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Replacement of OLIB as our ‘SWIMS’ library management system

The current work to review library and discovery systems used across the NHS in England (as outlined in Helen Bingham’s KfH blog post) has triggered the decision to replace OLIB with a more modern system.  A new system will help to streamline workflows for library staff and integrate with other systems for a better end user experience. 

Procurement steps

The funding for this replacement was secured in late 2018.    The timetable is as follows:

30th Nov 2018 – invitation to tender issued which included a specification with 204 detailed requirements
18th Jan 2019 – deadline for receipt of bids
21st – 25th Jan – evaluation of bids
31st Jan and 1st Feb – supplier presentations for top 4 bids
4th – 22nd Feb – system testing
27th Feb – identify preferred bidder
27th Feb – 20th? March – ‘standstill period’; the successful bidder will be announced after this period has ended.
Thereafter – implementation commences.  We still have a fair amount of time left on our current contract for OLIB so there will be plenty of time for data migration and training.

The group leading this work is the Library Management System Reference Group (LMSRG) which comprises some members of the SWIMS Network Board: Alison Day, Angie Drayton, Nicki Forgham-Healey and Sarah Maddock; plus Catherine Micklethwaite as internal consultant, and Ken Chad as external consultant.  Jenny Toller is managing the process and Helen Bingham is overseeing the project.  SWIMS group members were invited to participate in system testing.

SWIMS management and use

The SWIMS Network Board took the opportunity, at its meeting on 10 Jan 2019, to review current system governance, management and use.  Full details in the Board minutes.  To summarise, the Board agreed that much of the use and management will remain largely along the same lines, although noted that some decisions may be determined by how the successor system works.  The decisions were:

  • To retain the current model of devolved system management of the Board and the groups,  not least as this provides the benefits of shared accountability and staff development opportunities; however to review the group structure with a view perhaps to reducing the number of groups and involving more staff
  • To consider engaging paid assistance with system implementation and management from a trust in order to share the work and have trust input
  • To retain the name and acronym: South and West Information Management System: SWIMS, plus the blue card colour; however to look at refreshing the SWIMS logos
  • To ponder which modules/functional areas we need with the possibility of making use of additional modules if our chosen system provides them; this includes document supply management
  • To continue to include journals holdings data for affiliated libraries
  • To continue to bulk load e-journal bundles as now
  • To continue to catalogue e-books in order that they are discoverable via discovery systems
  • To review circulation policies with a view to rationalising – the SWIMS Circulation Group will look at this

SWIMS OLIB – next steps

This work will mean deprioritising OLIB development work from now on such as upgrades and enhancements, and instead focussing on system tidying and data integrity checking in preparation for data migration. The exact nature of this tidying and checking work will become clearer when we know how the successor system works (no point in tidying records which won’t be migrated).  However please do continue to do routine housekeeping (particularly cataloguing and circulation) and follow the requests to tidy sent out currently by module group members not least as this keeps SWIMS operating optimally and will mean less work nearer the time.  More news on other data tidying in due course.