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Talis Aspire

Providing Resources in a Pandemic and Beyond

Natalie Naik

The pandemic required a fast and dramatic shift in resource provision for many libraries. We held a discussion session at Talis Insight Webinars 2021 for our library community to discuss the challenges and opportunities this brought with it, and what their plans are moving forward.

You can read our post on ‘How have universities re-evaluated their e-content approach?’ based on what we learned at Talis Insight Webinars 2021 here.

During this session, we ran polls to find out more from our community about their use of digital resources.

We asked:

Over the last year, how has the pandemic impacted academic engagement with resource lists?

It was great to see that 65% of the discussion group saw an increase in their use of Talis Aspire reading lists. We’ve heard how valuable the reading lists were in helping the library understand what content was required, and enabling the lines of communication to stay open between academics and librarians during this time. 

What percentage of your reading list content is digital or online?

We heard from Simon and Susan at the University of Exeter (see their session here) that they removed any physical items from reading lists during the pandemic to improve student experience. It meant that they could focus on delivering the online content whilst the library was unavailable. This poll showed us that other libraries have taken a similar approach, focusing on digital content, and ensuring that this was reflected in their Talis Aspire reading lists.

How would you rate your delivery of online resources over the past 12 months in relation to demand?

It’s great to see that 43% of our community were able to meet demand or exceed it, considering the challenges. We heard many libraries felt under-prepared at the start of lockdown with the sudden change, and that they are still working hard to source and provide online materials required for students.

Have you made use of any direct to student subscriptions or 1:1 model?

We’ve heard from our community that many of you tried out subscriptions or 1:1 models to improve your coverage of online resources, including almost ⅓ of the discussion participants. We heard from Ken Dick, a University Librarian, during Talis Insight Webinars 2021 about the methods they used, one of those being Perlego. You can find out more about Perlego and their unlimited subscription model to over 500k ebooks and etextbooks here. Watch Ken’s session to see how the University of Portsmouth managed online content over the past 12 months.

What are your biggest challenges in meeting the demand for digital content?

It’s clear that accessing digital content has been a challenge over the past year. With the restrictive access to items, specifically humanities content, confusing licenses and high costs, librarians have struggled to balance the need for online content with budget constraints.

One of the ways we are helping our Talis Aspire users tackle the challenges of online resources and meet student demand is through our integration with Perlego. There are two ways we are doing this.

The first is with a student personal subscription, which simply means allowing your students to see which items in their reading list are available in Perlego, giving them flexibility to decide if a subscription is right for their needs. There’s no commitment or contract between the library and Perlego, it simply provides another option for the student to access digital content, the same way they would consider a music or video streaming service

The second model is Institution purchased subscription, which provides students with a subscription funded by the university. This can be acquired for subsets of students, for example, specific schools, or event modules. Hear how the University of Portsmouth has integrated this for their Business School here.

Want to find out more? Simply raise a support ticket, or get in touch with your Account Manager.

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