Prism Blog

Prism 3 calling! Introducing our mobile device interface…

At the beginning of the month we released the latest exciting development for Prism 3, our mobile device interface. We have made this available to you, our valued customers, as part of your Prism 3 subscription at no extra cost.

This development comes at a crucial time as mobile technology advances at a breathtaking rate and a recent study by Ofcom1 found that 91% of the population now own a mobile device.

The interface works with all the main mobile device browsers including iPhone, Android, Opera Mobile/Mini, Windows Phone 7 Mango and the latest Blackberry versions. This is important considering that “Every four weeks about 2.5% of feature phone owners have shifted to smartphones since April 2010 in the UK” suggesting that “the ‘tipping point’ when smartphones make up half of all users lies about a year away, in June 2012.” 2

There are lots of features that will benefit your users including:

Adaptive design
Prism 3 will detect the device being used and automatically render in the mobile interface which automatically adapts to the size of the screen available.
Users don’t have to download it; it’s not a native app, and no separate URL is required meaning seamless use alongside the desktop version for your users. We have deliberately transformed the existing interface and built on existing information rather than create an unfamiliar environment.


Home screen icons
On devices where home screen icons can be created, (i.e. for apps that are downloaded) home icons can be created on the Prism Mobile Interface. Users can create as many home screen icons for Prism as required allowing users to organise their searches. For example, a different icon could be created for subjects, locations, media types, new stock – anything that the library provides – a great time-saving feature.

Touch- swipe paging and tap to reveal
Where the device permits it, the Mobile Interface has been designed to allow touch-swipe paging and tap to reveal. This means that users can operate their devices in the way that they are accustomed to and don’t have to resort to using clumsy navigational functions. For example, by ‘tapping’ on a book jacket image, more holdings information is revealed.

Focus on key tasks                                                                                                            People are generally far less tolerant of clutter on mobile devices and so the Prism Mobile Interface has been designed to only display key information and tasks. This ultimately means an improved experience for the user as they find the answers they need quicker and easier.

Faster searching
Caching pre-loaded searches and the use of the latest features of HTML5 mean that the interface is much quicker and responsive for the user. Additionally, search results are pre-loaded in the background so it feels instantaneous when you click or swipe through different pages of results.

To get this feature enabled on your catalogue, please raise a support case and to see the preview webinar that was held by our senior Prism 3 developer Matt Machell on 22nd August, click here.

1UK Sees Highest Growth in Smartphone Users (Ofcom, 2010):

2Arthur, C. ‘Smartphones head to tipping point’, Guardian (11 July 2011):


University of Northampton Launches Prism 3 With Links to SFX and Public Library Holdings

The Library and systems team at the University of Northampton have this week released their new Talis Prism 3 catalogue to students. They’ve provided a link from the library homepage here and are encouraging students to give them lots of feedback on it whilst they parallel run Prism 2 and Prism 3.

The University undertook their own design work and have tied it to the look and feel of the University brand – giving a seamless feeling for students using disparate library services.

Mike Aynsworth, Information Systems Manager, told me that “Prism 3 has been configured at the University of Northampton primarily for student resource discovery. We’ve used the Juice project to extend the catalogue to include links to COPAC, Waterstones, Amazon, SFX, Northamptonshire libraries and other useful alternative sources”.

The links out to SFX are especially interesting, as the technical team at the University have utilised Juice to point students directly to the full text where it is available, and when not, it takes students to the SFX listings. The team are planning to further extend their alternative resources by adding in direct links to ebooks too.

The use of social media is incorporated too, with the option for students to bookmark searches with Delicious.

The team are also using the flexible design of the user interface to cater for the OPAC machines actually within the library, allowing for a more locked down “kiosk mode”.

To see the University of Northampton’s catalogue in action go to:

Another University Parallel Running with Prism 3

uni chichester prismThe University of Chichester are now live with their new catalogue, parallel running both Prism 2 and Prism 3 for a few weeks before moving to Prism 3 as the default catalogue. This gives staff and students alike a great opportunity to try out the new OPAC as the project team in charge of the implementation at the University were keen to allow staff and students to migrate to the new service naturally.

Prism 3 has been created to make the design of the user interface extremely flexible and the project team have created the design to fit in seamlessly with the branding of the University. The team were also able to link other useful information into the header such as library opening hours and location information.

The University have aso blogged about the release, at English Liblog@chi here.

Leicestershire Libraries Live with Talis Prism 3

As my colleague, Imraz has reported in his most recent update, more libraries are starting to use Talis Prism 3 as either the main search interface or in parallel to the existing interface.  A few, like Haringey have taken the plunge in a big way, and simply replaced  the ‘old’ Prism 2.1 interface with the much more attractive Prism 3 look.

Towards the end of last week I was particularly struck by the latest library to launch their new interface, Leicestershire.  Apart from the clean look and feel to the design, attractive book jacket images, and the single search box (all of which are becoming standard on the newer  OPACs), I particularly liked the use of the additional information that has been included on the landing page.  Firstly, there is Leicestershire Prismthe tag cloud which directs users to a “Quick links section”.  These links give a highly visual way for users to explore some recommendations, and even a link to Library Thing, via a Book Suggestor. The second area that I thought was interesting was the provision of local library news via a panel on the front page of the catalogue.  This uses an RSS feed to give users a highly visible way of accessing the excellent Leicestershire Libraries Blog.

These additions to the interface are made possible using Juice extensions (for more information about Juice, please see here), and really enhance the look of the catalogue interface, and more importantly, provide users of the library services with the type of value added information that they expect from a website. It will be interesting to see what comments Leicestershire Libraries get from their users about Talis Prism 3.

Talis Prism User Day, 18 March 2010

For those who have started their Talis Prism 3 implementation, join us at the Talis offices for a free Talis Prism User Day on 18 March 2010. Share your experiences with other Prism 3 users, see the latest development roadmap and feed your thoughts into the future of our development plans. Register your free place at Prism events page.

Popularity Contest

I wonder how many of you saw the recent popularity list of most visited libraries?  As with any list this is subjective, but the main point of the MLA report was two fold, firstly that Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library had more visitors and lent more books than any other in 2007/08. Closely followed by libraries in major cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Croydon.

However the second part of the report was also interesting; as the BBC states (after the doom and gloom about the number of physical visits being down overall)

“But the number of people accessing library services via the internet, for services including book renewals and catalogue inquiries, was up by 20%, with more than 76 million web visits.”

This isn’t surprising news, the way in which people access services has changed to being online as a first port of call. So, with 76 million web visits how are you going to make sure that users keep returning to renew items, or see what you have in your catalogue? At Talis we have prepared for this by ensuring that the next generation OPAC can have an attractive interface, and also that the search can be accessed from anywhere. Its by having an attractive, modern and intuitive interface to your web presence that will keep your users coming back and also attract new ones.

Please see Richard’s post below for details of how to do this.

Planning, planning and more planning

As we are starting to see more customers prepare to launch their new, enhanced library catalogue we are helping our customers to plan for their implementation via a series of events, being held at both the Talis offices and regionally.  As Richard has mentioned, we held our first one for academic libraries last month, and we are preparing to welcome some of our public libraries next week.  One of the key messages that our early customers have told us,  is that the planning that goes into the look and feel of the new catalogue is vital, not only in terms of imagining (or re-imagining) how your your users will see your web presence, but aslo how they will use it.

At these days we talk about how to use both design and functionality in order to make your OPAC a ‘shop window’ and something that users will want to keep returning to time after time. Unless you start to plan for this well in advanced, the danger is that your institutions web presence won’t be able to ‘show off’ your functionality to the greatest impact.  I’m interested to see if the public libraries have a different set of requirements to our academic customers, and how that will manifest itself.  One thing that we have seen so far is that there is a diverse requirements as to either a very ‘corporate’ look and feel or something that is very ‘library’.

So, if you haven’t already  arranged to come to one of these days, please do so, the details are here – and we look forward to hearing about your plans.

Prism design for Sheffield University

We’ve had great feedback on our Prism design for Sheffield. It’s work in progress and we expect changes as the team at Sheffield want to get to grips with using it. We’ve opted for a similar aesthetic to the current website so that the access is seamless when navigating from the library homepage.
prism-sheffield-home prism-sheffield-results prism-sheffield-detail

Click on the images for a larger view – tell us what you think.