Softlink's Oliver library system attracts host of new school users

From: Softlink Europe
Published: Thu May 19 2005

Softlink’s latest library automation software for schools, Oliver, now boasts a list of impressive educational establishments amongst its clientele, from primary to secondary schools and colleges. Launched in 2004, establishments which have already chosen Oliver include a mix of independent and state schools such as The Mount School, London; Mossbourne Community Academy, Hackney, London; Saint Cecilia’s, Wandsworth, London; St Marylebone School, London; and St Swithun’s School, Winchester, Hampshire.

Softlink will continue to support and develop Alice, its long-standing library management tool for school libraries. Version 6 of Alice will be available during 2005 and supported users will benefit from a free upgrade to the latest version.

Oliver is not a replacement for Alice but intended for users with different needs. Oliver is ideal for multi-site schools, providing web-based access to library information in remote buildings or partner schools and other sites from one system with no WAN software involved. Other sites or partner schools can retain their own identity, manage their own collections, report on their own collections and establish personal screens for the OPAC all from one central database. The library search facility can be integrated with the school’s website and reading lists; course and lesson notes can be set up on the web or intranet pages with a link to the virtual learning system.

Alasdair Darroch, Managing Director of Softlink Europe, comments, "Over 60% of secondary schools use our library software – Oliver or Alice – to manage their resource centres. Clients choose us for our exceptional levels of service, reliable and highly functional software. Oliver provides school libraries with a way forward to meet the needs of their users not just now but in the years ahead.

"Library and resource centres using Oliver can offer students an extended range of services from the OPAC machine and/or from home via the web; including checking their overdues, renewing their books, reserving items, receiving emails telling them automatically of new and relevant materials being added to the library catalogue, directly accessing electronic and web resources… Staff can create reading lists and other multimedia resource lists and have them accessible via the school website, virtual learning environment and/or library catalogue Oliver is an integrated library system, and creates automatic links to all relevant information whenever any transaction takes place - allowing staff to ‘follow the information trail’ and saving them hours of administrative effort."

Oliver is installed with all the acquisitions/budgeting, cataloguing, stocktake, archiving, circulation, borrower file, serials, interlibrary loan and system administration facilities present.

Oliver allows users to search any of the 1800 libraries in the world which are z39.50 compliant. And Softlink has also established a catalogue database of 8 million titles, updated on a weekly basis, for quick retrospective and ongoing cataloguing

Being a web-based ‘thin client’ solution, Oliver creates minimum work for the school’s IT staff as there is no software to install on individual computers because the information is accessed via a web browser.

Fingerprint recognition
Oliver clients can use a fingerprint system to control library borrowing, photocopying, cashless catering and access through main doorways. Named BioStore, the biometric authentication system is from netu2 and avoids the need to record fingerprints in multiple applications. Users include St Marylebone School, London, which is using Oliver for its library and to facilitate its fingerprint and cashless printing. The St Marylebone CofE School is a secondary school for girls and sixth form for boys and girls with around 800 pupils on the roll. Librarian Noel Rasmussen explains, "We chose Oliver for its ease of remote access. Pupils and staff can now access the library catalogue from home or any PC in school to view the availability of our books, videos, audio tapes and magazines or to link directly to e-resources such as websites." The library holds borrowers’ fingerprints and digital images of users. Biometric (fingerprint) recognition is used for borrowing library items and for the library’s networked colour copier and printer. Pupils each have their own dedicated account which they charge up using cash and their fingerprint. Longer term the school intends to allow parents to charge accounts over the internet using their credit cards, and to roll out the fingerprint recognition to other school services such as catering and the breakfast bar.
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Oliver clients include:
Mossbourne Community Academy is one of England’s flagship city academies catering for pupils aged 11-18 in newly built premises.

The Mount School is an independent, selective school based in Barnet, North London, for girls aged 4-19 in nursery, pre prep, prep and sixth form. The school has around 355 pupils.
Saint Cecilia's, Wandsworth, London, is a Church of England School. It offers secondary school and sixth form for boys and girls aged 11 to 18.
St Marylebone’s School, London is a Church of England secondary school for girls and sixth form for boys and girls with around 800 pupils on the roll.
St Swithun's School is an independent school for girls based in Winchester. There is a junior school of approximately 200 girls aged from 3 to 11 and boys aged from 3 to 8. The Senior School has approximately 450 girls from age 11 - 18. There are around 481 pupils.

Softlink Europe
Library technology specialist Softlink invests in research and development to provide library technology for the 21st century and to offer a suite of products that offers unlimited possibilities for education, public, corporate and special libraries. The product range includes Alice and Oliver for school libraries, and Liberty3 for the corporate, special and higher education sectors. Limes Library Automation Software including Millenia and Evolution and pi Primer has now become the responsibility of Softlink Europe Ltd.

With 20 years of experience and over 10,000 installations of library management solutions worldwide in libraries in a variety of sectors, Softlink Europe is well placed to implement quickly and efficiently from its Oxford and North of England offices. The library automation specialist has a UK-based support and development team and is a firm believer in investment in research and development to provide library technology for the 21st century.

Tel: 0870 7660065
Company: Softlink Europe
Contact Name: Alasdair Darroch
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 01993 883401

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