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Talis Aspire

Provisioning Online Resources: Old Problem, New Solution

Natalie Naik

Provisioning online resources is nothing new. For most of our universities, it has been a top priority in recent years, with many introducing e-first policies. We have been able to support this shift to online with Talis Aspire, but when COVID-19 happened, the ability to provide a range of high-quality, copyright compliant online resources went from important, to essential.

According to Office for Students’ poll of 1,416 students, 56% said they lacked access to appropriate online course materials during the Coronavirus related university closures, with 9% ‘severely’ impacted by this.

Sir Michael Barber, chair of the Office for Students, said: “With this unprecedented disruption comes an opportunity. In a short space of time, many universities and colleges have significantly developed the digital teaching and learning options they offer students. It is critical that we build on this progress – identifying what has worked well in recent months, what methods could be enhanced further, and identifying long-term opportunities for innovation that will benefit generations of students into the future.” (source)

It’s not just about provisioning online materials under quarantine. Universities are focusing on how they can set up their infrastructure in a way that enables effective learning online and offline in a way that positively impacts the student experience.

The growing cost of textbooks is also a concern. A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US revealed that the cost of textbooks has increased by 88% between 2006 and 2016. With library budgets tightening and university fees higher than ever, justifying this cost becomes increasingly difficult for staff and students.

We understand the need to provide online resources to students in a simple, cost-effective way, that sits within your current workflows. That’s why we understood how valuable the opportunity to partner with Perlego was.

Here’s why we think Perlego is great:

  • Unlimited access to their growing catalogue (400k+ at the time of publishing)
  • Content from a range of publishers on a range of topics, giving you the ability to provide more content with a single tool
  • It provides a choice: you can purchase licenses as an institution, or you can make it easy for students to purchase their own subscriptions
  • It’s cost-effective for students. When they purchase a subscription it costs £12/month or £96/year. It’s cost-effective for the institution too when you purchase bulk licenses on behalf of students.
  • There’s a 14-day free trial
  • Their interface is intuitive, modern and works on mobile devices

Our partnership means we’ve made it simple to identify which items on a Talis Aspire reading list are available with Perlego. Even better, when you click on an item in a reading list that is available in Perlego, it takes you directly to the item in your Perlego account, taking account of the correct edition.

We ran a webinar earlier this year with Hannah Porter, Faculty Librarian at the University of Portsmouth Business School about why they adopted Perlego.

Hannah said “We chose Perlego because it’s a library of unlimited texts, students and staff can have unrestricted access to all across the platform. The app is great, and the user interface is very simple and modern. Academic staff have found the direct linking very good, you can embed at page, chapter or book level into VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) pages. I’ve also been working with academics on how they can utilise Perlego content in their Talis Aspire reading lists. The dashboard will also give me a good idea of what is being used in Perlego too.”

We asked Perlego to run a survey with their student users to see what they thought about the service:

On using Perlego

Laurent, a third-year student said “I use Perlego any time that I require a textbook to study or to write a paper.”

Raja, studying Law said “Perlego is great when you are doing research. It’s like you have your own mobile library.”

Chris studying Theology said, “I use Perlego to access a wide range of books that I would not be able to afford if I needed to buy them individually.”

Lorna, a History student said “I use Perlego for finding additional sources. It was especially useful during lockdown when I couldn’t access the library.”

On describing Perlego to a friend

Georgios simply said “REVOLUTIONARY”.

Robert said “I use Perlego as my main source of MBA study material, it makes my life so much easier to have so many references at my fingertips and such a wealth of information on so many subjects. Fantastic value, I would highly recommend it to anyone.”

“Spotify for books” and “Netflix for books” were also common entries.

Radu said “A convenient, ecological and affordable way to access books useful for your studies.”

We know that the issue of improving access to online resources can’t be fixed with a single tool, but if you are a Talis Aspire user, talk to us about how Perlego could make a difference at your university. We can tell you more about your content coverage, and how Perlego’s catalogue suits your content goals. Email us at .

We’ve written up a post on why Perlego is so great for students here.

You can also watch a recording of the webinar we ran with the University of Portsmouth Business School to find out why they adopted Perlego.


This post was created exclusively for the Talis Informer, a quarterly newsletter from Talis aimed at those leading and influencing Higher Education libraries. If you’d like to receive the newsletter, please get in touch at For even more content and discussion, join the Talis Informer mailing group here.

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