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Replacement of OLIB as our ‘SWIMS’ library management system

Page last updated: 3 Sept 2019

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. 

After a reprocurement process running Nov 2018 to March 2019, the successful bidder was announced on 29th March: Infor (United Kingdom) Ltd.  We will be adopting Infor’s library management system comprising staff interface V-smart, statistics portal V-insight, and end-user interface Iguana.

The work is being led by the implementation team of Jenny Toller, Knowledge Systems Manager HEE (South), with assistance from Lucy Farnsworth, Librarian at Torbay.   The SWIMS Network Board is guiding the decision making. 
From Sept 2019 three additional staff will be assisting Jenny and Lucy to form a ‘core team’ and will be supported by SWIMS groups.  More details in the document Roles and groups.

Go live date

The go live date is as yet unknown and depends upon the time it will take to configure the system, migrate data, and for the training programme to take place.  Our current contract for OLIB ends on 30 April 2020 so that is the ultimate deadline.

Test end user interface – Iguana


This doesn’t have our bibliographic or user data and is just one example of an Iguana installation – we will be able to configure our own Iguana to our requirements.  The home page has a link to a recording of the taster WebEx held on 19 June, plus links to other Iguana installations.

Work completed by the implementation team:

  • We have provided  Infor the information they need for the initial build of our system:
    • Having consulted with libraries, we have provided a list of location codes in V-smart and sub-location codes and names.  Sub-location correspond roughly to shelves in OLIB.  Location names can be determined later.
    • We have determined ‘item categories’ in V-smart to which our copy categories will map – the SWIMS Board guided these decisions
    • We have determined the borrower categories in V-smart to which our user categories will map – the SWIMS Board guided these decisions

Current work priorities for the implementation team:

  • Testing the extraction of our bibliographic and copy data plus user and current circulation data from OLIB.  Our OLIB test database was overwritten with the data in our live system on 4 July as part of this work.
  • Looking at the complex process of mapping our data to fields and values in V-smart
  • Planning the training programme for system managers and for library staff users; also firming up the arrangements for groups and support as we have for OLIB – more news soon
  • Testing connections to V-smart

Other information about the migration:

  • The highest priorities are cataloguing, circulation and self-issue, setting up serials check-in, and providing records to discovery systems; later we’ll be looking at implementing acquisitions, ILDS, possible import of user records from ESR, plus various other areas.
  • We will not be migrating journals check-in data and acquisitions order data from OLIB.  We will provide advice on reporting in these areas before OLIB is ‘switched off’.
  • It will be possible to connect self-issue units as now – some technical work will be needed by unit suppliers and/or IT depts but instructions will be given
  • The intention is to provide a single list of responses to questions around data protection and information governance which it is anticipated that trusts might pose.  This is because it will not be possible to complete individual questionnaires for each trust.  More news soon.
  • The recent circulation survey conducted by the SWIMS Circulation Group will guide decisions on configuration of circulation parameters in due course

If you have a query about some aspect of the implementation not covered here please contact Jenny and Lucy, or a member of the SWIMS Network Board.

Keeping in touch and getting prepared – what you can do

  • For updates please keep an eye on the discussion lists, particularly SWIMS-SYSTEM, and this webpage
  • Please continue to do routine housekeeping particularly cataloguing and circulation
  • Please follow the requests to tidy sent out by module group members and system managers as this keeps SWIMS operating optimally and will mean less work nearer the time
  • Please consider other tidying such as stock checking and stock weeding
  • Please don’t create any new ‘reference data’ such as user categories, copy categories, shelves, ownership codes etc.  This is because all the data migration decisions have now been made.  If you find you do need new reference data, please contact Jenny and Lucy.


SWIMS management and use

The SWIMS Network Board is continuing to review current system governance, management and use.  Full details in the Board minutes.  To summarise, the Board has agreed that much of the use and management will remain largely along the same lines.  The decisions are:

  • 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 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 make use, in due course, of the interlibrary and document supply (ILDS) module, although it will need bespoke development
  • 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 is looking at this


OLIB development work from now on is deprioritised.  This includes new reporting requirements.  However it will be necessary for technical reasons to have OLIB upgraded later in 2019 which will entail some downtime – more news in due course.