The next meeting of the Oxford University Colleges IT Group will be held on Tuesday 1st May 2007 at 14.15 hours at the Evenlode Lecture Room, OUCS, 13 Banbury Road, OX2 6NN




1. Apologies for absence


2. Minutes of the meeting held on 1st February 2007


3. Matters Arising


            3.1 Minute 397 Proposed Web Managers Conference


4. Report of the Chair


5. Computing Services Report


6. Libraries Report


7. Report from other committees and groups


            7.1 IT Support Staff Group – http://www.ict.ox.ac.uk/oxford/groups/itssg/meetings/2007-02-14/minutes.html


8. Joint meeting in Michaelmas with Committee of College Librarians (and any relevant archivists)


9. Software Licensing Group – representation and feedback


10. University-wide Web Review - http://www.ict.ox.ac.uk/oxford/groups/colleges/papers/webreview.htm


11. Items raised by representatives


12. Any Other Business


13.  Date of Next Meeting:


Report of the Chair of the Colleges’ IT Group

Jo Ashbourn


Items (1)-(3) are important for report whilst the remaining items arise from the last meeting of the Information and Communications Technology Committee (ICTC) on the 1st March 2007.


1)  The Colleges' IT Group has been formally ratified as being under the umbrella of Conference of Colleges. It has now been decided by Conference that the CITG will report directly to Conference's Estates Bursars' Committee each term (rather than to the Finance and General Purposes Sub-Committee as reported previously).


2)  It has been clarified with the Conference of Colleges that Permanent Private Halls (PPHs) are part of the remit of the CITG. Hence the contact details for all the PPH IT officers have been collected and included in the CITG mailing list for information on CITG meetings and for the dissemination of IT information. The CITG constitution has also been revised to include the PPHs.


3)  As agreed at the last CITG meeting, the details of all college web managers (on the technical side) have been collated and these have now been included in the web-managers mailing lists.


4)  The ECE and ICT Support Team were reported on as follows. Service level definitions had been drafted and would hopefully be agreed at the next meeting of the ECE Project Board. A purchasing policy for hardware was in place and a policy for software would follow. Implementation of the notification server was being worked on. The Altiris Helpdesk was now live within OUCS and would be rolled out in due course to OULS and Central Admin. The team was still involved to a significant degree with inherited commitments, including the move of OULS to Exchange and the replacement of 900 PCs in Central Admin. For the future, an Apple Support Desktop Service was in preparation and a pilot service was in operation in OUCS; in due course, it was hoped that this could be rolled out to the wider University.


5)  It was reported that electronic circulation of examination papers during the preparation stage was not allowed under current regulations, although anecdotal evidence suggested that in practice it was already commonplace in some parts of the University. Following discussions with the Proctors, two software packages had been tested, both of which had been found to be secure but one was unacceptably complex to operate. OUCS are now attempting to introduce further simplifications to the other systems by assessing off-the-shelf solutions.


6)  It was reported that although the University had now subscribed to the national plagiarism-detection software, the MPLS Division had decided not to use it due to the University’s stipulation that students should be asked, but not required, to sign a declaration permitting the use of the software on  their (electronic) scripts. It was agreed to draw this to the attention of the EPSC Secretariat in the hope that the University would develop a clear policy on an issue that was known to be under consideration at a number of universities; a possible solution might be to include a reference in the student contract indicating the use of plagiarism-detection software on all submitted scripts.


Computing Services Report

Jane Littlehales

Second Life
Oxford University
has purchased an island in Second Life. A competition is being run to design the welcome area. See http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/secondlife/ and please publicise widely.

Annual Report
OUCS Annual Report 2005/06 and Five Year Plan are now available

Secure Logon to Herald
Warning messages have been sent out to individual users. ITSS can check insecure accesses for their unit at the site:

The remaining timetable for messages is:

. 1 May 2007 - Another warning message.
. 4 June 2007 - Final monthly message.
. 18 June 2007 - More dire yet!
. 21 June - not a message but big push at ITSS Conference to remind ITSS.
. 25 June 2007 - Final week warning message.
. 26-29 June 2007 - Daily message to those who have offended in the last 24 hours.
. 1 July 2007 - Final message
. 2 July 2007 - Switch off during at-risk period!

British National Corpus
New XML Edition of the British National Corpus has been released. The British National Corpus (BNC) is a 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent a wide cross-section of British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written. The latest edition, the BNC XML Edition, is a revised and enhanced version of BNC World, with many corrections, and enriched annotation. It is distributed in XML format together with pre-built indexes for use with XAIRA, an open source XML search engine. Licensing information and technical requirements are available from the BNC website.

Weblearn Upgrade
WebLearn was upgraded on the morning of 17 April and is now up and running with some new features, including: more advanced content editor for text area boxes (using FCKEditor) - this looks much more like a standard word processor; new easy document authoring too, called 'EasyWriter'; simplified resource creation - no insistence on descriptions and introductions for resources; display of keywords for resources

OUCS reps have had successful meetings this term with Kellogg College, Philosophy Faculty, Christ Church, OUCE, MPLS, Wolfson College and Humanities Division.

Tools for Teaching
OUCS ran a very successful Tools for Teaching event on 23 April. A "Breakfast at OUCS" for new staff is scheduled for 18 May. All new staff will be individually invited. A Graduate Day is being held on 19 June. OxTalent are holding their Show and Tell and announcing their competition winner at OUCS on 14th June.

50th Anniversary of Computing at Oxford
Computing at Oxford University started in 1957 so celebrates its 50th birthday this year. There will be an invitation-only formal event at OUCS on 8th June and an exhibition running in the OUCS public areas from 11th June. All former members of staff are invited to get in touch. Please contact 50years@oucs.ox.ac.uk

Printing Services
OUCS will be promoting its printing services this term since the acquisition of a new two-colour press. All kinds of printing from leaflets and invitations to books can be undertaken.

W3C's New Standard
OUCS staff have made significant contributions to the W3C's new standard for internationalised web content, the Internationalized Tag Set.

Funding to Improve Services
OUCS was successful in attracting some in-year funding from PRAC to bolster key services. First, we can continue with the planned expansion of the Herald quota. We aim to get this to 1GB before the start of the next academic year. Second, funding for the development of WebLearn is now secured up to 2010. This will allow us to continue to add features but also to work closely with Universities (such as Cambridge, MIT, and Stanford) to bring our product more in line with the large international project call SAKAI. Finally, we are able to boost the networks team by 1 FTE. As soon as this happens we will be able to offer more support to departments in their wireless and FRODO roll-outs.

Service Level Definitions
OUCS is in the process of making a complete set of service level definitions available describing all our services in detail. We very much view these as living documents and hope to sit down with divisional reps and see if they think these are the right services, if they could be modified at all, and so on.

Podcasting through OxITEMS
OxITEMS - the RSS service offered by OUCS has developed even further. It can now handle podcasts.

Plagiarism Software
OUCS is continuing discussions with the proctors on plagiarism software and encryption tools. With the former we think there will be an announcement soon about Oxford joining the national plagiarism service. With the latter we are aiming to get PGP in to run a session outlining the tools they offer that could be used by the 'average' user.

OUCS Online Shop
The next version of the online shop, which will include searching and persistent shopping basket has been promised to OUCS for early May. We shall see. It is already two months overdue. It will take some weeks from its release to being in use for the OUCS shop as, unfortunately, conversion to the new system is not automated.

OUCS is investigating if there is much use of Mark-It within Social Sciences. If you are using it could you contact Mike Fraser.

TSM Backup Clients
There is a new TSM Backup client for Intel and PPC Mac

Last ever Sophos Version 4 client released
Version 4.15 (March 2007) is the last ever version of Sophos anti-virus. The CD will no longer be available in the OUCS shop from the end of March 2007 and all users should upgrade to version 6.x clients if possible. Those unable to upgrade (Win9x, MacOS8/9 etc) are recommended to use AVG which is free for PERSONAL use only

OSSWatch is growing and blogging as a team

Report from SERS, Oxford University Library Services

David Price


OLIS - Preparation for New Library Management System

The new library management system (LMS) is scheduled to go live on Monday 3 September, 2007. Configuration and testing of the Virtua software is being carried out by members of the LMS Project Implementation team and library staff. Training for library staff will be held from Monday 18 June to Friday 24 August. Plans for ICT support for library staff and the roll-over from Geac Advance to the new Virtua LMS are being discussed in relation to the forthcoming ICT Support Team/OULS Service Level Definition. Many libraries have now successfully downloaded the test client software from the LMS website so we do not anticipate issues in this area. Members of the OLIS team are coordinating the distribution of notices, self-issue systems and circulation back-up and they will be providing more information in due course.

For more information see the LMS website http://www.ouls.ox.ac.uk/lms or email lms@ouls.ox.ac.uk


Oxford Research Archive (ORA) Digital Repository

Oxford Research Archive (http://ora.ouls.ox.ac.uk) is now live and accepting ePrints. The technical development has included work on content models and the implementation of WebAuth for authentication. There is also a means of gathering usage statistics. The ORA team is very pleased that progress with digital copies of Oxford research theses has been moving rapidly with those groups involved across the University. We have incorporated metadata for electronic theses and dissertations (ETD) to international standards and now have our first thesis deposited and made available by ORA. There will be further developments with theses over the coming months as this is a key role of this repository. A recommendation that the student deposit a digital copy of their research thesis as a requirement for award of research degree is being put before EPSC during the week beginning April 30th. The procedure for this requirement is being developed in consultation with the Examinations Schools. When setting up a digital repository service, advocacy and cultural change are the most difficult aspects to resolve: the technical solutions are in some ways the easy part.