Alto Blog

Archive for the 'Talis Alto' Category

Interloan (ILL) training

One of the things that has emerged from a number of Process Reviews that we have done in the last year is that the ILL module in Talis Alto is frequently under-used. It actually has a lot of depth and sophistication (for examples in the way that it handles interaction with the British Library Document Supply Centre – BLDSC). In particular there are options for separating initial requests for ILLs from back office processing without having to ship paper forms or request cards about the place.

Whilst Interloans are a declining proportion of library activity, some users tell us that they represent a disproportionate amount of effort, so we are offering an updated one-day course on Interloans: the next one at the time of writing is 3rd March. This will be aimed largely at end-users i.e. library rather than technical staff who are looking to make the best use of the capabilities of the Talis Alto Interloan module.

Talis Library Ideas for Talis Alto – Webinar recording

As promised in my last post, here is the recording of the Webinar on 27th Jan.

[podcast format=”video”][/podcast]

Talis Library Ideas for Talis Alto

Ideas36The Talis Library Ideas forum for Talis Alto is now live. There are links to it here. We recorded the launch webinar and (provided the audio is OK) we would hope to publish it in a future post.

As I described in my last post, this largely (but not wholly) supplants the existing PERs and Defects process. These have not been migrated en-masse to the Talis Ideas forum, but have instead been made available as read-only lists.

A number of interesting and useful suggestions were made at the launch webinar. Several folk suggested that we look for ways to tie Talis Ideas in with Talis Solutions: there is now a meeting in the diary to look at how we might do this. The majority of folk wanted internally-raised defects to be published monthly consolidated with old PERS and Defects and we will look to action that unless/until we understand that the majority would like to play it differently.

I do hope that we all find this new system helpful in honing Talis Alto

Talis Ideas for Talis Alto

One of the trickier aspects of managing the development of Talis Alto has been to understand the priorities of Alto users so that we can apply limited development capacity in a fair and effective way.

In the last few months we have been using a service which we call “Talis Ideas” to help us with setting priorities in the development of Prism 3, and several folk have asked us whether we would be extending this to Alto. We are now on the point of doing so, and plan to run an introductory webinar next week – more details at the bottom of this post

Ideas12 The Ideas service allows customers to raise requests for new features and/or to request that Talis prioritise the fixing of particular defects. Users can assign votes to any of these “Ideas” (whether raised by themselves or by others) and can also comment on them. The development team can in turn feed back on these issues and indicated when changes are planned or completed.

All this is a major improvement on the old static PERs and Defects lists, the occasional Friday-afternoon discussion of desirable features on LIS-TALIS and the static voting exercises used in the past. Proposals for change, discussions, commentary and voting are all in one place and updates dynamically.

Extending Talis Ideas to Alto has been a major exercise: unlike Prism 3, Alto has a long history in the form of a large number of pre-existing PERs and Defects. We did not want to swamp the new system by loading all of these, but neither did we want to throw them away and start again; so the approach that we have taken is as follows:

  • We have provided read-only lists of old PERs and Defects on line for reference. These links will also be on the front page of the Alto website when the service goes live
  • We will continue to whittle away at the older “pre-Talis Ideas” PERS and Defects as a background task
  • We will however prioritise issues raised and voted on in Talis Ideas above old PERs and Defects; so if you have an urgent need for something in the old lists to be addressed rapidly, raise it again on Talis Ideas and persuade your contemporaries to vote for it.

One other difference from Prism: we have increased the number of votes per institution to 20 for Alto in view of its size and complexity.

The service will launch on 27th January with a free webinar. Register here if you would like to join us for this. If you cannot make that date then there is a repeat webinar on 3rd Feb. We will also post a recording on this blog

Talis Mobile update

Over the last year we have been conducting a series of reviews of Talis Mobile with the aim of launching a theme of development effort to refresh the product, this follows feedback from Mobile users regarding the areas that need to be developed within the existing product.

This work has included a full technical review of the product, a customer survey and analysis of usage & deployment patterns and some detailed product analysis to understand where high priority defects are and where new features are also required. The team working on this are in the process of concluding the analysis phase and following the Summer release of Talis Alto 5.1 we plan to embark on a theme of detailed testing and development in Talis Mobile to address the key known areas of end user features and synchronisation with the LMS.

If you have any feedback or suggestions on this, as always, we welcome your input.

Windows 7 update

Following customer feedback we have conducted a series of reviews of Windows 7 with regards to introducing full native support for our desktop suite of products (Talis Alto, Talis Assure etc).  We have investigated the impact of the  Operating System changes as well as examining ways in which our desktop product suite can be installed on Windows 7 without any software changes in the short term.

We have also conducted a Windows 7 customer survey – and we thank those who took part. This survey concluded that only a small number of customer are planning to migrate to Windows 7 over the course of 2010.

Balancing these survey results with our current development priorities we have decided that for the summer 2010 release of Talis Alto (version 5.1) will be not making any software changes for Windows 7 support. However, for those customers who are moving to a Windows 7 environment this year we will be publishing a set of guidelines in July which will make recommendations on how to install Talis Alto and other products and to explain any issues with running the full suite of Talis Alto applications under Windows 7.

If you have any feedback or comments on this, as always, we welcome your input.


Hi and welcome to the Talis Alto blog.
Andy Latham - Head of Development - Talis
I’m Andy Latham, Head of Development at Talis and as part of our continual development processes my  colleagues and I would like to use this blog to talk about what we are doing in the Talis Alto and general  Talis Library Management System development and related topics.

We hope you find this blog useful and informative and we welcome feedback and discussion.