2018 User Groups: A year in review


2018 User Groups: A year in review

By Softlink Education Customer Community Manager, Susan Gan.

As Customer Community Manager, part of my role is to organise and put together content for the quarterly Oliver v5 User Group webinars. If you ever walk past my desk and I’m sitting there frowning and scratching my head, you can be pretty sure I am trying to come up with something exciting to present to a User Group. …Alternatively, I’m probably trying to write interesting content for a Softlink Education Blog article!

What’s covered in User Group webinars

When planning content for the User Group webinars there are a few parameters that I try to work within:

  • The content needs to be easy enough for a new user to get a basic grasp of a concept and to give them ideas for the future, but it can’t be so basic that an Oliver v5 super-user walks away with nothing of value from the session.

  • Being an internationally delivered webinar, I also have to take into account any cross-cultural differences that might impact users from a wide range of different countries throughout the world.

  • Lastly, I try to cover functionality that all of our clients are likely to use, rather than specialist functionality used by only a few.

No problem, right? Sounds like a super easy task!

Highlights from 2018 User Groups

Looking back over the 2018 User Groups, I think we ended up covering some pretty interesting content and if the comments we received are anything to go by, there were lots of new ideas for users to take away and try out.


In the first User Group of 2018, I showed attendees how to setup Information Boxes in the new-look search. This is always a popular topic and participants enjoy learning how to make the best use of the Oliver v5 News page.

During the session we also looked at Tag Manager and how to use it. Tag Manager is a fantastic piece of functionality that I like to refer to as ‘Post-it Notes for library staff’. This section of the webinar was presented by members of the Softlink Education Support Teams – Rhonda Poacher in the UK and Candice Nichols in Australia.


At our June User Group, I covered 11 reasons your students (and staff) should be logging in to Oliver v5. The reasons ranged from writing resource reviews and setting up My Interests to restricting borrower access to specific resources using Security Groups.

Rhonda Poacher and Ian Burton, from the UK and Australian Support Teams respectively, then explained all about Oliver v5 Authentication. This is a complicated topic that they successfully managed to explain in ‘non-IT speak’.

Using ‘Non-IT speak’ was the only requirement I had given Ian and Rhonda when they were preparing for the presentation. The aim was that someone with no IT skills could have a basic discussion with their school IT staff about the type of authentication being used with their Oliver v5 system. Hopefully terms like Same Sign On, Single Sign On, SAML, LDAP and Active Directory no longer seem so foreign to those who attended the webinar.


Deliverability of Resources was the topic of the third User Group of the year. We looked at various methods of using Oliver v5 to deliver information to staff and students, and how to ensure you are delivering the appropriate information.

We discussed the difference between a hard push and soft push of information. Some methods involved pushing information via emails and alerts, whereas other methods were more subtle and involved making quality information available for the students and staff to find. Joel Loveridge (Australian team) and Rhonda Poacher (UK team) assisted me with delivering the content.


We finished the year by looking at Useful Parameters in Oliver v5. Oliver v5 is an extremely flexible product with thousands of parameters that enable you to customise functionality to suit your specific needs. In this webinar, we focused on some of the most useful, including:

  • Controlling the size of prediction lists
  • Setting up circulation desk and stocktake sounds
  • Controlling the number of search results visible
  • Customising loans and returns tab colours
  • Enabling functionality like Google Books, Resource Reviews, and Analytical Reporting

Do you need a refresher?

If you missed any of the webinars, you can access all of the recordings by logging in to the Oliver v5 Community Portal.

Click on Learn -> Webinar recordings and find the appropriate recording. Webinar recordings are always available within a week of the live presentation.

If you are an Oliver v5 user and have not yet registered for the portal, you can email communityportalrego@softlinkint.com to get your registration process started.

What to expect from the 2019 webinar program

In 2019, Oliver v5 users can look forward to a new series of webinars designed to help you make the most of your system. Delivered quarterly, these Customer Community Showcase webinars will include community news and ‘how-to’ overviews of new and popular features, together with tips & tricks for streamlining workflows in your school library.

To see the topics and dates for these webinars and register (to attend and/or to receive a link to the webinar recording by email), visit the Events page of the Softlink Education website.

More opportunities to connect with the Oliver v5 community

In addition to regular webinars, Softlink Education also offers a variety of other events for Oliver v5 users throughout the year.

Those in the APAC region* are invited to join us in Sydney on Friday 17 May for the 2019 Oliver v5 User Conference: Community & Diversity. This full-day professional development event is a wonderful opportunity to meet the Softlink Education team, connect with other members of our user community, and learn from other school library professionals. Tickets to last year’s conference sold out quickly so we encourage you to book your place now to avoid disappointment.

As always, please don’t hesitate to email Customer Community Manager Susan Gan if you have any questions or feedback.

*Although the conference is held in Australia, Oliver v5 users from other regions are of course welcome to attend.