staff members have permissions to make lists publicaly display in the catalog, when they toggle Access to Public, they will see an additional toggle appear that says Make Searchable. Patrons will not see the Make Searchable toggle.



For an existing list, click into the list, click Edit and switch the access toggle from Private to Public and Update.



Share With URL

Each list has its own static URL. Once the list is public you can share the list via URL with anyone else. The URL will follow the format: https://{YOURASPENURL}/MyAccount/MyList/{LISTNUMBER}



Email List

Within the list, click on Email List.



A box will pop up to put in the sender email, the recipient email, and the message to email. 


Sample Email of a list:

Print a List

From within the list, click Print List.

Note: You can save space on your page by clicking Hide Covers before printing the list.

Print Previews with Covers and Without Covers:


Export List to CSV

When a user clicks into a list, they have the option to Export List to CSV

When downloaded, the csv file will contain:







 Location & Call Number

Export List to RIS

What is RIS? 

RIS is a file format made for expressing bibliographic citations often used for academic journals and databases.

Example record

This is an example of how the book Atomic habits: tiny changes, remarkable results : an easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones by James Clear would be expressed in the RIS file format:

AU - Clear, James
TI - Atomic habits: tiny changes, remarkable results : an easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones
PB - Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House
PY - 2018
CY - New York, New York
N1 - Introduction : My story --, The Fundamentals : Why Tiny Changes Make a Big Difference. The surprising power of atomic habits ; How your habits shape your identity (and vice versa) ; How to build better habits in 4 simple steps --, The 1st Law : Make It Obvious. The man who didn't look right ; The best way to start a new habit ; Motivation is overrated : environment often matters more ; The secret to self-control --, The 2nd Law : Make It Attractive. How to make a habit irresistible ; The role of family and friends in shaping your habits ; How to find and fix the causes of your bad habits --, The 3rd Law : Make It Easy. Walk slowly, but never backward ; The law of least effort ; How to stop procrastinating by using the two-minute rule ; How to make good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible --, The 4th Law : Make It Satisfying. The cardinal rule of behavior change ; How to stick with good habits every day ; How an accountability partner can change everything --, Advanced Tactics : How to Go from Being Merely Good to Being Truly Great. The truth about talent (when genes matter and when they don't) ; The Goldilocks rule : How to stay motivated in life and work ; The downside of creating good habits --, Conclusion : The secret to results that last --, Appendix. What should you read next? ; Little lessons from the four laws ; How to apply these ideas to business ; How to apply these ideas to parenting.
N2 - <b>The #1<i> New York Times</i> bestseller. Over 15 million copies sold!<br><br><i>Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results</i></b><br><br>No matter your goals, <i>Atomic Habits</i> offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.<br><br>If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you'll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.<br><br>Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to master their craft and vault to the top of their field.<br><br>Learn how to:<br><ul><li>make time for new habits (even when life gets crazy);</li></ul><ul><li>overcome a lack of motivation and willpower;</li></ul><ul><li>design your environment to make success easier;</li></ul><ul><li>get back on track when you fall off course;</li></ul>...and much more.<br><br><i>Atomic Habits</i> will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits--whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.

Export List to RIS

Export List to RIS will show at the top of lists.


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List Citations

To get citations for a list, from within the list click Generate Citations.

Aspen has four citation options to choose from:

  • APA
  • Chicago/Turabian - Humanities
  • Chicago/Turabian - Author Date
  • MLA

Once you select the citation format and click Generate Citations, a list will be automatically generated.

Create a Lists of Lists

If users what to put mutiple lists into one list, they can do this by going to the List interface and identifying which list they want to add into the bigger list.

Underneath that list, click on Add to list (just as you would adding a title).

Then, give the new list of lists a name and hit Create List. Keep adding lists to this list.

Once created, your big list will look like this with your lists inside of it.

These (and other) lists can be found in Your Account > Your Lists.

Lists of Lists won't show in the List interface but can be turned into a browse category. Learn more about Browse Categories.

Lists of Lists can be emailed or shared via URL or added as a Menu Link if it is public.

We suggest uploading a custom cover for Lists of Lists.

Delete Items and Delete List(s)

Delete an Item on a List

In a list, each item will have a Delete button next to it. You can delete individual items this way.

Delete Multiple Items

In a list, there are checkboxes next to each item. You can select items with the checkboxes, scroll to the bottom of the list, and select Delete Selected Items or Delete All Items to delete multiple items. 

Delete a List 

In a list, there is a Delete button at the top of the list. This button will delete the entire list.

Delete Multiple Lists

Go to the dropdown under your username and click on Lists. From here, you can select multiple lists with checkboxes and click Delete Selected Lists

Deleted, Withdrawn or No Longer Owned Items on Lists

When all the records in a grouped work are gone from Aspen Discovery (deleted, withdrawn, no longer owned, etc.) that were added to user lists, the titles will remain with a notice that says: This entry no longer exists in the catalog

Users are only able to Edit or Delete these titles and will see them as grayed out instead of hyperlinked.

This is to allow users to see the title they were interested in and decide if they would like to make a purchase suggestion and/or get the title elsewhere.

If users are using the Import From Old Catalog button and we cannot retrieve the titles or the record, then we can't display the titles and it will only display: This entry no longer exists in the catalog


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Administration Settings

Enable Lists

Enable Lists with User-Defined Descriptions & Notes

This is the default/classic List set-up. This will allow users to create their own unique list names as well as add List Descriptions and Notes.

To turn lists on go to Aspen Administration > Primary Configuration > Library Systems > Catalog Enrichment > Enable User Lists and Enable List Descriptions & Notes.

Enable Lists without Descriptions & Notes

Some special libraries or K-12 libraries want to make the list making process more simplified. For these libraries, you can choose to take out the List Description and Notes Field by going to Aspen Administration > Primary Configuration > Library Systems > Catalog Enrichment > Enable User Lists and choose to uncheck Enable List Descriptions & Notes.

Enable Lists without Descriptions & Notes and Pre-Defined List Names

Some special libraries or K-12 libraries want to make the list making process more simplified. For these libraries, you can choose to take out the List Description and Notes Field by going to Aspen Administration > Primary Configuration > Library Systems > Catalog Enrichment > Enable User Lists and choose to uncheck Enable List Descriptions & Notes.

To make this even more simplified, in Allowable List Names, enter the pre-defined list names to be added to the list drop down seperated by pipes.

Note: This pre-defined list names will also be the only list names available for staff, as well as patrons.

When set up this way, when a user clicks Add to List > Create New List they will then see a drop down of the pre-defined lists to choose from. 

Assign User Lists Permissions

To assign staff User Lists permissions, go to Aspen Administration > System Administration > Permissions

Either use the default listPublisher permissions preloaded into Aspen, or click Create a New Role.

The User Lists permissions are:

  • Inclue Lists in Search Results - Allows the user to add public lists to the search results.
  • Administrer List Indexing Settings - Allows the user to administer list indexing settings.
  • Upload List Covers - Allow users to upload covers for a list.
  • Edit All Lists - Allow the user to edit public lists created by any user. 

Note: In Permissions > Third Party Enrichment, there is an additional permission related to New York Times Lists: View New York Times Lists - Allows the user to view and update lists loaded from the New York Times.

Once you have the list role set up, go to Aspen Administration > System Administration > Administration Users > Add Administrator > Add staff library card(s) > Assign the list role

Learn more about Users & Permissions.

Make List Public and Searchable

To share a list with others, the list first must be public. 

Make List Public

To make a new list public, make sure the Access toggle is switched from Private (the default) to Public and Save.

Make List Searchable

If a staff member has User Lists permissions in Aspen, an additional toggle will pop up once the user switches the Access from Private (the default) to Public. 

To have the list show in search results, toggle to Yes and save.

Once the list has at least 3 titles on it, it will begin to show in all areas of Aspen.

An entire view of public and searchable lists can be found in Lists. You can also see who has created public and searchable lists in the Created By facet. 

A user can quickly see which of their lists are public and searchable from the dropdown under their username > Lists.

To switch these to Private and/or Non-Searchable, within each list you can click Edit to adjust the Access.

Enable/Disable Showing the List Author in Search Results

Show List Author in Search Results


When creating a new list or editing an existing list, you have the option to display the name on your account as the list author in list search results. 


The Created By name will display as a facet option, and within the list details.


If "Show list author in search results" is disabled, "Library Staff" will display instead of the user account name.


Using Translation Mode for List Author Names


If you would like something other than the account name or "Library Staff" to display for the Created By name, you have the option of using Aspen's translation mode to change how the name displays.

To adjust the name on the account using Translation Mode:

  1. Perform a blank search in Lists.
  2. In the top-right corner of the screen, click Start Translation Mode.
  3. Find the user account name within the Created By facet, then click the ID number for the label.


  1. Enter in the new display name, then click Update Translation.


  1. Click Exit Translation Mode in the top right of the screen.



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Staff List Workflow / Moving Lists Between Accounts

It is not currently possible to move lists from one account to another from the front end of Aspen. If you are trying to consolidate lists from multiple accounts into one account, you can quickly recreate lists on another account by using Add Multiple Titles. 

Some libraries use general staff cards for creating lists. The advantages are:

  • All lists are easily accessible to manage within a single account
  • Items on the lists can be easily moved and/or copied between lists owned by the same account
  • Lists can show up in the list facet as a customized name (example: 'A. Librarian' instead of 'Sally Smith') Note: You can also accomplish this with Translation Mode by translating the list user name in the Created By facet.
  • When staff leave the library, their lists live on
  • Less permissions to set up

The suggested workflow in Aspen is to create a one or more shared staff accounts from which lists will be created. These account credentials can then be shared with any staff members who are able to create public lists. In Aspen Administration, assign the following permissions to any accounts being used for lists:

  • Include Lists In Search Results
  • Administer List Indexing Settings
  • Upload List Covers
  • Edit All Lists

Any other staff members that may be logging in to contributeto or edit those lists can have the following permission assigned to their card:

  • Edit All Lists


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The Differences Between Lists and Browse Categories

There are a few key differences between lists and browse categories.

Who Can Create Them

Lists can be created by all Aspen users. User lists can be public (to be shared out via link or email) but will never be discoverable in the catalog. Staff with public list creating permissions in Aspen are able to make their lists public and searchable/discoverable in the catalog.

Browse categories can only be created by staff who have browse category creation privileges. But, there are three browse categories that appear automatically based on logged in user behavior - those are Your Lists (once a user creates a list), Your Saved Searches (once a user saves a search), and Recommended For You (once a user gives items a star rating).

Where They Appear in Aspen


Lists for users can be accessed in multiple areas. 

For staff with public list creating permissions in Aspen, the lists they have made searchable will appear in Aspen's "in Lists" interface along with the New York Times lists that come in via API

Lists are stored for all users in My Account > Lists.

This can be accessed via the dropdown menu under the user's name. 


Or, once you are already in the user account along the side menu.

Your Lists also appear as a personalized browse category (just for the user to see)

When a user is scrolling the catalog, if an item appears on a list it will show on the Appears on these lists in the Grouped Work Display. 

Depending on the search, the list might show in the Explore More box.

If lists are created and turned into Browse Categories by staff with permissions to do so, they will appear with your other Browse Categories on your main browsing interface. Common examples of this are taking the New York Times lists and turning them into Browse Categories or turning a state reading list or other award list and turning them into browse categories.

If lists are created and turned into Collection Spotlights (carousels) by staff with permissions to do so, then you may see them featured on your library website or a custom page built with Web Builder

Browse Categories

Browse Categories are only found publicly on your main browse interface. Typically this is your Aspen URL landing page (unless you are using Web Builder as a home page).

An entire list of Browse Categories that have been created in the system can be found by staff with permissions in Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Categories

How Do I Know What a Browse Category is Based Off Of?

Browse Categories can be created from a list or a search.

To see what a Browse Category is based off of, click on the magnifying glass and hyperlink above the browse category covers.

This will bring you into either the search or the list that the browse category is based off of.

Browse Categories built off of searches are more dynamic - when new titles are added to your collection that match the search related to that browse category, then the browse category will automatically update. 

Turning a list into a Browse Category might make sense if it is a read-alike list, a best sellers list, or a state or summer reading list. These Browse Categories will not update unless the list it is based off of updates.

Create Browse Categories from Lists

View and Download Full-Text Tutorial

Users with permissions to create browse categories will see an Add To Browse button in their list settings.

Learn more about Browse Categories here.

Turn on the Your Lists Browse Category

Libraries in new implementations will have the Your Lists browse category set up. If for some reason the Your Lists browse category is not set up or you want to remove it, go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Categories.

If you don't see it by searching for it, click Add New.

Fill in the following:

  1. Label -  Your Lists
  2. textId - system_user_lists
  3. Share With - Everyone

Leave everything else as is and save.

Then, go to Aspen Administration > Local Catalog Enrichment > Browse Category Groups and add your Your Lists browse category.

Once this is set up, leave as is. Aspen will automatically show this browse category to users as soon as they start creating lists.

Learn more about Browse Categories

Create Collection Spotlights from Lists

Users with permissions to create collection spotlights will see a Create Spotlight button within their lists.

Learn More About Collection Spotlights Here.

New York Times Lists

New York Times Lists are pulled in automatically via API. During implementation, we provide you with instructions on setting that up the key in Aspen Administration > Third Party Enrichment > New York Times Settings.

If for some reason you do not have NYT set up, please reach out to the support team. 

New York Times Lists will only appear via the API if the lists have been updated within the last year. 

Aspen fetches list updates weekly. To check on New York Times indexing, visit Aspen Administration > User Lists > NYT Update Log

Manage what NYT lists show in Aspen by heading to Third Party Enrichment > New York Times Lists. You can see the last updated date for the lists and even delete lists, if you choose.

Aspen uses ISBN to match with titles in your collection. Titles will only show on these lists if you own copies of the title. For example, if the NYT List has 25 titles on it but your library only owns 15 of the items, only 15 items will show up on the list in Aspen.

Find NYT lists by switching the search index from "in Library" to "in Lists" and performing a blank search. You'll see the "Created by" search filter listed as The New York Times. 

Learn how to turn NYT Lists into Browse Categories.


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Import Lists From Old Catalog

Enable Importing Lists From Old Catalog Button

Note: This functionality works for the following ILSes: Evergreen, Koha, Polaris and Sierra.

To allow users to pull in their lists from the previous catalog, go to Aspen Administration > Primary Configuration > Library Systems > Catalog Enrichment > Enable Importing Lists from Old Catalog.

Once enabled, users will see a Import From Old Catalog button in My Account > My Lists.

This process will take just a couple minutes. A success message will appear and lists will load.

Note: Items on bib records that no longer exist/have been deleted, will not show on the list(s).

To make the lists public/searchable in Aspen, users will need to check the access toggles in each list they want to make public and/or searchable (and have Aspen User Lists permissions).

Even if the list is public in Koha or Polaris, the list loads by default as private in Aspen.

Two things here to check once the lists load:

1) Make sure the library card(s) the lists are on have list publishing permissions in Aspen and then

2) Go to Aspen > My Account > Lists > Edit and switch the lists from Private to Public and Searchable.

It will take some indexing for them to show up in the catalog.

You can go to Aspen Admininstration > User Lists > Settings and click Run Full Update to speed up the process.

Bring Lists into Aspen from Previous Catalog - Other ILSes

Depending on your contracts with vendors and your unique set up, what and how list data can be extracted from your ILS/previous catalog can vary, but generally, what we have seen available for other ILSes we work with is that if you receive an export of lists from your ILS/previous catalog then we can load them into Aspen right before go live. We have sometimes seen the ILS/previous catalog vendor charge the library for these exports. Please discuss this with your ILS/previous catalog vendor and your Aspen Discovery support team.


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Enable or Disable Lists at the Location Level

In Aspen Administration > Primary Configuration > Locations > Catalog Enrichment > Enable User Lists, you can choose to enable or disable user lists at the Location level.

Scope What Lists Show by Library System (Consortia)

Each library catalog in a consortia can choose what lists show on their sites.

In Aspen Administration > Primary Configuration > Library Systems > click into the library > Searching > Public Lists To Include the options are:

  • No Lists = no lists will show
  • Lists from this library = all public lists that were created by somebody from that library; does not include NYT.
  • Lists from library listPublishers only = same as above, except does include NYT
  • Lists from all list publishers = published lists from all libraries
  • All Lists = only lists that have been marked searchable

So, for example, if you are a library within a consortia and you only want NYT lists and lists created by staff within your library system (most common), you would select Lists from library listPublishers only.

To force an update of list changes go to Aspen Administration > User Lists > Settings > click into settings > click Run Full Update.

You can check to see if this ran/is running in User Lists > Indexing Log.

Regardless of your list settings, any lists created on the server will still show on the Appears on these lists in the record view.


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Force an Update of List Changes

To force an update of list changes go to Aspen Administration > User Lists > Settings > click into settings > click Run Full Update.

You can check to see if this ran/is running in User Lists > Indexing Log.

Video Tutorials