Time periods

This guide is designed to introduce the importance of time periods and how to set these in your Talis Aspire Reading List tenancy. 


Are you asking any of the following questions?

  1. How do we ensure that students are using the current reading list?
  2. How do we keep a copy of the previous year's lists?
  3. How do we reassure students that the resources they are using are current?
  4. How do I know the start and end dates for a digitisation request?

Assigning a time period to a list allows you to tag a list with a pre-defined label (for example, Summer Term 14/15). So that everyone uses the same terminology, a taxonomy of labels is defined at the tenancy level. When creating a list, or editing the header of an existing list, the user simply chooses a label from a dropdown.

Time period dropdown

Another way to think about time periods is as the breakdown of your academic year - this may be semester, term, session. You can also have a broader time period for the entire academic year.

Time periods appear in several places within a list:

  • They are in the list outline view
  • They form part of the subheading of your reading list eg. “Introduction to Criminal Law (Semester 1, 2020/21)”
  • They appear in the module/unit/course view
  • They are within the My List view when seeing all your lists.
  • They are used as the request start and end dates for Talis Aspire Digitised Content.

Rolling over lists to a new time period

Each year as academics review their teaching, they may make adjustments to their reading lists - this may only be adding a book or removing some journal articles and replacing them with more current ones. An academic has two options of how they can ensure their list is up to date:

  1. Once a year you may decide to perform a “bulk rollover” of the lists on your system. This allows you to move all lists in a given time period to a new time period eg. from: Semester 1, 2019/20 to Semester 1, 2020/21. This essentially does the same thing as copying the list, but allows you to do multiple lists all at once. Your academics can then make the changes to their list being confident that it is the current version. At the point of rollover you can decide whether you want your lists to be auto-published or left in draft. You can also select to archive the old copies so that only the current list is available to students.
  2. They can choose to use the Copy function and make a duplicate of the list, amending the time period and making changes resulting in new students having the most up to date list.

If you are using TADC it is important that you rollover lists in TARL before you perform the rollover in TADC. This is so that the digitisation will rollover to the new list in TARL. If there is not a new list in TARL, the digitisation will remain on the old list and you will need to manually request a digitisation for the new list.

Check out our rollover articles for more details:

Rollover Overview - Talis Aspire Reading Lists

Rollover Overview - Talis Aspire Digitised Content

How do I configure time periods?

Simply raise a support ticket and the Services Team will set up your time periods for you. Just include the following information:

  • Time period name, e.g. Semester One, 2020/21
  • Time period start date, e.g. 1st September, 2020
  • Time period end date, e.g. 31st August, 2021
  • Time period 'slug'. This should be a URL safe string such as 20-21 or sem1 that will be used to match time periods when using LTI or when using the List Linking API

When identifying your new time periods, there are pros and cons for having a single time period or splitting your year into mutliple time periods:

  Pros Cons
Single time period
  • Easy to set up a new list - no need to think about time periods.
  • Students can access digitisations until the end of that academic year.
  • No need to worry about retake times when creating time periods.
  • A digitisation is active for the entire year - this can block other requests if it exceeds the copyright limit. (Note: This can still happen during shorter time periods, however the risk is reduced.)
  • As discussed, if a unit is taught across the year by different academics, and each academic has a different list for this unit, the list needs to be edited multiple times a year.
  • Currently Talis Aspire Digitised Content only allows a digitisation to appear in one list.
Multiple time periods
  • If a unit is taught across the year by a different academic, and each academic has a different list for this unit, each offering has different reading lists (you won’t need to remove and add the same items throughout the year).
  • Provides an accurate reflection of what is actually being used at a specific point in time.
  • If an academic is creating a new list, they have to select the time period - Naming of these periods becomes very important.
  • Retake periods need to be considered when developing time periods (important for digitisations).

Talis Aspire Digitised Content and time periods

Time periods are also important in TADC as they trigger when a digitisation is available from a single reading list, but also more importantly when they are not so around key exam periods for instance. A digitisation is only available in the list that it has been requested from, and during the time period set at the point of request. Usually you would expect the Talis Aspire Reading Lists to mirror Talis Aspire Digitised Content, but there may be occasions when they don’t. We always recommend protecting the dates for requests so they can only be the time period of the relevant reading list, where they are not protected you could end up with random or incorrect dates.

Useful tip for time periods

When adding your time periods for the next academic year, you can also choose to have the old time periods removed from the drop down box, after rollover. This makes sure lists are only attached to the current years time periods. You will still see all time periods in the reports, it is just when creating the list that will only display the current dates.

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