The next meeting of the Oxford University Colleges’ ICT
Committee will be held on Tuesday 27th January 2009 at 14.15 hours at The Isis
Lecture Room, OUCS,
A G E N D A
Colleges’ ICT Committee Meeting
1. Apologies for absence
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 21st October 2008
3. Matters Arising
7. Report from other committees and groups
7.1 ICT Forum - http://www.ict.ox.ac.uk/oxford/groups/ict_forum
7.2 Software Licensing Group - http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/sls/newsletters/newsh2009.xml
8. Items raised by representatives
8.1 Discussion of a formal
request for a replacement to the JInitiator software
required to access the
9. Any Other Business
10. Date of Next
Meeting: Tuesday 28th April 2009 at 2.15pm, at The Isis Lecture
Items (1)-(3) are for report from the meeting of the PRAC ICT Sub-Committee held on the 17th November 2008.
1) Core User Directory
Mike Fraser reported that OUCS is working with consultants to determine procedures to reconcile disparate sources of data (where the information held about one individual may not be consistent across different databases). He also reported that the implementation phase of the Core User Directory will need to be rescheduled, but should still be completed by the end of March 2009. The intention is to work in partnership with the Groupware project towards the development of a directory system that employs a unique identifier.
2) Conditions of Use and Security of Information policy documents
PICT decided that these two documents were in a satisfactory state to be circulated to units across the collegiate University, having been presented to the Colleges' ICT Committee and also the Conference of Colleges Steering Committee. Whilst the development of such policy documents was welcomed, members discussed at length how these should be implemented. Smaller departments and colleges in particular would require assistance to implement them. On the other hand, some departments were already providing support in this area and would be reluctant to pay an additional charge to support other departments and colleges where such support was not currently provided. It was agreed that requiring units to address the policy issues in the two documents without adequate support would not be appropriate. The documents would be circulated widely together with a self-assessment questionnaire. The returns from this exercise will then be used to scope the level of central support which would be needed before the documents are circulated as policy. In conclusion, it was agreed to approve the documents and to circulate them with the associated self-assessment questionnaires. The responses from units will then be analysed by OUCS.
3) Digital repository and coordination of research data
Two workshops have been held on this theme - further information is available at http://www.ict.ox.ac.uk/odit/projects/digitalrepository/. The University is moving towards providing the first pilot service for holding research data and is working closely with the UK Research Data Service team, which is studying the feasibility of offering a national service.
1 Weblearn Beta Tutorial Booking Tool
WebLearn Beta (the up-coming
replacement for the current weblearn service) now
contains a tool to allow a 'Tutor' to set up one or more 'tutorial sessions'
and then invite 'students' to sign up for a particular session.
The Sign-up Tool allows you to create three different types of events/meetings. The types are defined as follows:
. Multiple Slots: The meeting is segmented into multiple time slots. The participant is required to sign up.
. Single Slot: There is a single time slot for an event/meeting; the number of participants can be limited or unlimited and the participant is required to sign up.
. Announcement: There is a single time slot for an event/meeting and sign-up is not required for participants.
We're looking for interested parties to try out this tool so
we can evaluate its suitability for deployment here at
(At the moment the tool is 'stealthed' meaning it is only available if one of the central team adds it to a WebLearn Beta site.)
2 Groupware Update
Advance notice - The next Groupware presentation on progress to date will be on 27th January at 12:45 at OUCS. Book at https://register.oucs.ox.ac.uk/itss_booking
This newsletter is to keep you updated with activity in the Groupware Project up until mid-December. The project aims to provide a University-wide integrated system for email, calendaring and document sharing using Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint.
We are currently gathering information to assist us in scoping requirements for moving users from various disparate systems around the university. This does not commit you to migrating, but will allow us to group similar systems when we look at required tools. Please check your details at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/groupware/docs/oxfordemailservices.xml
We are pleased to report that Srilak Wickramaratne has now joined the team as Systems Administrator. We are also hopeful that we may soon have a Senior Systems Administrator to work with Srilak.
The Project Specification Document, to identify the boundaries of the service to be provided by March 2010, is awaiting ratification by the Project Board. Once this is agreed it will be published on the OUCS website.
Hardware - An early draft of the design document has been finalised, allowing us to place an order for the storage and networking infrastructure. This will enable us to have data replicated across two data centres: thus making the service that much more resilient to a site failure. An invitation to tender for the remaining hardware was issued last week for return in early January. We hope to take delivery of the kit by the end of January.
Architectural design - The architectural design document has been sent to Microsoft for comment. Work is progressing to establish requirements for integration of our user registration service with the new service, and for integration with the University's single sign-on infrastructure.
Work is also continuing to ensure that best value for money and availability of service is provided under the licensing offered from Microsoft, and a group will be specifically addressing these issues. Another work group is to be established to look into migration and archiving issues.
3 Podcasting courses
The LTG are running courses on Podcasting again this term, ranging from the introductory Podcasting:Questions and Answers session to the more hands on and in depth session Podcasting for Education.
Learn about what is Podcasting and how you can Podcast in Oxford from the OUCS Podcasting team, with lots of opportunity for your own questions in the Podcasting: Q&A sessions – Tuesday 20th Jan 12:30-1:30 (reduced duration) or Monday 26th Jan 15:30-17:00 – Book your free place
via http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/itlp/courses/detail/TIMV. More of these sessions will be repeated throughout the term.
Get a more in depth and practical experience of Podcasting
for Education in our three hour workshop session, where you will be able to
work through all the steps required to produce and publish your own podcasts
and get them into
17:00 – Book your free place via http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/itlp/courses/detail/TIMT
4 OUCS Vending Machine for IT Consumables
The Help Centre vending machine is temporarily out of service because Discount Computer Supplies Ltd (DCS), the private company responsible for maintaining the machine, are in administration and have ceased trading. We hope that the business can be transferred to another operator in the new year, but this is out of our control. We apologise for this lack of service and hope that whatever happens to the DCS business we are able to restore service as soon as possible.
The situation changes quite rapidly (last week, for example, it looked as if another company was interested in taking over the business and honouring at least some of DCS commitments) and that's why OUCS hasn't made any firm announcements anywhere other than the warning message on our website and on the machine itself.
Please pass on our apologies to any of your users who have made a fruitless journey to OUCS as a result of this.
5 OxCERT Monthly Reports
The OxCERT reports are available at
7 Weblearn Beta Upgraded
A new version of WebLearn Beta (2.5-ox2.2) has been released. This release contains the following improvements:
4) A forgotten password link (for external users) now on front page
5) Child sites are now ordered alphabetically (instead of randomly).
6) Removal of middle initial(s) from names
7) Faster performance of Site Info.
8) Fixed 'missing key' bug on Resources 'Edit Details' page.
9) Fixed a variety of hierarchy related bugs
10) Non-primary email addresses can now be used to add site participants
11) Improved error reporting when logging in
12) Fixed problems with rendering on Safari
8 No More Faxed Orders
The OUCS On-line Shop is now no longer accepting faxed orders for software. All orders must be placed using the On-line Shop at http://www.oxforduniversityshops.co.uk/oucs/ in order to ensure accuracy. Procedures are in place for ordering via Oracle Financials or College purchase orders and instructions can be found at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/shop/ordering.xml.
9 Long For Addresses Switched Off
Email addresses of the form .oxford.ac.uk now no longer work. Ensure all addresses of this form are removed from your address books as they will now fail.
10 Access to OXAM
You can now access OXAM past exam papers when not in
SOLO’s introduction in Michaelmas 2008 went smoothly. Judging from the extensive feedback, it has been well received as a more modern and intuitive interface than the OLIS OPAC. Relevance ranking and faceted browsing have been welcomed, and especially the ability to integrate different catalogues. SOLO currently incorporates records from OLIS, OxLIP+, ORA, and our e-journal and e-book collections. In the near future we shall also be harvesting records from our Chinese catalogue (in native script) and from some of our special collections, e.g. medieval manuscripts.
Over Christmas we undertook a major software upgrade. This has provided useful enhancements but also some bugs. There are two outstanding problems that impact users of the e-Shelf facility: a) scheduled alerts are not running; b) the export function “Push to RefWorks” has stopped working. The supplier is well aware of the importance of these and we expect fixes shortly.
On 15th December, after 12 years, we finally switched off the old OxLIP interface which has now been superseded by OxLIP+. The few complaints have been about the loss of the ability to browse databases by subject. In fact, the new interface does provide for this, though it is not the default display and must be selected by the user. We ran a survey to see if people preferred this or a title search at start up. The majority chose the latter so we have stuck with this.
We are always endeavoring to integrate better the different interfaces we have to our services so as to make it easier for users to navigate between them. To this end, we shall be introducing this term a new tab within OxLIP+ for our ejournals.
The main focus
recently has been to add
Because of the
central strategic role that ORA can play for research support at
The new Project
Analyst for the BRII (
Advocacy work for
ORA continues as ever. Please contact
The current phase
of OULS’ mass digitization partnership project with Google is scheduled to conclude
this summer – by which time several hundred thousand items from our collections
will have been made accessible to the general public. Towards the end of last
year, Google were publicly claiming to have made over 1M out-of-copyright works
available, and the libraries at
Initial negotiations to extend the Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership project (EEBO-TCP, http://www.odl.ox.ac.uk/eebo/) are proceeding well, and we have every reason to be cautiously optimistic. Many of the major institutions in the US which contributed to the capital fund which underwrote EEBO-TCP Phase I (to capture a selection of 25,000 texts published in England between c.1470-1700) have responded with enthusiasm to the suggestion that they could help fund the completion of the remaining corpus – and this appears to be matched by levels of support in the UK.
funded project to develop a pilot implementation of “The Shakespeare Quartos
Archive” (http://mith.info/quartos/) is
due to finish by 31st March 2009. Our partners in this endeavour, which include the British Library, National
Library of Scotland,
"Electronic Ephemera" mass-digitization project, for which the JISC
provided nearly £1M funding is also due to complete in the early summer of
2009. Our commercial partners, ProQuest, have been
delighted by the level of interest shown in the results (which are made freely
available to institutions within the
The number of digital image collections hosted on the LUNA platform has continued to grow steadily. Recent additions include the creation of a new collection of nearly 900 high-resolution images of Greek MSS held by the Bodleian, thanks to a generous contribution from an external donor. We are working closely with staff in the rest of SERS to ensure that such collections can be easily discovered via the new search interface, SOLO (and be similarly findable by other OAI-PMH compliant applications).
We now have some Sun Ray Thin Clients available with shorter warranties (2-2.5 years as opposed to three) available for 312.50 + VAT. Being solid-state devices they should have a very low failure rate so this is a bargain. Sun Rays can be configures as OLIS-only terminals or SOLO terminals with full access to the internet.
OULS has been part of two successful bids to the Mellon foundation submitted in conjunction with the History Faculty worth over $2 million. Cultures of Knowledge is a four year multinational project, aiming to produce an online catalogue of 17th century correspondence from a broad range of sources, with an emphasis on charting the development of scientific and natural philosophical thought between the Reformation and the Enlightenment. The basic catalogue will be augmented by links to digitised copies, calendar views placing correspondence within timelines of key figures and geographical information, among others, and will act as an ongoing repository for scholarly work in the area. Mediaeval Libraries of Great Britain is a one year pilot project, aimed at producing an up to date online version of the original print work, again augmented by up-to-date research and links to additional materials where appropriate. The work recreates the content of the major Mediaeval Libraries based on evidence such as surviving catalogues and ex-libris marks in manuscripts and is a reference work for those looking at the history of ideas in the period.