Information Technology Services

Talis Aspire Reading List FAQs

These FAQs supplement the user guide which covers the basic steps for creating and managing reading lists.

Who needs to be involved in Talis Aspire Reading lists?

At Victoria all courses should be using Talis Aspire through their Blackboard course by the start of Trimester 2 2016.
We recommend if possible start using Talis Aspire in Trimester 1 courses.

It is the Course Coordinator's responsibility to ensure their course complies with this adoption deadline. However, ensuring the Blackboard course is using the Talis Aspire reading lists and the creation of those lists is the responsibility of the course lecturer/s. It is up to the school as to how that is done and whether support is given to the Academic staff in order to create these lists.

How do I request training?

In the first instance talk to your school administrators as there may be a school approach to training and roll-out. Otherwise contact your subject librarian and request training and support.

I don't understand the need for copyright compliance?

see for information and guidance.

What do students need to know about this?

As a course coordinator or lecturer you need to inform your students that you are now using Talis Aspire for their reading list and where in your Blackboard course they will be able to find the links.

There is a standard announcement you can copy and post up in your Blackboard course to alert students to this and a link to a student use video. See the Student Support section at bottom of the page.

How do I make sure my list will appear as a option to link in Blackboard?

When you create the list you have the opportunity to link to the Hierarchy. Once you have a created the list you can also do this from the edit List menu. Linking to the Hierarchy means selecting the specific Blackboard course.

Will my list be reused for next year / Trimester and the old ones deleted?

New lists will be created for each instance o the course (the same as Blackboard). Lists can be created by copying and older list. NO lists should be deleted as we have to report annually for Copyright Licensing requirements. Please ensure if you have any contract staff in your school that they know that they must leave the list in tact at the end of their contract.

Common problems linking to Blackboard

When I try and link my Talis Aspire list to Blackboard it get a "whoops error 404", what do I do?

The cause of this is usually one of two things:
1. If you have entered text into the description box of the content block you added to Blackboard you need to edit this to make sure there are no carriage returns in the paragraph. (that means you hit the return key) Instead you need to use a soft return by using Shift + return. Don't forget to also check there are no returns at the end of the text either.

2. When you create the content block in Blackboard and then click on the title, you will be asked to select the list in Talis which needs to be linked. The default that comes up in the 'list' box may appear to be the correct code, but you still need to start typing the course list name to bring up the selection panel and select the right option. This will also allow you to select a section of the list to publish into the Blackboard course if you wish.

I have linked my Talis Aspire list to Blackboard and was able to select the correct course and section of list, but now when I click on the link I get Error http-401 messages. What do I need to do?

This usually occurs if there is a return added to the text in the description of the link. If there is these need to be replaced with carriage returns (i.e Shift+Return). Do check if there is one at the end of the text as well.

Types of material to be included in Talis Aspire reading lists

What course material needs to be included in the Talis reading list?

The simple answer is all reading resources you require your students to engage with for their learning need to be cited on the reading list. Any resources that have possible copyright attached to them need to be listed so that the compliance to copyright reproduction requirements can be checked or addressed.

A simple guide is, if you didn't create the resource and if all desired / required resources had to be given to students as a hard copy hand-out, would this resource be included? If the answer is yes it should go into Talis.

Can different media types be included in Talis reading lists?

All of the resources on the reading lists are links out to resources online and so all resource types will work. It can be document (pdf), webpage, image or video.

What if the library doesn't have a copy of the item I want to add to my Talis reading list?

If you can find a link to the resource on the internet to bookmark add it to you list and then request digitisation for that item. Make sure in the notes to Library you note that you have a physical copy of the item for them to use. You might like to also contact your subject Librarian and inform them that you have the required item that you require digitised.
If the items is a section of a book for example you may be able to find a reference to the book in amazon to bookmark, and then request digitisation.

Can I include worksheets and past exam papers?

Resources which you create yourself for the course, such a worksheets and example exams do not need to be added to the list. these can be uploaded directly into Blackboard.

How do I add an item which isn't digital?

The library needs to digitise the item (scan). Even if it has previously been digitised the library is refreshing their digitised material both so that it can be properly uploaded into the new Talis Aspire system for copyright compliance checking, but also so that they can ensure a quality scan is held for future use.

Once the item is loaded into Talis once it will be much easier for the library to recall this digitised copy for next time.

Creating reading lists and bookmarking resources in Talis

Is there a naming convention I should follow when naming a Talis reading list?

Yes. It's always best to give all the key information.

Course code (trimester and year): title of course
eg. LAWS344 Trimester 3 2015/2016: Law of the Sea

If you are creating yourself a test list to try out features and collect person resources please ensure the title of the list starts with the word 'TEST'. These can then be easily filtered out for reporting purposes.

How do I bookmark a resource for my list?

Start by reading the user guide on how to load the bookmarklet tool into your browser favorites bar. You can add bookmarks to your profile in Talis at any time and then add them to lists at a later date as needed. All bookmarks (added to lists or not) show up in your bookmarks tab within Talis  once you you login (

I've made a change to my list but why can't my students see it?

If a list is edited you need to re-publish the list for the changes to be visible through any links already created in Blackboard.

The citation information listed in the list is incorrect or not displaying properly, how do I change this or get it checked?

Editing the metadata of the bookmark in Talis Aspire allows you to add to and clean up the data shown on the list.
For example if the item is a chapter of a book and only the chapter name is showing in the list and no information about the book itself, go into chapter part of the metadata and add fields, such as Author and year. You can add the name of the book at the end of the chapter title (either after hyphen or in brackets).

How do I ensure my reading list will work for students?

It is very important that list lecturers take the time to test their list out and try every single link to ensure it is actually opening the required resource. you need to actually try all blue online resource buttons and see that they open.

It is also advised that you use the Talis Aspire Dashboard feature as this will advise you where the metadata could be improved and what data may be missing. See user guide section on reviewing metadata in your list.

I am co-teaching a course with another Academic staff member. Can I set up my list so that we can both add resources and edit?

Yes. If one of you creates the list then simply select the 'invite list publishers' from the edit list options. this will ask you for the email address of the person you want to share the list with. They will receive an invite to open and edit that list.

You can also reallocate ownership of a list once it has been created. This is helpful where school administrators are starting the list and can transfer ownership to the lecturer to complete and check.

Technical Issues

I have students saying they have issues using the student read status and notes tools. What should I advice them to try?

If the student feature tools are not working correctly it is normally due to browser set up issues. Check the browser is set to allow all cookies, pop-ups and java script.

I am trying to help out a colleague with Talis and cannot log into Talis with my details on their machine, it defaults to their login. How can I log them out and log in with my details?

You would need to load a browser tab as incognito / private window. To do this right click on your browser icon in your task-bar and select available option.