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Talis Aspire

Advanced MIS: What our universities do with data in Talis Aspire

Natalie Naik
librarians perspective Management Information Product Update

Talis Aspire is home to a wealth of data about reading lists, resources and the people that use them; academics, library staff and students.

Bringing this data into our Advanced Management Information System (Advanced MIS) data warehouse means it is now easily accessible. Universities can use it alongside their third party business intelligence tools and other clients that make use of SQL as a programming language. 

This means that Talis Aspire data can be used to answer questions quickly, allowing our users to react proactively when they need to make important decisions in rapidly changing circumstances.

Putting Talis Aspire data into a data warehouse means that it can easily be combined with data from other systems too. This provides a large range of business benefits, such as reporting into wider university strategies, some of which our universities are starting to explore.

We spoke to Jessica Wainwright, Online Systems Librarian, University College Birmingham on the reasons they chose to upgrade their Talis Aspire subscription to include access to Advanced MIS. 

The upgrade was motivated by an interest in making data-driven decisions around the use of reading lists in Talis Aspire.

Jessica said “Measuring return on investment on resources by monitoring their use and building reports for various subject areas or departments to give them a view of list usage and coverage was very important to us. We would then want to measure these against institutional metrics”.

Student success, retention and academic engagement were key to their decision to upgrade.

Jessica added: “We also wanted to compliment and expand the investment in our student analytic system, as we look to review and encourage the engagement levels of students with their university resources. This is not only to ensure that they are getting the most out of their learning but also to recognise when students are actively disengaging and put appropriate interventions in place to increase retention rates. Additionally, I am hoping that it will give us the ability to form new conversations with our academic departments based on clear data patterns and to support their future resource requests as they build and review their lists.”


Learner Analytics was also a focus for Hannah Groom, Core Resources Coordinator at the University of Essex. They take a feed of data from Talis Aspire and pull it into their Solutionpath StREAM system which forms the backbone of Essex’s Learner Engagement Activity Portal (LEAP). Hannah said:

“We wanted to make use of Advanced MIS for a number of reasons and had already been trialling this before upgrading. Firstly, we were using data from the Advanced MIS to feed into our student analytics project (LEAP), adding an additional facet to the information used to measure student engagement and attainment. 

Hannah also wanted to use the data in Advanced MIS to help with academic adoption.  Additional near-realtime activity events are available, which are not part of the in-app Talis Aspire reports. Hannah continued:

“We would also like to start using it to provide better (indeed – live) statistics on the status of our reading lists; to allow department staff to see how their department fared in getting their lists published without the need for the Library to get involved. This would not only help department staff to be more involved but would also save a lot of library staff time in preparing these statistics manually when requested. Finally, we hope to use the data to show good practice in reading lists by showcasing those lists with good engagement and to help academic staff understand the importance of a good reading list in supporting their teaching.”


At De Montfort University data is central across all tools and systems, with all aspects inter-relating to support and enhance the student journey.

Alan Brine Head of Archives and Resource Management gave his reasons for upgrading to Advanced MIS:

“De Montfort University Library and Learning Services has engaged with Talis Aspire Advanced MIS as part of its digital landscape development. We are moving towards a ‘landscape of tools’ across our systems with ‘data’ being at the heart of this. As a way of monitoring and analysing best use and value of our resources at DMU through engaging with providers such as BibliU, to develop links to Talis Aspire, provides opportunities to deliver that best value.” 


Thank you to Jessica, Hannah and Alan for contributing to this article. We look forward to following their journeys with Advanced MIS and we can’t wait to see what they achieve with it. We hope to follow up with another blog post in a few months to explore this.

In the meantime, if you found this interesting and want to know how you could utilise Advanced MIS at your university, please reach out to your account manager.

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