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Talis Aspire

Where did the library go? Improving Library Access and Visibility

Stephen J. Belcourt

In the before-times, the academic library’s physical structure frequently resided at the center of the campus, and served as a bastion of information, and a place for students of many disciplines to interact.  Both the centrality and the physical presence of the building have led many to refer to the library as the heart of campus. 

The library’s prototypical online presence however, is somewhat less prominent – despite the continued value libraries are delivering within the institutional ecosystem.

MENU listing at – captured October 21st, 2021

The library’s own website – once you locate it – is replete with vast sets of materials, and access points to both electronic and physical resources.  Faculty and students, however, are spending an increasing amount of their learning time within the confines of Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard, or Sakai. These integrated learning environments provide a place for Assignments, Assessment, Quizzes, Collaboration, but curiously, not the library…

Happily, Resource List Management Systems (RLMS), such as the platform-neutral Talis Aspire, can bridge the gap between the library’s material investments and the faculty/students’ primary place of learning. It helps provide access and visibility to the library when students and staff can’t be on campus.

RLMS are infrastructure-level repositories for all types of content delivered in a classroom, whether online or face-to-face. Professors can apply their preferred pedagogical approaches and create structured, broad-based lists of Core, Peripheral or Background information resources, whether they be books, journals, videos, digitized chapters, or websites.

This mechanism to structure resource delivery at point-of-need (for instance: Week 3 Materials), by importance, or by type, facilitates a ‘teach beyond the textbook’ approach, and can be instrumental in deploying OER resources within a class.  In a world where a single core text can be displaced by multiple types of material from a variety of sources, organization becomes critical. 

The added capabilities of faculty notation with a particular item can direct students’ attention more immediately to the salient elements of the item, while students can add their own Reading Intentions, helping themselves to navigate comprehensive lists, and providing a feedback loop to the faculty/instructional designers who are selecting materials.

Talis Aspire, thanks to its platform-neutral design, connects with the library’s service platform regardless of vendor.  The Talis community includes institutions using ALMA, FOLIO, OCLC’s Worldshare Management Service, Koha, Sirsi, and Sierra). By delivering library holdings information via real-time availability look-up, and an integrated search capability of wish-list items not yet part of the library collection, the RLMS brings the library directly into the LMS.

Faculty can add resources to their lists directly within the LMS, organize them, and invite the library to oversee the materials in question – leading to the best possible provisioning. Students can see their required class materials alongside (or linked directly inside) their course assignments, quizzes, and discussion fora. 

Talis Aspire Resource List embedded within CANVAS by Instructure LMS

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