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Using Data to Effectively Manage the Library Budget

When budgets are tight, effectively managing costs such as content acquisition, and the tools you use to provide a great library service need to be carefully considered. 

In order to support these decisions, you need evidence backed up by data, so that the choices you make are driven by real activity and use of library services. 

There are a number of areas you can look at, from student engagement with content to efficiencies of processes within the library itself.

A key area is collection management. You can use your Talis Aspire data to help you understand if content is being clicked on by students via their resource lists. 

Talis Aspire can tell you:

  • If your students are opening their resource lists
  • If students are clicking on content via their resource lists
  • If students are making personal notes, or reading intentions within their resource lists

All of this data is evidence of engagement with taught content and can help support decision making around the content you have or will purchase, especially when supporting a transition to digital and online course delivery.

Conversely, when engagement is lacking, this can help you identify ways to further support the use of reading lists to promote engagement with content suggested by academics to students.

When it comes to making the most of your library services, you need to know that the tools you invest in are being used as much as possible and that you have good uptake.

Talis Aspire can tell you:

  • The number of lists available for each department 
  • When and how often academics are editing their resource lists

This can help you understand your list coverage, where there are gaps in resource list availability, and to get a grasp of how engaged academics are with their resource list.

You can also use Talis Aspire data to support specific campaigns you are running. Most recently, the data available on the percentage of resources in resource lists that are electronic has been particularly helpful. This kind of data is especially relevant in an online teaching world, but also moving forwards as we see more and more universities adopting an e-first approach to content.

University College Birmingham is using Talis Aspire Advanced Management Information System (MIS) to improve the student experience of resource lists. Jessica Wainwright, Library Resources Manager, tells us “We have channelled the data into Power BI and have used this to provide us with quick snapshots of the day to day usage of our reading lists. One benefit of this is that we can see live external domain accesses so that we can correct incorrect URLs and broken links as they are causing problems for students.”

There’s a wealth of information available in Talis Aspire. Talis Aspire Advanced MIS provides access to rich, deep and timely insights into your reading lists and resources, and how they are used. You can find out more about Talis Aspire Advanced MIS, and how universities are using it, here.

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.