Talis - Unity  
 on two fronts

ISSN 1463-7146

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May 2001

Talis in strategic move with WebCT

Two announcements from Talis Information Ltd - the major UK system vendor - a major strategic move into web based e-learning and the launch of a centralised ILL focussed catalogue for most of UK.

The WebCT deal is significant - library system vendors have to provide integrated links in two strategic directions - digital resources generally as and where they replace printed materials - and, with the new upcoming e-learning systems that universities and colleges are adopting in order to compete in a world where desktop delivery is the norm. WebCT is a major player and this could provide Talis with the marketing edge they have needed for a while.

The UNITY launch is also important in its way. Essentially a centralised on-line upgrade to the CD based Libris developed system, Unity provides a simpler approach to e-lending for the UK regions (London and West Midlands excepted).  The simple location provision via a union catalogue is based on OCLC software and will upgrade as users require to ISO standards in the future.

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Talis and WebCT to provide integrated library / e-learning

Press release: 6 June 2001, Birmingham

Talis Information announced today a partnership with WebCT Inc which will bring together Talis, the UK’s leading provider of integrated library systems, and WebCT, the world leader in the campus-wide e-learning platforms.

This partnership responds to a growing requirement from universities and colleges for a link between their e-learning systems and the library and information resources which support these on-line teaching activities.

The two companies will work together in developing increasing levels of integration between the evolving versions of Talis’s library and information resource software and WebCT’s on-line course authoring and delivery platforms. They will also promote each other’s products in the UK.

"We are delighted to be working with WebCT with its leadership both globally and in the UK Higher Education market. We share their vision for a joined-up future in the e-learning computing environment," said Stephen Gray, Managing Director of Talis. "With the growth of competitiveness in the on-line learning market, universities are increasingly keen to offer the benefits of their information resources to students working both on and off campus."

"Early-on we knew we could never be all things to all people, that is why we focused our development strategy toward an open architecture that supports rapid partnering with complementary campus systems," said Dr.  Stavros Cadamenos, Vice President and Managing Director WebCT International.  "We are very pleased to announce our integration partnership with Talis and offer the benefits of deeper integration to our over 120 academic institutional users in the UK.  This extends the integration process we have had in place with leading vendors such as Campus Pipeline for Portal integration and SCT for student administration systems, by including today digital library integration with Talis, the UK leader in this field".

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WebCT is the world's leading provider of integrated e-learning systems for higher education. More than 2,209 colleges and universities world-wide are using WebCT’s products and services to transform the educational experience for their students.  Consortia in 16 American states, four Canadian provinces, two Australian territories, the French National Centre for Distance Learning, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the Japanese National Institute of Multimedia in Education, and the Consortium of Distance Education have licensed WebCT for their member institutions, making it a de facto standard in higher education. More information about WebCT can be found at www.webct.com

UnityWeb goes live

Press release: 5th June 2001

UnityWeb, the successor to the Unity service, went live at the end of May and was launched officially with an event on the Talis stand at the Library and Information Show on Tuesday 5 th June.

UnityWeb, provided by Talis Information Ltd in partnership with The Combined Regions, demonstrates library co-operation and resource sharing in action on a regional and national scale. UnityWeb offers networked access to a rich source of bibliographic and location information covering the holdings of over 450 libraries across the UK and Ireland, including the British Library. The database has over 10 million bibliographic records and more than 35 million locations. Updates are continuously applied and available immediately.

Flexible options for display mean that each subscribing institution can configure its own view of the locations. Efficient, time-saving electronic requesting facilities are provided for library staff, including the ability to build rotas into requests.  Online configuration options and the ability to contribute holdings updates online put the librarian in control and ensure that changes are made quickly and efficiently.

UnityWeb can be made available directly to library users.  Powerful but easy-to-use search facilities enable users to discover and locate the materials they require in library collections nation-wide, supporting research and lifelong learning.

The clear interface has been designed to enable accessibility for visually impaired users and has 'Bobby' approval.  This is an important part of the inclusive approach in UnityWeb, supported by Share the Vision as a member of The Combined Regions.

UnityWeb can be accessed from any PC connected to the Internet and running version 4 or higher of lnternet Explorer or Netscape.

Unityweb has been enthusiastically welcomed by the 100 subscribing institutions that have gone live so far.

'UnityWeb brings great benefits for libraries of all kinds', said Rob Froud, County Librarian, Somerset and Chair of The Combined Regions, 'particularly in accessing and updating the database via the web and in efficient electronic requesting. We are delighted to renew and strengthen our relationship with Talis, whose technical expertise will ensure that UnityWeb becomes a 'must have' for all library and information services.'

'The strengths of Talis and The Combined Regions in renewed partnership have delivered a new service of major importance with a long-term commitment to library co-operation and resource sharing', said Stephen Gray, Managing Director of Talis Information Ltd.

The Combined Regions consists of five of the seven English Regional Library Systems (RLSS) and five national services: North Western RLS, NEMLAC, Yorkshire Libraries & Information, East Midlands RLS, South Western RLS, The British Library, the National Library of Scotland, An Chomhairle Leabharianna (The Library Council of Ireland), Cydfenthyca Cymru 1 lnteriending Wales and Share The Vision.

The purpose of The Combined Regions is to support inter-library lending, co-operation and access by merging the catalogues of its members into a single database, creating a unique and valuable information resource. The database is maintained and services are provided through a contractual partnership with Talis Information Limited, the leading supplier of library and information systems and services in the UK.


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