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Talis Aspire

Implementation at the University of Alberta: the journey so far

Natalie Naik
case study Guest Article implementation

Talis Aspire has recently launched in Canada and we’ve been working with our new universities to get them set up. We spoke to CJ de Jong, Head of Access Services at the University of Alberta Library to find out more about the implementation process so far.


What motivated you to get Talis Aspire? 

The University of Alberta Library was looking to replace our in-house system to manage reading lists and course material requests. The in-house system had become dated over the years and lacked an intuitive workflow. There had also been a push to provide library resources in our Course Management System, which we call eClass and is Moodle-based. Therefore, we looked for a system that would help with the back-end, but would also have the possibility of being integrated with eClass. 

Other things we looked for was transparency for staff across different library departments to be able to process, manage, and see requests; an improved display of the reading lists and course materials; and, eliminating the need for installing and maintaining software. Talis Aspire was the only product that met our needs. 


Who across the institution is going to be involved in the project?

We have a number of teams that are part of the implementation of Talis Aspire, such as our Course Materials Team, Acquisitions Team, Cataloguing and Metadata Team, Public Services, and we’ll be working closely with our Communications Team.


Where are you along your journey with Talis Aspire now?

COVID-19 has been a challenge with the implementation of Talis Aspire. As we had to restructure how we would provide access to print course materials in the early weeks of the arrival of COVID-19 in Alberta, our attention had shifted away from the implementation. So, our goal for implementation, when everything is in place, is to simply generate excitement about this new tool for faculty to share their readings with students. 

We have established some reading lists that we’ll be using as examples, and we’re planning to find some faculty members who will generate excitement in their own Faculties by creating and sharing their reading lists using Talis Aspire. As we’re not able to show anything in person at this time, we will be relying on faculty members to try it out on their own.


Laura Unwin, Services Manager at Talis visited you to deliver implementation training. How did you find it?

It was great to have Laura come to us in person to provide training to all our teams involved. For many, it was their first introduction to the system, and there was a lot of feedback from the library staff how exciting this product was, as well as easy to use, and possibilities for implementation that we hadn’t really thought about. 

For example, Laura shared with us that some institutions allow students to create their own reading lists for papers or studies, and would keep track of their library material through Talis Aspire. We believe this could be a great use of the tool that we hadn’t initially envisioned. 


Thanks to CJ for sharing their journey so far! We look forward to working with you as you integrate and develop Talis Aspire at the University of Alberta, Canada. You can find out more about Talis Aspire in Canada here.

If you’d like to find out more about how Talis Aspire could benefit your university, email

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