» FAQs » RECORDLINK
 
Getting Started

Before installation

» What does it do?
» What are the benefits?
» What support can I expect?
» What problems can I expect?
» What are the system requirements?
» What are the security considerations?
» How much storage space will I need?
» How reliable is the software?
» How do I purchase and install RECORDLINK products?
» What about Trusted Logon?

Workflows

» How should we reorganise our workflows to
   achieve the maximum benefits of RECORDLINK?

In use

» How does RECORDLINKwriter open documents, are they
   copied to my PC?

» What permissions do I have?
» I can't see the RECORDLINK toolbar, where is it?
» How do I open a file from SIMS?
» How do I save a changed file or document to SIMS?
» The “Save to SIMS” command is not enabled, why?
» How do I save a new file to SIMS?
» How do I create a database entry such as an Achievement,
   Exclusion or Medical condition?

» I want to save the same document to several student
   records. How do I choose the students?

» How do I create multiple database entries?
» Remember me doesn’t always remember me, why not?
» How do I handle PDFs?
» How do I upgrade RECORDLINKwriter?

 

Before installation


 Q What does it do?
 A RECORDLINKwriter appears as a three button toolbar on MS Outlook, Excel and Word with three buttons reading “Open from SIMS”, “Save to SIMS”, and “Save to SIMS As”. Using the “Save to SIMS As” button in RECORDLINKwriter saves the file you are working on direct to the SIMS document server and links it to the chosen student record to give the same result as logging in to SIMS, browsing to a student record, adding a linked document and browsing back to a document that is to be attached. The end user can save the same document to one or multiple student records including year and tutor groups, academic classes and user defined groups. If the database entry such as the particular Achievement or Medical Condition is not present in the student record the user can create it for one student or a list of students. Using “Open from SIMS” the user can browse the Student record according to their permissions and open documents. Changes to documents already in SIMS are saved using “Save to SIMS”.

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 Q What are the benefits?
 A
  • Incoming correspondence such as emails from parents and members of staff can now be stored directly into SIMS in the native format against the chosen student record as a linked document. When opened from RECORDLINK saved emails for example will automatically reopen in Outlook, complete with the audit trail (From, To, etc.) and any attachments. Likewise Word documents will open in MS Word.
  • Outgoing documents such as letters to students can be saved to the student record rather than printed and filed in hard copy. As SIMS is backed up what was previously held as vulnerable hard copy is added to the Disaster Recovery Archive.
  • Electronic documents in the student record can be distributed electronically rather than in hard copy saving both time and money and adding an audit trail.
  • Key student information is centralised for easy retrieval in the student area of SIMS rather than dispersed in various filing locations. Time spent retrieving archived documentation will therefore be considerably reduced.
  • Administration costs will be reduced as rather than being filed manually each document can be added to many student records simultaneously.
  • Paper use will decline, particularly useful for schools applying for Eco School awards.

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 Q What support can I expect?
 A Resellers provide end user support that is explained in the purchase process. We provide second level support to resellers. To be contacted by a reseller please go to How do I purchase and install RECORDLINK products? In addition FAQs are updated here as necessary. The discussion board allows for users to discuss further hints, tips and more importantly how to deploy RECORDLINK most effectively.

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 Q What problems can I expect?
 A
  • For end users the most important consideration is to remember to use RECORDLINKwriter when saving and opening files to and from SIMS rather than the native Open, Save and Save As options in the Microsoft application.
  • We have found no technical issues arising from RECORDLINK, however the SIMS .ini file is sometimes incorrectly located and once this has been corrected most installations are straightforward. As long as you use Add and Remove Programs to remove old versions before updating you should not have problems during updates.
  • Our experience is that the business of changing working processes to incorporate less hard copy is somewhat more complicated than the technical considerations, which are relatively minor. The experts on this issue are the end users and for this reason we have launched a discussion board to enable users to learn from each other. Please feel free to comment on this forum.

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 Q What are the system requirements?
 A You will require the following system elements before installing RECORDLINKwriter:

  • SIMS November 2007 Release or newer. 
  • Microsoft Office 2010, 2007 or 2003 (complete install). IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are running MS Office 2003 you will need to install the Microsoft patch KB907417 which is missing from SP3 despite being listed. Click here for a link to download.
  • Microsoft .Net Framework 2. Click here for a link to download.
  • SIMS workstation components
  • 32 bit Windows operating system
Please note that support may be limited to the latest release of RECORDLINK and you are advised to keep up to date with releases. Changes in SIMS may require you to install a new release of RECORDLINK.

 Q What are the security considerations?
 A Users log in to the RECORDLINK wizard with their SIMS permissions using Trusted Logon if required. Workstation security is therefore as per SIMS. Documents are securely saved to the SIMS document server according to the permissions of the user and are therefore password protected and digitally secure. Electronic documents are generally perceived as more secure than hard copy documents.

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 Q How much storage space will I need?
 A
  • There is no fixed answer. It depends on the size of school and the number of processes that you choose to treat digitally rather than in hard copy. In very rough terms 80GB of storage costs less than a three drawer filing cabinet and will store approx. 750,000 A4 pages of text and graphics depending on the mix and resolution. How a school chooses to use this is highly variable but it is fair to suggest that as you use your network more you will need to invest in its resource. Please feel free to poll other end users via the discussion board.
  • If one file is saved to multiple student records the file will be replicated, one for each student. Storage and network traffic will reflect this.

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 Q How reliable is the software?
 A The core elements of RECORDLINKwriter have been operating without any functional or warranty issues since August 2006 in the SIMS Connectors for eCopy. The wrapper for MS Office products has been in use since January 2008, again with no issues arising. The technical resource for RECORDLINKwriter is provided by Cyclone Industries, a Capita Technical Partner since 2005. Both Cyclone Industries and Connector Lab work closely with schools and Capita to ensure the stability and increasing utility of the software.

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 Q How do I purchase and install RECORDLINK products?
 A You can purchase annual unlimited seat site licences direct from us or from our resellers. If you would like to be contacted to discuss your requirements please click here. Once you have purchased a Product Key, from the Download tab download the licence manager and install on the SIMS server. Download the latest version of RECORDLINK and install on your choice of end user terminals either individually or using group policy.

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 Q What about Trusted Logon?
 A In the August 2007 Release of SIMS Trusted Logon was introduced as a new method for authentication. RecordLink uses this same logon method. 

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Workflows


 Q How should we reorganise our workflows to achieve the maximum benefits of RECORDLINK?
 A Every school is different and there are innumerable different ways of performing even common administrative tasks. The benefits of simple archiving and retrieval with RECORDLINK are fairly obvious however even so you may well need to rethink some of your workflows. Please use the Forum "Workflows" to poll other users and share your experiences. We hope to use real world examples to share new thinking and stop the wheel being re-invented too often. As common themes emerge they will be posted here and shared with all registered users.

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In use


 Q How does RECORDLINKwriter open documents, are they copied to my PC?
 A RECORDLINKwriter works with documents on the SIMS Document Management Server and does not open them locally. Therefore if you browse to a document using SIMS and open the document locally (using ‘View’ rather than ‘Open’) RECORDLINKwriter will not recognise the link with SIMS and ‘Save to SIMS’ will not be enabled for any changes to that document. Use RECORDLINKwriter to open the documents. This will remove the need to upload any documents at a later date.

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 Q What permissions do I have?
 A RECORDLINK uses the same permissions as SIMS to manage end user access.

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 Q I can’t see the RECORDLINK toolbar, where is it?
 A View the RECORDLINK toolbar by selecting View>Toolbars>RECORDLINKwriter in Microsoft 2003 products and select “Add-Ins” on the top menu bar in 2010 and 2007 products before selecting the RECORDLINK item.

If the toolbars are not visible in this location when using Office 2003 then refer to your network manager. It is likely that .Net program support has not been installed. Advice is located in the forum here.

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 Q How do I open a file from SIMS?
 A From any MS Office application supported by RECORDLINK, select “Open from SIMS” and log-in as prompted, selecting “Remember Me” if required for seamless future use. You can then browse the focus areas of SIMS according to your permissions and open documents from the Student, Staff, Contact, Agent, or Pre-Admissions areas. In the student focus area you can browse the student record according to Achievement, Medical Event etc. Once a student has been selected you will see a photograph of the student if available.

IMPORTANT: If you open SIMS and browse to a document and then open the document with the Open option in SIMS then RECORDLINKwriter will not recognise the SIMS link to the document you have opened. Save to SIMS will not be enabled. For full RECORDLINKwriter functionality open the document using RECORDLINKwriter.

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 Q How do I save a changed file or document to SIMS?
 A The "Save to SIMS" option is enabled when a document has been opened from SIMS or saved during the current session. Clicking on "Save to SIMS" and following the prompts will save further changes to SIMS. If you do not alter the Notes and Summmary fields and have adequate permissions you may overwrite the previous version. You will be prompted in this case. If you do not wish to overwrite the original alter the Notes field or save the file in a different location using "Save to SIMS As".

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 Q The “Save to SIMS” command is not enabled, why?
 A “Save to SIMS” provides a rapid save of the current version back to the same location and allows an overwrite of the previous version if required and if permissions allow. The “Save to SIMS” command is therefore only enabled when the current file has live links to SIMS. RECORDLINK therefore requires that the current document either be opened from SIMS using RECORDLINK or saved with “Save to SIMS As” before “Save to SIMS” is available to use.

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 Q How do I save a new file to SIMS?
 A “Save to SIMS As” is where the major functions of RECORDLINKwriter lie. Much of the workflow mirrors that of linking a document in SIMS so many elements, such as searching for a student, mirror the commands in SIMS.

On the RECORDLINKwriter toolbar click “Save to SIMS As” and follow the prompts. Once a student has been selected the user can then browse to the correct area of the student record. Select the sub-area of General, Medical Notes etc and hit “Next”. In General and Medical Notes you will then be taken to the final screen and be prompted to chose the document type, given an option of “Read Only”, and asked to add Notes and optionally, Summary information. In other sub-areas where the data is organised as database entries such as Medical Conditions, you will find another layer of navigation. You will be asked to select the relevant entry before proceeding to the final screen.

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 Q How do I create a database entry such as an Achievement, Exclusion or Medical condition?
 A Follow the instructions for How do I save a new file to SIMS? until you arrive at “Select Student Sub-Area” then select the Sub-Area you require. At this point you will have the option to create a new entry if the required entry is absent (such entries are not used in General and Medical Notes). Hit “Create” and fill in the required fields as in SIMS. Having created a new entry and been returned to the list of all entries for that student you can again create further entries or select an entry and proceed to the final save screen. To create an entry for multiple students see How do I create multiple database entries?

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 Q I want to save the same document to several student records. How do I choose the students?
 A Using “Save to SIMS As”, you can choose to save to multiple student records and the first process is compile the list of students. Follow the prompts to the “Select student” screen and use predefined lists under “Advanced” or create your own bespoke list using “Search”.

1. To browse lists of Academic Classes or User Defined Groups select “Advanced” and pick the appropriate group and “OK”, then use “Select All” to add the names to the Multi Pick list. You can edit the returned list by selecting “View” under “Multi Pick”.

2. Instead of using predefined lists you can also create a bespoke list. Search by surname, year group etc using the text boxes and drop down lists before hitting “Search”. To add multiple students to your Multi Pick list, select the students and hit “Add”. You may then conduct a new search, e.g. by a different year group, and add some or all of the students to the Multi Pick List. You can edit this list at any time using “View”.

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 Q How do I create multiple database entries?
 A First compile the list of multiple students (see I want to save the same document to several student records. How do I choose the students?), then follow the prompts to choose the Student Sub-Area. In General and Medical Notes you will be taken directly to the final save screen as database entries are not used in these areas.

In all other areas except SEN you should first choose or create a database entry against which the file will be saved. SEN is handled on a per student basis so creation of multiple entries is not available although you can still create a new database entry for single Student Records.

RECORDLINKwriter caters for the situation where you may know that the correct database entry exists for at least one student. If you know this to be the case select the first student and pick the known database entry (e.g. a Medical Condition or Exclusion). Otherwise browse the list by picking other students and checking the entries. At any time you can proceed and select an existing entry for the first student or hit “Create” and fill in the required fields as in SIMS. Having created an entry and been returned to the list of entries for that student you can create further entries or select an entry and proceed to the next student. The chosen entry, whether selected or created is copied and the copy is temporarily saved.

For subsequent students you can then use the “Auto-Create” option and “Next” to copy the saved database entry to the new student and proceed to the next student. Alternatively, to create a different entry use “Create” once again and fill in the fields as required. NB you can create several entries for each student before choosing one and proceeding with “Next”.

You can then process the list, student by student, selecting or creating entries as required. To process all remaining students in Achievement and Behaviour select “Apply to All” to save the document and create the required database entry in SIMS and apply it to every student in the list at one click of the mouse. It is not practical to use “Apply to All” for Exclusions, Medical Conditions and Medical Events due to the frequent occurrence of overlapping or incompatible entries. You can still use “Auto-Create” and should apply this to each student in turn by selecting “Next”.

To skip a student, select “Skip Student”. To skip all remaining students and go straight to the final screen select “Skip Student” and “Apply to All Students”.

This may all seem rather complicated, in reality each step takes seconds. So should you need to send a letter to thirty Contacts informing them that their child has been made a prefect, you can save the template letter direct from MS Word via RECORDLINKwriter and create the Achievement of Prefect in SIMS simultaneously for all thirty student records. We estimate this to be a saving of approximately three minutes per student for each multiple save.

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 Q Remember me doesn’t always remember me, why not?
 A Remember me is configured to retain your log-on details for any single session of MS Office. As long as you have at least one Office application running Remember me will remain current. This configuration balances ease of access for the user with workstation security.

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 Q How do I handle PDFs?
 A PDF handling is a growing means of working with incoming documentation by scanning the original and handling the scan on the network as a PDF. Under certain conditions a non-compressed scan is perceived legally as an original. For more information search on BIP 0008-2:2005. Whilst Adobe Acrobat Reader is free of charge, to mark up invoices for payment or annotate scanned coursework without altering the original we recommend eCopy PaperWorks from Nuance. This gives users easy to use mark-up capability without resorting to the more expensive and generally over complicated Adobe Acrobat Pro. For example, merging several original documents into one to forward to a Local Authority to notify of an exclusion is a straightforward drag and drop operation. Text such as student names can be blacked out easily and the final electronic document can be emailed to the LA. This replaces the common practice of photocopying originals, using Tippex or markers to obscure unwanted text, photocopying the altered documents and sending the final hard copy to the LA. We also provide identical connectivity between SIMS and eCopy PaperWorks with the RECORDLINK4PaperWorks. For more information on eCopy PaperWorks go to www.nuance.com or to be contacted by an eCopy reseller click here.

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 Q How do I upgrade RECORDLINKwriter?
 A RECORDLINKwriter and the licence server are upgraded in parallel with changes to SIMS. We also release new versions from time to time to enhance the functionality. When updated versions are released our registered users receive an email and we post on the website. To date we have not needed to update the licence manager that runs on the SIMS server. RECORDLINKwriter is upgraded on average every six to twelve months. If the new version includes an element that has been required to be upgraded in line with changes to SIMS then you will need to uninstall RECORDLINKwriter from the end user terminals and replace with the up to date version at the same time as the SIMS upgrade. You can do this individually or via group policy. At any time you can download the latest version and install free of charge. If the updated version only includes functional enhancement then you may choose to upgrade or not. There is no charge for upgrades during your annual subscription.

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