SWIMS Network and SWIMS System
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Accessing & Using SWIMS


FAQs – Accessing and Using SWIMS

Logging into and out of SWIMS, and disconnections

  1. What are the interfaces for SWIMS and what are the URLs for them?
  2. Which browsers are supported for the different SWIMS interfaces?
  3. What logins and passwords do I need and how to I obtain them?
  4. What do I do if a login is no longer needed?  SWIMS Network mandatory procedure
  5. What should I do if I am disconnected without warning and when I log in again the record I was using is locked?
  6. What is the Test Database and how do I access it?

Setting up and using OLIB Web

  1. What is my location on OLIB and how does this affect my activities on OLIB?
  2. Where does OLIB record my activities and my logins?
  3. What useful tips are there for using OLIB Web?
  4. What can I do if I am experiencing speed issues on OLIB Web?

Equipment – printers and barcode scanners

  1. How do I set up my barcode scanner to scan ISBN barcodes?

What are the interfaces for SWIMS and what are the URLs to access them?

  • OLIB Web is a staff interface
  • WebView is the OPAC for end users

SWIMS is the generic name for the whole system and stands for South and West Information Management System.  SWIMS is also useful as a name to use with end users.

Please ask your System Administrator for the URLs for the staff interfaces. 
SWIMS WebView can be accessed at www.swims.nhs.uk.  Note that this automatically redirects to https://wv-swims.olib.oclc.org/webview/ – it isn’t possible for the browser to retain the simpler URL, however both work.

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Which browsers are supported for the different SWIMS interfaces?

OCLC’s browser support statement is pasted below (in italics) for information. 

New Releases

From Service Pack 10, support for Internet Explorer 8 or earlier is not possible.

As a general policy, OLIB service packs are tested prior to their release with the following browsers:

– Internet Explorer:

  • The earliest version supported by Microsoft. Currently this is IE11.
  • The latest version released at least three months before Service Pack scheduled release

The latest versions available for Google Chrome, Mozilla FireFox and Opera on Windows
are used during various parts of the test cycle.


Existing Releases

Web browsers are updated frequently for security fixes and, as such, it is not practical for OCLC to test existing OLIB versions with each version of every browser.

OCLC refers to w3counter.com statistics for browser and Operating System usage information (ref: http://oc.lc/ihwIfX) at key stages of the development and testing cycle. This is a free service used by over 80,000 web sites.


It is understood that not all colleagues using IE have access to IE11.  Having said this, browser support doesn’t mean that the interfaces won’t work on IE9 and IE10.   Also note that other browsers are supported too (though we are aware of the patchy refresh problems on Chrome). 

The operating system of the PC, e.g. XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 etc, is not material to WebView or OLIB Web.  Successful operation is determined by the browser and browser version in use.  

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What logins and passwords do I need and how do I obtain them?

To obtain usernames and passwords please ask your SWIMS System Administrator.  

In order to login OLIB Web you need an OLIB login which comprises a username (barcode) and password.  The barcode is also the barcode for your library staff user record on SWIMS. 
SWIMS Network mandatory procedures:
– You must not share your personal login with anyone else.  It is permitted to have generic shared logins but these must not be shared beyond those working at that library service.
– The password is at least 11 characters and is a complex password.  This is for security reasons.  You must not change your password.

The OLIB Web barcode is not case sensitive but the password is.

In order to log into WebView you can use your OLIB Web library staff login.  If you use this login to access WebView you will also be asked for the password.  If you have a user record on SWIMS which has a local user category, e.g. you have set it up in order to borrow according to local loan terms, then you can enter that barcode number and you will not need to enter a password.  WebView logins are not case sensitive.

Working at more than one location, or moving to a different location

Only one OLIB login is needed as it is portable.  See the FAQ below about locations and logins.

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What do I do if a login is no longer needed?

SWIMS Network mandatory procedure

Please contact your local System Administrator if a staff member leaves. The System Administrator will expire the User record and remove library staff permissions.  It is up to the home library to delete the user record; however this will be deleted by the system managers one year after expiry if not already deleted.

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What should I do if I am disconnected without warning and when I log in again the record I was using is locked?

This occurs when the record in question was in modify when you were disconnected.  In this scenario you may see the message ‘Another user already has this record locked’.  OCLC advises that most records automatically unlock overnight.  User records being used in the issues screen may take longer.  

Previous experience suggests that locks can be unlocked more quickly than overnight, so you can try the following:

  1. Log out, close the browser, open it again and log in. 
  2. If that fails, wait overnight. 
  3. If it urgent that day, or still hasn’t unlocked the next day, contact a SWIMS System Administrator who will contact OCLC to ask them to unlock the record.

See also the FAQ on locked user records.

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What is the Test Database and how do I access it?

The test database is a copy of our live database.  The data is a snapshot taken at the last time it was copied from the live database, except that user data is scrambled.  The date of the last snapshot can be ascertained here.  It is a useful as a place to practise skills such as circulation and cataloguing.

Test OLIB Web
Please contact your local System Administrator for the URL.  Use the same login as for live OLIB Web.

Test WebView
The test database is available at https://test-wv-swims.olib.oclc.org/webview/

There is no guarantee contractually that the test database is available, as there is with the live database. If you are planning a training session using the test database, please check with the Knowledge Systems Manager in advance to ensure that there will be no scheduled downtime.

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What is my location and how does this affect my activities on OLIB?

There are two location settings which affect activities:

1. The Logged In Location (see top right in OLIB Web) has a number of functions:

  • It determines which location is offered when adding Copies or Users
  • It determines which closed dates will be honoured during an issue desk transaction, i.e. SWIMS uses the closed dates corresponding to the logged in Location, and ignores the closed dates at the location(s) of the user and copy if these are different.
  • It is also relevant to statistics – see the FAQ on this.

To change your location, use the drop-down list top right.  This doesn’t change the location in your user record.

2. The location in the user record of the logged in staff member

This affects journal check-in – please see this FAQ

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Where does OLIB record my activities and my logins?

When you log into OLIB, you log in with a barcode which is linked to a user record.  When you have carried out the following workflows, the name in this user record is visible – in the main or audit or control screen – or in another linked screen.  Sometimes the information recorded is simply name and date, sometimes there is more detail.  This information is helpful for audit.

  • Create or update records for titles / copies / authors / series / users / objects
  • Create or update records for suppliers /publishers / subject headings / classmarks (though note that permissions are restricted to certain groups on these)
  • Carry out circulation transactions
  • Acquisitions procedures such as create an order record, cancel an order item, authorise an invoice
  • Check in serial issues

Sometimes when sorting out problems, the system managers need to check this audit information and will then contact the name they find.  So for this reason it is important to work on OLIB whilst logged in with your own barcode, or your issue desk barcode if relevant.  If you work whilst logged with a colleague’s barcode, then OLIB will record your activities under their name.

Note that some of these audit records may not appear for all records on the system as some have been introduced gradually over the years.  If there is a blank where a name should appear, this is usually because the library staff member has left and their record has been deleted.

Records of login

Since the upgrade to Service Pack 5 in Oct 2014, the last login to any interface for any user – whether library staff or end user – is recorded in the ‘Update Audit Trail’ tab of that user’s user record.   The date and time, the application e.g. OLIB Web, WebView and even SIP for self-issue units, and the IP of the device the user was using.   The ‘Old Value’ hasn’t much meaning in this context – it is just the preceding login interface and IP address.  This data is only recorded from the day after the upgrade, i.e. from 2nd Oct 2014 onwards, and so isn’t retrospective.

There are no known data security issues of the IP address being displayed.

It is possible to refine on this.

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What useful tips are there for using OLIB Web? 

  • Data display truncated in ‘list boxes’
    You can’t always see all the data in ‘list boxes’ e.g. the copies box on the title record. (The technical term is resizeable columns in list boxes). However Firefox and IE seem to handle these differently and in some cases Firefox has scroll bars which allow you to see the data by scrolling.

To improve the display you can:

Push back the Selection Manager

Amend the font size in the browser settings – note this affects everything the browser is used for

Amend the screen resolution – note also this affects everything the PC is used for

  • It is better not to use the browser back button to navigate as it can give rise to an error message ‘record is read only’ which then requires you to close OLIB Web and open again. It is better to use the OLIB Web specific navigation.
  • The Clipboard function is only available for hitlists, not for full records too.
  • After the upgrade to OLIB Web 1.1. in Sept 2010 the ‘remember me’ facility at login may work; but is dependant on IT policies permit cookies to persist through browser restarts, Windows logins, PC reboots, etc.
  • There is no automatic timeout. If the user leaves the web page open then the session will not time out. It will time out within 30 minutes of them closing the browser tab/window if they haven’t logged out properly. If any records are left in modify mode when the browser is closed, any locks on these will be cleared overnight.
  • Accelerator keys allow you to carry out commands via the keyboard.  Check the OLIB Web help files for further information.

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What can I do if I am experiencing speed issues on OLIB Web?

1. Check your browser and version and move to a preferred browser if possible.

2. Check your local network speed with your local IT department.
OLIB Web is affected by general internet slowness at any site.

3. When searching, reduce the number of hits per page displayed to 50 or less.

A note about reporting speed problems
OCLC also advises that when reporting system slowness, it is helpful if the symptoms of the slowdown are reported. For example, is there is a pause after the link is clicked before the page seems to change, or does the page assemble slowly, or does the page appear but then cannot be used. This distinction can be helpful in suggesting whether the problem is network-related or application-related. Please include this information when reporting a problem.

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How do I set up my barcode scanner to scan ISBN barcodes?

Your barcode scanner can be programmed to read ISBN barcodes as well as copy barcodes. In order to do this you will need a set of barcodes which you can obtain from your local System Administrator. These barcodes come from the manual which was provided by ERS along with the scanners.

You simply scan the required barcodes on the page and from that point your barcode scanner will read ISBN barcodes. When searching on OLIB, do a title search by ISBN, and in the majority of cases this will locate the correct title record. However it is important to check carefully that the correct record has been located, and if in doubt, carry out further searches as necessary.

It also recommended that you check the verso of the title page for the ISBN as well as the back cover.

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