Talis Resource List Data

Earlier today we had a visit from Tim Hodson and David Renfree, both from Talis Aspire. Talis Aspire is the software we use for RAU Reading Lists – you can read more about our journey in implementing the service. Tim and David spent some time with us looking at how we can make best use of the data you can get out of the system.


Tim started off by asking us to think about:

  • What are the narratives? (For academics, students and the library)
  • How do these fit within institutional reporting workflows?
  • Who needs to hear the narrative?
  • What data would help tell the story of that narrative
Tim Hodson eliciting what questions we have that data could answer

Tim Hodson eliciting what questions we have that data could answer

We then spent time looking at the main data reporting mechanisms:

Google analytics

Google analytics

The data from these systems can all be exported and there is a way to establish a primary key within most tables – which means it’s possible to link tables and get some very useful and granular insights.


Later in the morning things took a technical turn and we ended up talking about connecting data tables and potential data development work. Something for us to think about in the future.

Some of the most useful takeaways for the day for me were:

  • The urls of customised reports are unique and therefore bookmarkable – so you can create a personal list of your favourite reports
  • There is some new filters on reports that will let you do things like find out all the books on lists that aren’t in the library – really useful
  • There are lots of batch actions that can run on report outputs – like publishing lists with unpublished changes

Talis are now developing a set of APIs that allow developers to get data from within Talis products and present it in various places. We’d like to automate our hierarchy upload process at some point so we will be keeping an eye on these. We also have our list rollover to look forward to!

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