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LMS and Library Database Integration

June 22, 2022

One constant in libraries is the fewer barriers you place between users and some resource the more users will take advantage of that resource.  That’s why libraries use technologies like ip authentication, single sign on, and responsive websites to make our collections more convenient for our patrons. 

Another tool that’s available to libraries is using LTI integrations to make library databases available within a learning management system.  LTI stands for Learning Tools Interoperability. LTI is an open standard that allows different pieces of software to communicate with a learning management system.  The LTI standard is supported by all major LMS: Blackboard, D2L, Canvas, and many others.   Using an LTI to integrate library databases into an LMS enables faculty to search those databases and quickly link to their resources within their online courses.  For example, my Library has a subscription to Films on Demand, an online video streaming database, our integration of this database enables faculty to seamlessly embed videos into their online courses.   Of course, there are other ways to do this, but for faculty uncomfortable using things like embed code, the LTI is a much better option.  Since an LMS is already password protected, anything embedded using an LTI requires no login from students.

With online classes so common today the LMS has become “the college” as far as many students are concerned.  The LMS is the digital campus through which students interact with everything that the university offers.  As such, it’s a good idea for libraries to see that their services are as present in the LMS as possible.  That could be a link to the library website or the ability for faculty to access library resources directly inside their course pages.

Most major database providers will have excellent documentation on how to setup an integration between their products and common learning management systems.  The process can be easily completed in a few days in most cases.  I highly recommend libraries explore this option.

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