Visit to Talis

On Wed 19th August, some of the eLibrary team spent the day at the Talis offices in Birmingham. I found it a really interesting day helping me get a better picture of some of the work that Talis do and the direction they are heading. It was also great to meet the staff and have the opportunity to discuss some wider professional issues.

The day started with a tour of the offices, it was good to see the provisons made making it easy for staff to work at home and efforts made to reduce their carbon footprint. I was however left feeling a little envious of all the kit on peoples desk, espeically the large Mac monitor in the design section.

The rest of the morning provided an opportunity for us to discuss some of our challenges and priorities alongside hearing about some of the activities within Talis. Richard Wallis provided an overview of the Talis Platform and the semantic web. I could see potential of this type of enviroment for data sharing.

After lunch we were joined by people from the library division of Talis to discuss Prism and Keystone.

When I began this role (4 months ago) discussions had begun regarding implementation of Prism 3 and it was clear that this product was very different to Prism 2.  I was therefore really interesed to hear about the project methodology being used, as new releases were continual and priorities constantly changing.  While I could appreciate that this kind of development provides a more agile service I wasn’t clear about how easy it is for a library manage this type of change. Talis advised us to be thinking about what we need to go live with Prims 3 rather than what we want and runing two installs of Prism in parallel  switching to Prim 3 when we were ready, however I am not confident as yet  I would know when that would be.

We also had a talk about the education arm of Talis,  having recently seen a demonstration of Talis Aspire it was useful to see its context within this section.  We heard about the Talis Incubator for Open education which will provide funding for ideas and projects in the area of open education.  I think this could be a great opportunity for investment in some exciting new ideas and projects and am looking forward to following its progress.

Thanks again to all at Talis for a useful visit, hope we can do this again.

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