List Owner Notifications

Background

Sometimes you want to find all the list owners for a set of lists so that you can notify them for some reason. Possible reasons include:

The Data

Reading lists can have a list owner assigned to them. This is a user who must already exist within Talis Aspire.

We’ll be joining the f_rl_lists table to the f_rl_users table using the owner_url which is a unique reference to that user in Talis Aspire.

The Query

Here is the query

SELECT
    f_rl_lists.title,
    f_rl_lists.url,
    f_rl_users.email,
    f_rl_users.first_name,
    f_rl_users.surname
FROM
    f_rl_lists,
    f_rl_users
WHERE
    f_rl_lists.owner_url = f_rl_users.profile_url

This is the basic form of the query which joins the f_rl_lists and f_rl_users tables together to provide a view of the information you’d need to generate a mail merge type email.

To cater for some of the use cases outlined at the top of this recipe, the following WHERE clauses could be used.

Only lists in a particular time period

You probably don’t want to know about all list owners since the year dot, so reporting on particular time periods may be useful.

SELECT
    f_rl_lists.title,
    f_rl_lists.url,
    f_rl_users.email,
    f_rl_users.first_name,
    f_rl_users.surname
FROM
    f_rl_lists,
    f_rl_users
WHERE
    f_rl_lists.time_period = 'Year 2019/20'
AND
    f_rl_lists.owner_url = f_rl_users.profile_url

Only lists older than some date

In this query, rather than just getting all lists, we get only the lists that have a particular time period but have not been updated since a target date.

SELECT
    f_rl_lists.title,
    f_rl_lists.url,
    f_rl_users.email,
    f_rl_users.first_name,
    f_rl_users.surname
FROM
    f_rl_lists,
    f_rl_users
WHERE
    f_rl_lists.time_period = 'Year 2019/20'
AND
    f_rl_lists.last_updated <= '2018-09-01'::date 
AND
    f_rl_lists.owner_url = f_rl_users.profile_url

All lists published but with unpublished changes since some date

In this query we first limit to things which have been updated since a target date but which have a status of published with changes. They might need reminding that their lists need publishing if they are happy with their changes!

SELECT
    f_rl_lists.title,
    f_rl_lists.url,
    f_rl_users.email,
    f_rl_users.first_name,
    f_rl_users.surname
FROM
    f_rl_lists,
    f_rl_users
WHERE
    f_rl_lists.status = 'Published with changes'
AND
    f_rl_lists.last_updated >= '2018-09-01'::date 
AND
    f_rl_lists.owner_url = f_rl_users.profile_url

Assumptions and limitations

Your lists would need to have a list owner for these queries to make sense. If you are in the habit of having list owners who are not academic staff, then this may not be an approach that makes so much sense!

Things to try

Send Scheduled Reports

Take the output of these queries and use them to build an email in a tool that allows you to then send the email on your behalf. Add a scheduling component to the mix and you could have a notification pipeline which looks like:

Exactly which tools that you choose to use will vary according to those you are comfortable with. If you are interested in doing this it might be worth asking the Talis Developer Community, or raising a support ticket.

Here are some links to ways to do this sort of thing in popular tools.