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Feature: City University, London Adopts Talis Aspire

Alison Spencer

City University, London has adopted Talis Aspire as its reading-list solution. We are delighted to be partnering with the university as it continues to develop services through the City University Library Service.

City University, London is one of the most international universities in the UK with more than 21,000 students from over 160 countries – and staff from over 50 countries. It’s the fifth largest higher education institution within central London, with one third of its students on postgraduate or research programmes. Ranked by Times Higher Education in the top five per cent of world universities, it’s also the first UK University Student Centre to receive the Service Mark Quality Standard from the Institute of Customer Service.

Following an internal ‘Audit of Reading-Lists’ in June 2011, the City University Library Service secured funding to buy Talis Aspire in early 2012. Since then the library service has been engaged in a project to implement the solution, which will  provide students with seamless access to the print, digital and professional training resources on their course reading-lists.

Other big developments at City University Library Service have been the implementation of the Moodle Virtual Learning Environment in 2011, and the establishment of an open repository – to host the university’s research output. Always quick to adopt innovative library technologies, where they benefit the university and its students, the university has also introduced Upgrade, an online study skills package, and appointed a new Head of Information Literacy to further develop the excellent services provided by the university’s subject librarians.

Why a Reading-list Soution?

With over half a million searches of its library catalogue and almost three million database searches carried out by its students and researchers each year, the library faced the classic challenges where reading-lists were concerned.

As Maire Lanigan, the library’s director pointed out:

 ‘The implicit contract with students (is) that what is on the reading-list will be available at the time they want to use it – usually as many others are trying to use the same resource.’

She also admitted that there was variable practice by academic staff and schools when submitting or updating reading lists and added:

‘Reading Lists Online’ as we are badging our iteration of  Talis Aspire  … will help resolve these challenges.  The one-click approach for electronic journals and books and non-text content should improve use of resources previously held but not always found by students.  The ability to update a reading list with additional and/or alternative material should help manage disappointment which arises when particularly printed material is not available or on loan.’

The proven ability of the Talis Aspire application to integrate with the City University LMS, Innovative’s Millennium, and the Moodle VLE were also, Maire says, ‘big pulls’ as was the ability to surface the tool in the library catalogue and embed in the subject library guides .

With the implementation project now well underway, and the decisions on branding and integrations made, the university is now looking forward to seeing the impact of the improved reading-list service – and to welcoming the adoption of another innovative technology to the City University Library Service.

For more information about this, and other current university implementations, please feel free to contact us.


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