The next meeting of the Oxford University Colleges’ ICT Committee will be held on Tuesday 20th October 2009 at 14.15 hours at The Isis Lecture Room, OUCS, 13 Banbury Road, OX2 6NN.
A G E N D A
Colleges’ ICT Committee Meeting
1. Apologies for absence
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 28th April 2009
3. Matters Arising
5. Computing Services Report – Report available at OUCSNews-M09.html
7. Report from other committees and groups
7.1 ICT Forum - Report
7.2 Software Licensing Group – No report submitted
8. Items raised by representatives
9. Any Other Business
10. Date of Next Meeting: Tuesday 26th January 2010 at 14.15pm (venue to be confirmed).
Items (1) - (3) are for report from the meeting of the PRAC ICT Sub-Committee held on the 1st June 2009.
1) Contribution of IT towards University cost savings and energy efficiency
A report was given on a JISC-funded project which over the past eighteen months had been looking at energy efficiency in relation to IT. The cost of running all of the University’s computers 24 hours a day would be £1.7 million per annum; if 50% were switched off overnight, at weekends and over holiday periods, the saving would be about £690,000 per annum. Many users have valid reasons for leaving their computers switched on (e.g. automatic backups, software updates, ability to access remotely etc.) and if computers could be woken up when required, then many more users would be free to switch them off when the computer was no longer needed. The cost of introducing a University-wide Wake-on-LAN system would be £32,000 in the first year and £8000 per annum thereafter. The system would allow computers to be turned on remotely - local monitoring systems would allow the level of IT usage to be checked 24 hours a day, which would help to encourage users to do their part to save energy . Such a system would also help the University to meet its carbon reduction target. In conclusion, it was therefore agreed to ask PRAC to fund the Wake-on-LAN system and furthermore, it was agreed that if the £32,000 were not to be available from PRAC it should be taken from the ICT Project Development Envelope. Other ways of using IT to promote financial and energy efficiency are also under active consideration and will be reported on at a later date.
2) Policy on handling illegal material
The University Policy on Handling Illegal Material had been circulated with the Agenda and was based on national guidelines which sought to clarify responsibilities and procedures to enable IT staff to know the correct procedures when illegal material was suspected to be held by a user. Necessary dispensations were available for academics working in relevant disciplines. Whilst there were natural concerns that the University should monitor activity on its networks, the strong advice nationally was that such monitoring was inadvisable. It was reported that the University currently has no insurance cover for misuse of the internet, although this matter is under review.
3) Report from the Groupware Project Development Board
The Board is currently focusing on SharePoint, including the management of expectations as the Nexus service is introduced. The initial roll-out of SharePoint will be intentionally restricted and will be used to plan a more comprehensive roll-out in a subsequent phase.
Most users now reach OLIS via SOLO and the opportunity has been taken to recode OLIS records originating from the Bodleian Pre-1920 catalogue which had inhouse notation for (ancient) Greek and Cyrillic text into Unicode so that together with RCLP project records which already have embedded Arabic or Persian text in Unicode all these vernacular scripts display correctly in SOLO. There are indexing problems and, in the case of Greek, textual errors introduced over two decades (which will be addressed at the earliest opportunity) but the multiscript capabilities of SOLO have been welcomed by users.
In addition the Chinese and Japanese records from the Allegro database have been loaded to SOLO so that Far Eastern script material joins the non-Roman alphabetic records in the resource discovery ambit.
Staff of the OLIS Section are now fully engaged in major OULS projects. The procurement of a new library system to replace Geac/Infor Advance, now much overdue, has sent key members of the team abroad to see candidate systems in action : the specification and the tendering process has resulted in selection of the Aleph system from ExLibris and the implementation planning is being finalised. The procurement of a management system for the Book Storage Facility being built in Swindon – one that needs to interface with both the present and the future library management systems – is fully engaging members of the OLIS Team.
Much of the current work for ORA is closely coupled with the developments as part of the JISC-funded BRII (Building the Research Information Infrastructure ) project (see http://brii.ouls.ox.ac.uk/). As part of this project a new site has been set up for storing details of vocabularies used for the project and for vocabularies developed and/or used at Oxford as part of other projects (for example, Dr David Shotton’s projects). We have been granted permission to use a top-level domain for the site at http://vocab.ox.ac.uk. The only vocabulary held at this site at present, Academic Research Project Funding Ontology (ARPFO) has been developed as part of the BRII project.
Planning and user testing has begun on the interface and functionality for the ‘Blue Pages’ (directory of researchers and research activity at Oxford), one of the outputs of the BRII project. Data comprising Oxford University organisational units has been obtained and is being cleaned and processed for inclusion in the BRII data store and as the first data source for this project. We have been granted permission to use data describing Oxford research projects funded by Cancer Research UK.
We are collaborating in a series of workshops with Bristol University who are working on a closely related project, called ResearchRevealed. So far the focus has been on use of vocabularies and ontologies using semantic web technologies.
We have recently completed the implementation of a devolved repository for the Social Sciences as part of the EU-funded Nereus/NEEO project where the Social Sciences library is leading the Oxford participation. An ePrints repository has been installed and configured. It will be used for deposit and for managing the content – there is no end-user interface planned at this stage. This will form a model for other groups that require a repository where they retain control of deposit and local settings for example, for items not eligible to be held in ORA.
We are taking part in the EIDCSR project led by Prof Paul Jeffreys and have been participating in discussions with Prof Jeffreys and his team and representatives of the UKRDS (UK Research Data Service) project on research data management at Oxford.
Ben O’Steen (ORA Software Developer) has undertaken some work with Symplectic, Oxford’s selected software to be used for managing the future REF. His work enables authors to attach full text files to metadata and deposit both these items in ORA. Ben is also working with the JISC funded OA Repository Junction project which is developing a broker to deposit articles in multiple repositories. This project is in collaboration with Nature Publishing Group and should result in a pilot set of Oxford authored Nature articles being deposited in ORA.
One other area of collaboration is with Prof David Robey for his work with the e-humanities. The BRII project will be providing the back-end for a database for research activity data (people and projects) for the humanities.
The ORA search interface has recently been upgraded to include context sensitive search results (so the user can see where terms appear in the record) and the ability to download results in CSV and JSON formats.
The first phase of OULS' collaboration with Google completed scanning over the summer months, and wherever possible project staff were redeployed into other areas of work. There has been considerable interest from researchers within the University who are keen to work with the data that has been created, but before these ideas can be explored it will be essential to ingest a complete copy of the data into our local DAMS.
Production work on the JISC-funded "Electronic Ephemera" mass digitization project completed at the end of September. Image data will continue to be received from our project partners (ProQuest), and ingested into the DAMS, with the first full release of the collection (comprising c.180,000 high quality images of around 65,000 items selected from the John Johnson Collection) scheduled for early in 2010.
Colleagues at MITH, one of our collaborators in the joint JISC-NEH funded "Shakespeare Quartos Archive" pilot project were extremely busy over the summer, building the web-based application to provide rich and deep scholarly access to the high resolution images and meticulous text transcriptions assembled during the first twelve months of the project. Technical development has proved more challenging that staff at MITH had originally envisaged, and an alpha version of the site was made available for testing and comment in September. Although it had not been our intention, details of the site were circulated locally via the ITSS-discuss list, and this generated some very useful feedback from Oxford colleagues, which has been fed-back to the developers at MITH. At the time of writing, we anticipate that a much-improved beta version of the website will be opened up to all the project partners and collaborators to gather their reactions later in October, with a view to an initial public launch later in the year.
In late August, JISC funding for a one-year project (starting 1st October) was confirmed. "Mapping Crime" will build on some of the outputs of previous work to digitize from the 'Crimes, Murders, and Executions' section of the John Johnson Collection, by enhancing the catalogue records and providing quality-assured links from our broadsides, to similar and/or related resources that are available elsewhere (e.g. Old Bailey Online, and the crime broadside collections digitized at Harvard).
The ODL will also be providing detailed technical support and guidance for the metadata creation aspects of the "Oxford & Cambridge Online Islamic Manuscript Catalogue" Project, a JISC/HEFCE-funded 18-month endeavour involving a partnership between the libraries of both Universities. We anticipate that by enhancing the TEI-conformant ENRICH metadata schema, it will be possible for the project to produce descriptions of the partner institutions' holdings of c.10,000 Islamic MSS, which can be exposed via a unified catalogue
The DAMS provides a basic digital storage, preservation and discovery platform that provides the infrastructure behind services such as ORA. A number of other projects are now making use of the DAMS platform:
· Cultures of Knowledge (http://www.history.ox.ac.uk/cofk) is a project led by the History Faculty to produce an online "Intellectual Geography of the Seventeenth Century Republic of Letters" combining catalogues of materials, digitised versions and transcripts, calendars and biographical notes in an online resource that is expected to continue to develop over time.
· Medieval Libraries of Great Britain (http://www.history.ox.ac.uk/research/projects/MLGB3.htm) is another Mellon-funded project with the History Faculty aimed as producing the third edition of the titular reference work in online form, again with the intention to expand and develop the scope of the work.
· Blockbooks (http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/csb/blockbooks.html) will be made available both with a Luna interface that favours a more visual style of presentation and via the DAMS which will provide a more structured presentation including metadata and transcripts .
· Forced Migration Online (http://www.forcedmigration.org) has a externally-developed online library which links to digital materials held in the DAMS.
We still have some Sun Ray Thin Clients available with shorter warranties (2 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 configured as OLIS-only terminals or SOLO terminals with full access to the internet.
1. The ICTF conference in July went extremely well and the feedback from delegates was that it was one of the best so far. Numbers attending the conference have been steadily increasing for the last 5 years and this year was our biggest attendance yet. The down side of this fantastic growth is that we have actually got too big for the venue and as such we will be making changes this year. The date and details of the 2010 Conference event will be announced shortly.
2. The December Exhibition is on again at the end of term in the Exam Schools. This is an excellent opportunity for seeking out new suppliers or catching up with old ones. The date and times will be announced nearer to the time.
3. 9th Week will be the next meeting of the ICTF and we are hoping to have a good speaker to attend to make the meeting more interesting and topical. Times and venues will be announced nearer the time.
4. The SIGs and Advisory Groups are still going strong and all are encouraged to join in with groups that are of interest.
5. Ideas for future development and enhancement of IT in and around the University are always welcome. Just let any member of the ICTF steering Committee know your ideas. Details of members can be found on http://www.ictf.ox.ac.uk/.