Back in the summer of 2019 when the world was a very different place, staff here at Royal Holloway, University of London Library services integrated our reading list system, Talis, with the DCS to supply digital copies for teaching. In this blog post I will cover why we decided to integrate, how the integration works, and what we have learned from the integration process.
Why did we decide to integrate?
As a DCS user since 2018, it seemed like the next logical step for us as a library team would be to integrate our digitisation workflow with our reading list system. This would enable us to simplify our processes, reduce the large amount of time spent emailing out copies and links, and consequently allow us to better manage our high demand for digital copies.
As an early adopter of the integration, we worked closely with Talis to test the integration before it was switched on, and to match our existing digitisation requests with our reading lists. After then switching on the API available in the DCS to link the two systems, our new integrated systems were ready to go.
How does it work?
- Firstly, one of our reading list team reviews any new or amended reading lists and checks If there are any candidates for digital copies.
- The reading list assistant will then create a digitisation request for any items they need to, using the ‘request digitisation’ button in the reading list.
- The request then will go straight through to the ‘New Academic Requests’ section of the DCS to be reviewed.
- The request can then be checked by a member of the digitisation team as normal, and then fulfilled by EHESS or by scanning in house.
- Once the request has been completed and the link generated, the link will automatically be synced with the reading list overnight. Students will then be able to access the requested material via their reading list. The syncing between the DCS and the reading list can also be done manually via the Talis Aspire Digitised Content Module if it is required to be done sooner.
What we learned
We have had a successful integration between the DCS and our reading list system that has made our processes easier to manage and helped us to get copies to students quicker. Which is what we were aiming for when we started the integration process. Additionally, by simplifying the process, it has also made it easier to deal with the transfer to principally online learning and the increased demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
However, there are some aspects of the process we would improve if we were to do the integration process again. Due to delays in getting the integration process up and running, communication with academic staff about the changes was not as good as we would have liked, causing confusion. Having a clearer communication plan for academics about the new system might have avoided these problems. Initially, we had difficulties dealing with mistakes made as we got used to the new system, and duplicate requests that occurred due to the changes made to reading lists without the digitisation team being informed. To help rectify this we are looking into ways of generating reports or receiving notifications when digitised items are removed from a reading list.
I hope this account of our Talis/DCS integration is useful for any other libraries that are considering whether they would like to implement the integration.
About the Author
Clare is a Senior Information Assistant for Document Delivery and E-resources at Royal Holloway, University of London Library where she has worked in various roles for the past four years. Her current role involves managing the ILL, digitisation and accessible copies services as well as helping to maintain e-resources. She was involved in introduction of the Reading list/Digital Content Store integration when it was introduced in 2019. She also has a keen interest in Social media and is part of the Royal Holloway Library communications group.