Advanced Management Information System

So you like data? We like data too. Talis Aspire collects data on things like reading lists and resources and the people that use them. This article explores the possibilities provided by access to that data in the Advanced Management Information System (Advanced MIS).



Data about reading lists, digitisation requests, reviews, and resources is collected into a data warehouse. Alongside that we also collect information on how those things are used and by who. Combining the data into a data warehouse also means that you can easily combine Talis Aspire data with data from other systems.

What is Advanced MIS?

The Advanced MIS data warehouse is a database which allows you to connect third party business intelligence tools and other clients which understand SQL to analyse or consume the data in Talis Aspire.

Why is Advanced MIS different to existing reports in TARL?

Advanced MIS takes the existing reports from Talis Aspire (the ones you can download to CSV files to manipulate), and helps you do that manipulation in much easier ways, and using the benefits of a relational database to help streamline the joining and interrogating of the reports.

Advanced MIS also includes additional data which is not available in the Talis Aspire reports.

What is the difference between Advanced MIS and MI Dashboard?

The charts and tables that you can see in the MI Dashboards are built on the data in the Advanced MIS data warehouse. If you want to dive deeper into the data underlying the MI Dashboard charts, or recreate them in your own reporting software, the data is there ready for you.

What are the benefits of using Advanced MIS?

The main benefit is in having unprecedented queryable access to your data in Talis Aspire and the flexibility to work with that in whatever way suits you.

The data landscape in a typical university extends far beyond the reading list system, and knowing where to connect reading list data into that picture of how students learn and how the university is supporting them is crucial.

Some areas where people are working with Advanced MIS data are described here.

  • Learning Analytics
    • Looking at whether use of a reading list can be seen as indicator of good engagement with a course or an indicator of likely grade outcome. Strategically aligns with questions about retention and engagement.
    • Often budgets outside of the library can be tapped.
  • Learner Analytics
    • Showing a personal tutor contextual information about an individual user's use of reading lists to help guide a conversation in tutorials.
    • Often budgets outside of the library can be tapped.
  • Return on Investment
    • Is the library buying resources that are recommended on lists?
    • Are the recommended resources being looked at?
  • Access to resources
    • Are students being given maximum opportunity to find resources in the library?
    • What percentage of library stock is on a reading list and in active use?
  • Affordability
    • Can students afford the resources that they are expected to purchase from their reading list?
  • Open Access and Employability
    • Which of the resources recommended to students will they still be able to access in the future when they are in their first graduate posts?
    • This aligns with Open Access strategic agendas.
  • Benchmarking
    • Comparing reading list adoption and use across departments, faculty, schools, colleges...
    • Looking for best practice use of lists.
    • Looking for modules where usage is high to encourage conversations about teaching methods and their efficacy.
    • Comparing use of lists with NSS scores or other external benchmark datasets such as TEF to see if there are correlations.
  • Curriculum management
    • Using Advanced MIS to identify which modules don't have lists in the designing and planning stages of curriculum development.
  • Resource scheduling
    • List edit activity over time can be used to plan resource levels in teams which process list reviews, provide acquisition decisions or process scans under a copyright licence.

Can I add custom data?

Talis Aspire Advanced MIS allows you to add in your own data. Maybe you need a lookup table mapping module codes to academic liaison librarians, or you want to map departments in your hierarchy to fund codes. Or maybe you want to calculate a snapshot of list statuses each week so that you can compare when the peaks and troughs of list editing might be. Whatever the use case, if you need to add additional data, you can.

Do I have access to Advanced MIS?

Please contact us via a support ticket if you would like more information on how to get access to Talis Aspire Advanced MIS.

Technical Documentation

We've worked hard to make the data in Talis Aspire easier to work with.  To see just how different or more extensive the data in Advanced MIS is, please take a look at the detailed technical documentation, by visiting the Advanced MIS Data Dictionary.

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    Andy Frampton

    Thanks for highlighting this article, very helpful!

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