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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Salford selects Talis Information Environment
The University of Salford has integrated its ORACLE-based student information system (SIS) with its Talis library management system (LMS). This was achieved with the Talis Information Environment, based on the TalisPrism Web services architecture. Talis Information provides technology solutions for academic and public libraries.
The system took just weeks to develop and implement and, through the use of Talis” integration services, Salford have been able to improve the student registration process: their dual use ID/library card providing them with automatic access to the library from the moment they are registered. The new process automatically creates a new student profile and registers their details with the library in real time to avoid manual re-registration at the library and associated library card activation.
Martine Carassik, head of application development at The University of Salford, explains, “The new system went live when our new term started on 15 September and has already saved us time and hence money. We have issued around 9,000 cards in that time and it offers our students a much-improved service. Learners only have to register with us once rather than register to enrol and then queue to register at the library. At the library, our staff now have more time to welcome and assist students.”
“Salford University has always trail-blazed new approaches in education – from pioneering sandwich degrees in the 1950s to leading the integration of library provision with the rapid developments in information technology in the 1970s. The recently revamped information services division is now fully responsible for the University’s main network infrastructure, library and computing facilities, management administration systems and telephony services – and provides a student service experience second to none,” says Gary Wright of external relations at Salford. The Talis information environment allows the 18,000 learners to access the library with its 600,000 volumes and 4,000 periodicals and e-journals more efficiently than previously.
The Web services standards-based approach allows Talis to deliver cross-platform integration to customers in a short time. “Much of the preparation work was done off-site so that the on-site work only took around a week to complete,” explains Chris Clarke, systems integration engineer at Talis. “University staff registering students didn’t need to learn any new procedures, the system does all the work ”under the bonnet”. In supplementing the previous batch-updated system with a real-time solution, any delays inherent in batch updating are overcome.”
Andy Bourne, application support specialist at The University of Salford comments, “We initially considered alternative options including having a SOAP (simple object access protocol) client on a Talis server to integrate the Oracle-based SIS and Sequel server-based staff records with Talis. However, discussions with Talis showed that the Talis information environment had a Web services option which allowed one of our TalisPrism servers to act in a manner similar to a SOAP server.”
The Prism architecture is based on the innovative and developing Web services technology, endorsed by W3C, to deliver application-to-application communication.
Continues Salford’s Andy Bourne, “Talis was very willing to co-operate and offered a fast and efficient solution to our challenge. In addition, the Talis information environment interface is administered and fully supported by Talis, but we can develop the service if we wish. It splits the workload and means the university can concentrate on developing other IT services. Talis is a key supplier for us. We use the Talis library management system, which is our gateway to access our learning resources so it was key to integrate it with the rest of our managed learning environment.”
Salford uses the Banner student information system, in use at many academic institutions in the UK but the Talis Information Environment can integrate with any student registry and with other enterprise applications from virtual learning environments (VLEs), managed learning environments (MLEs) or campus portals for academic customers to customer relationship management (CRM) systems for public libraries.