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Celebrating 40 years of Plymouth University Library: their journey with Talis

Natalie Naik
copyright Talis update

Plymouth University have always been pioneers when it comes to innovation within higher education. Their willingness to take risks, explore what is possible and see from new perspectives has made them the perfect partner for Talis over the last 7 years.

The Talis and Plymouth University story started in 2010 with our first pilot of Talis Aspire. It was the library’s uniquely close relationship with academics and students that helped shape what we know as Talis Aspire Reading Lists today.

This was to be a completely new way of looking at Reading Lists, putting students at the centre, creating a line of contact from academic to library. We needed a partner that we could work closely with to develop this new approach to ensure that we could incorporate all of the needs of the students and academics, whilst making the process simpler and easier for the librarian. The library and Talis jointly ran workshops with students and academics to find out what they wanted out of reading lists. It was this student and academic voice which Talis used to specify the original core workflows and screen of the new system, such as list view, list edit, my bookmarks/lists and the hierarchy.

Plymouth University added Talis Aspire Digitised Content in early 2014 and were instrumental in setting up the British Library integration. When we launched our digitised content module, Plymouth University were interested in exploring the integrations. They were already sourcing a lot of their copyright cleared content through the British Library as they place a lot of importance on efficiencies and workflows, rather than manual work. With their help in testing and optimising, Talis were able to add an additional level of automation to that process.

The final part of the story brings us up to the current day. Phil Gee an academic at Plymouth University, got frustrated that students had to pay for core texts and the effects this had on his teaching. He wanted to be able to provide these for free, and digital to ensure access for all students. His idea was a success and the university wanted to develop this further. This project was passed on to the library as a central place that could own and develop it. They acted as the intermediary service between students and academics. This service started growing for all modules, but progress was slow as efficiencies were difficult and it was a very manual process. This was launched in September 2011 as a pilot project. It was the first time this had been done in the UK and launched for first-year students in the School of Psychology. Each student received online or offline access to 23 books.

When we wanted to extend Talis Aspire’s acquisition and content features to provide UK universities with a scalable means to acquire and deliver core eTextbooks directly into courses for students,, Plymouth University was a natural choice for a development partner.. They extended the programme in 2012 along with Talis and seven major publishers across five subject areas within the University. We are currently working with them to help streamline their workflows and add some automation to deliver workflows to students more efficiently. Jason Harper, their Content Strategy Manager spoke at our etextbooks panel at Talis Insight Europe 2016, watch the video here.

Happy 40th Anniversary Plymouth University Library! We look forward to continuing working with you!

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