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Replacement of OLIB as our ‘SWIMS’ library management system

Page last updated: 18 Oct 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 core team

To manage the work there is a ‘core team’ led by Jenny Toller and comprising SWIMS library staff with dedicated time: Lucy Farnsworth, Catherine Micklethwaite, Barb Peirce and from Nov 2019 Steve Field.  The core team are supported by SWIMS groups.  More details in the document Roles and groups.
The SWIMS Network Board is guiding the decision making. 
If you would like to contact a member of the core team with a question about the new system, please use the team email address:


One of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Go live date

The go live date depends upon the time it will take to configure the system, migrate data, and for the training programme to take place.  It is currently planned for early March 2019. Our current contract for OLIB ends on 30 April 2020.

Test end user interface – Iguana


This has our data (a snapshot as at 4 July 2019) and we are currently configuring it to our requirements.

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, not least for information about training
  • 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 note that some tidying is essential otherwise the records in question may not be migrated.
  • 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 the core team.
  • Please let the core team know if you start using a new Shelf which you haven’t used before – if you don’t then any records on this Shelf will be lost during the data migration

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
  • We have extracted our bibliographic and copy data and this has now been loaded into the Infor test database
  • We have extracted our user and current circulation data from OLIB.  This is up-to-date as at 4 July.  This is now being loaded into the Infor test database.

Current work priorities for the implementation team:

  • Reviewing the way that our data has been loaded into the Infor test database
  • 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
  • Testing connections to V-smart
  • Using the results of the the recent circulation survey conducted by the SWIMS Circulation Group to guide decisions on configuration of circulation parameters

Other information about moving to the new system:

  • 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
  • It will not be possible to complete individual data protection and information security questionnaires for each trust so a set of documents gathered for the HEE scrutiny will be provided to library managers for future reference.

If you have a query about some aspect of the implementation not covered here please contact the core team via the email address above, or a member of the SWIMS Network Board.

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 was necessary for technical reasons to have OLIB upgraded on 2nd Oct 2019.