A joint meeting of the Colleges' IT Group and University IT Users' Group was held on Tuesday 17th October 2000. Robert Taylor, the Colleges' IT Group Chairman, chaired the meeting and the following people attended the meeting:
|Robert Taylor||The Queen's College|
|(Chairman Colleges' IT Group)|
|John Jenkins||Oxford University Computing Services|
|(Chairman IT Users' Group)|
|Ian Plummer||Balliol College|
|Benjamin Earl||Blackfriar's College|
|Michael Stevens||Cairn's Library|
|Clive Dalzell||Career's Service|
|Tony Norman||Career's Service|
|Terry Campton||Clinical School|
|Jonathan Burt||Continuing Education/Kellogg College|
|Tony Brett||Corpus Christi College|
|Ian Kennedy||Diabetes Trials Unit|
|Tim Claridge||Dyson Perrin's|
|Keith Refson||Earth Sciences|
|Peter Robinson||Educational Technology Resources Centre|
|Jonathan Marks||Exeter College|
|Geoffrey Dengate||Griffith University (Director of IT) - Visitor|
|Greg Jennings||Hertford College|
|Stephen Cameron||Keble College|
|Steve Kersley||Keble College|
|Ben Bridle||Lady Margaret Hall|
|Nicolas Leger||Lady Margaret Hall|
|Robert Vanderplank||Language Centre|
|Mike White||Lincoln College|
|Hugh Rice||Literae Humaniores|
|John Veness||Magdalen College|
|David Wiggins||Metabolic Research Laboratory|
|Eric Rauchway||Modern History Faculty|
|Roger Shilcock||Modern Languages Faculty Library|
|Richard Bryan||Molecular Biophysics|
|James Dore||New College|
|Simon Thomson||Pembroke College|
|Kit Bailey||Plant Sciences|
|Roger Crawford||Queen Elizabeth House|
|Brian Wright||Queen's College|
|Sera Furneaux||Ruskin School|
|Chris Bamber||Somerville College|
|James Lodge||Somerville College|
|Norma MacManaway||Somerville College|
|Carol Leonard||St Anthony's College|
|Gilliane Sills||St Catherine's College|
|Anne Wilson||St Hilda's College|
|Steven Hill||St Hugh's College|
|Matt Jennings||St John's College|
|David Tilley||Surveyor's Office|
|Amanda Peters||Taylor Institution Library|
|Christopher Hardstone||Wadham College|
|Geraint Jones||Wolfson College|
|Apologies for absence:|
|Richard Wain||All Souls College|
|Carl Woodall||Balliol College|
|Malcolm Harper||Computing Laboratory|
|David Popplewell||Experimental Psychology|
|Peter Baker||Hertford College|
|Robert Denning||Magdalen College|
|Paul Ong||Mansfield College|
|Iain Mclean||Nuffield College|
|Robert Chard||Oriental Institute|
|James McKee||Pembroke College|
|Pete Biggs||Physical Chemistry|
|Alan Kendall||Safety Office|
|James Naughton||St Edmund Hall|
|Manuel Berdoy||Veterinary Service|
|Margaret Taylor||Management and Administrative Information Services Unit|
|David Price||Libraries Automation Service|
|Everard Robinson||Libraries Automation Service|
|Alex Reid||Oxford University Computing Services|
|Carol Bateman||Oxford University Computing Services|
|Jane Brown (Secretary)||Oxford University Computing Services|
|Alan Gay||Oxford University Computing Services|
The minutes of the meeting held on 16th May 2000 for the Colleges' IT Group and on 25th April 2000 for the University IT Users' Group were accepted as correct.
1019.1 Colleges' IT Group - Minute 231 - Oxford Firewall - Investigation into a site licence for Session Wall or similar software. At present there are no suitable education site licence agreements available but CHEST (Combined Higher Education Software Team) have been informed of our interest in this software.
1019.2 University IT Users' Group - Minute 1016.2 - Election of new Vice Chairman - Request for interested parties. There were no volunteers to stand for Vice Chairman of the IT Users' Group, if anyone is interested please let John Jenkins at OUCS know, email email@example.com
The Chairman, Robert Taylor, had produced a report that was placed on-line with the agenda and further discussion took place on the related subjects.
The Colleges' IT Group and University IT Users' Group both wished a fond farewell to Alex Reid, Director of OUCS, who is leaving at the end of November to take up a post at the University of Western Australia. Alex was thanked by both groups for all the hard work he has put into the committees.
1021.1 Network Advisory Group Representation
The Network Advisory Group (Alan Gay) had agreed that they would like a representative from the Colleges on their Group, Steve Kersley from Keble College was nominated for this role. There were no other nominees and Steve Kersley was duly elected, by a unanimous vote, to become the Colleges' Representative for the Network Advisory Group.
1021.2 Online ISO CD Images
The Colleges' IT forum reported that they would like free software made available as downloadable ISO images with authentication by unique login. Alex Reid replied that OUCS are enthusiastic about providing such a service as long as there are no licensing issues, and it is expected to go ahead in the near future with Ray Miller and David Rischmiller as the main points of contact.
1021.3 Support for Fellows working in departments
The Colleges' IT Forum would like a University policy that ensured, and stated quite clearly, that the IT support of College Fellows working in Departments was the responsibility of the Departmental IT Support Staff and not the College staff. This was agreed by the rest of the Representatives at the meeting and has been referred to the ICT Committee. [ACTION Alex Reid]
1021.4 Provision of Ethernet to College Annexes
There has been a delay in the provision of Backbone connection for some college annexes along the Banbury Road, Alex Reid explained that this was due to difficulties being experienced with existing Radio LAN installations, putting use of the technology into doubt. These have now been resolved. The College concerned has already spoken to Gavin Litchfield who confirmed that the next step, verifying line of sight, will now go ahead.
Alex Reid had produced a written report which was placed on-line with the agenda. Alex highlighted a few items from the written report, see below, and then went through the statistics from the Computing Services Annual Report.
1022.1 New Computer Rules - The new rules for use of IT facilities throughout the University have now been accepted by the ICTC. They can be seen at http://www.ox.ac.uk/it/rules/
1022.2 Backbone Network Replacement - This is progressing well.
1022.3 Janet Connection - The outgoing bandwidth has been increased to try and reduce congestion, the ingoing bandwidth cannot be altered until January 2001 when the new Super Janet4 connection is made. In the meantime there may be more congestion, so users should be encouraged not to be extravagant in their use of bandwidth.
There have been no moves to discourage use of Hotmail accounts as it is not feasible to direct emails from a Hotmail account to a University account, in any case access to Hotmail does not use Janet's transatlantic links.
1022.4 Charges for Trans-Atlantic Traffic - The bill for Janet usage for the year 2000/2001 has gone down to £96,496 (the charge was £142,958 in 1999/2000) despite the total amount of traffic doubling, this is due to the introduction of the compulsory Web cache. However, the bill for Oxford will only stay down if the usage at other Universities remains relatively high.
1022.5 Herald & HFS - Herald has been successfully expanded to cater for the added load of postgraduates and staff. The HFS has been upgraded and the workload from the RS6000/H70 and RS6000/R40 machines is being spread onto the new RS6000/M80.
1022.6 Withdrawal of POP - Support will be withdrawn for the POP email protocol on Sable & Ermine on 28th February 2001. Those who are committed to POP can change their email server from Sable/Ermine to Herald. There is strong encouragement for users to change to an IMAP client.
1022.7 OxTALENT - Stuart Lee has now taken on the OxTALENT work on a part time basis due to the protracted sick leave of Tonia Cope Bowley.
1022.8 Budget - Funding was turned down for the full time IT Support Staff training officer but the bid will be placed again for next year's budget. Funding was approved for another member of staff for OxCERT.
1022.9 New Assistant Director - A warm welcome was extended to the new Assistant Director (Distributed Computing), John Jenkins, who joins OUCS from the Said Business School.
There were a couple of questions regarding the OUCS report:
1022.10 IT Support Staff Register - Gerard Robinson asked what information would be available from the IT Support Staff (ITSS) Register and if that information could be modified by IT Support Staff. John Jenkins from OUCS replied that the search service for the ITSS register now works but it is still being tested and should be available to a preview group in the next few weeks. The register provides information on all those working in an IT-related capacity throughout the University. At present the service is read-only. Gerard Robinson pressed strongly for authorised IT staff to be able to alter user data; OUCS agreed to investigate the technical and other issues such a change might raise.
1022.11 Web Cache - Steve Kersley asked if the Web cache would be upgraded to cope with the 'broken pipes' and congestion problems experienced recently. Alan Gay from OUCS replied that the 'broken pipes' and congestion were due to the national cache and he was not aware of any problems locally.
There were no questions concerning the statistics from the OUCS annual report.
There was no written report from MIS but Margaret Taylor gave a verbal report covering the following points:
1023.1 Information on Web - MIS are hoping to set up some Web pages giving details about systems developing so that a continuing flow of information is available.
1023.2 Open Door Payroll/Personnel System - Development for this system is continuing and an open day will be held soon to see it working, there is also a User Group for exchange of views. Alison Cross in the University Offices is the contact person for this system.
1023.3 Student Record System - The current system serves the central offices. A project is proposed for student information to be accessed and shared by the whole University. If funding is available then implementation will be in the year 2002/2003 and MIS would be actively seeking involvement. Contact Margaret Taylor directly for further information.
1023.4 Admit - A very basic student record system has been developed as a spin-off from Admit , this will be a stop gap for any colleges without a student record system. In answer to a question from Brian Wright regarding updates to Admit, Margaret said that the Admit system is still being supported by Charles Wroth even though his workload has changed to focus on the 'MARK-IT' system. If any problems are experienced with Admit or getting updates then please contact Ann Claydon or Margaret.
1023.5 'Resolve' - Research Project Costing Tool - A tool for research project costing is currently being re-written in the latest version of Fox Pro.
1023.6 MARK-IT - This system was demonstrated recently and received a warm welcome. Anne Claydon (Assistant Director of MIS) is running this project.
1023.7 OSIRIS - The project to replace Prophecy is progressing, the suppliers have been narrowed down to two, Oracle and Aggresso. The OSIRIS team will be visiting sites and suppliers to finalise contracts and a decision on which one will be made in December. Work will start on the new system in January for implementation by Easter 2000. Contact Ann Gavin, University Offices.
1024 LIBRARIES REPORT
Everard Robinson and Dave Price had produced a written report that was placed on-line with the agenda. Everard had nothing further to add but asked for any questions on the report. A discussion took place regarding the OXAM system and a couple of other items:
1024.1 OXAM - Oxford Examination Papers Online - Dave Price explained that the OXAM service was a pilot project at the moment and feedback was welcomed and being noted. The feedback will result in recommendations being made in December to plan for a production system ready for Michelmas next year. The feedback points so far were:
Any further feedback can be submitted via the OXAM interface, OXAM can be accessed at http://oxam.ox.ac.uk
Dave Price added that there are copy right issues that are still being investigated. In the meantime the legal office have suggested that the electronic papers be treated in the same way as paper copies, restricting access to the ox.ac.uk domain. The exam school policy at present is that the papers must be the digitised original copies that have been officially marked up. However, the Libraries Board will be asked if the post script files that OUP use for typesetting could be used as these are better quality. Everard Robinson added that Dave Price is the current coordinator of the service but it is still to be decided who will pay for and run the service next year, this will be brought up with the ICT Committee [ACTION Everard Robinson/Dave Price]
1024.2 Bodleian Database Networks - Access to OxLIP Server - Dave Price said that IT Support Staff still want support for Novell on the OxLIP Server but it continues to be a technical problem and discussions with SUNS at Salford are ongoing. The Novell access only accounts for around 5-6.5% of total usage and, considering the burden, Dave asked if it was considered cost effective to continue supporting Novell. Tony Brett agreed that Novell access was a support nightmare and there is no reason not to install a Microsoft client. The Group unanimously supported the idea of discontinuing the Novell client support.
Brian Wright asked if there were any problems with using the new Microsoft ME or Windows 2000 operating systems with the Libraries software services. Dave Price replied that the OxLIP interface was not a problem with Windows 2000 but not all of the 160 discrete software packages had been tested yet.
1025.1 IT Support Staff Group Report
Jonathan Marks had produced a report that was placed on-line with the agenda. Jonathan added that the IT Support Staff Conference had been a good day and that the IT Suppliers' Exhibition was scheduled for 5th December. Jonathan also wanted to extend a vote of gratitude to Gerard Robinson, who is standing down as chairman of the IT Support Staff Group, for all the hard work he has put in for the group. Gerard introduced Tony Brett as the new IT Support Staff Group chairman, who takes over on 1st January 2001.
1025.2 South East Region JANET Users' Group
There was nothing to report.
1025.3 South East Region Computer Users' Committee
Peter Grout had produced a report that was placed on-line with the agenda. There were no comments.
1025.4 Network Advisory Group
There was nothing to add.
John Jenkins had produced a written report that was handed out at the meeting and can now be seen online with the agenda. John added that the POP service will be withdrawn on 28th February 2001 due to unreliable service, and that users (including academics and staff) should move over to Herald which is generally reliable. The non-Unix users should also move off Sable and Ermine, as Sable is due for retirement in the next 12 months and all Unix users will then be consolidated onto one server.
An email will go out to all users of Sable and Ermine and posters will be sent to IT Support Staff to explain the change. Brian Wright asked if the IT Officers could be provided with lists of those staff and remaining postgraduates who had not opened a Herald account or were continuing to use POP services on Sable or Ermine. John Jenkins agreed to provide the information on relevant use of the Herald account to IT Officers. He will also look into the practicality of providing information on remaining POP users on Sable and Ermine.
Terry Campton from IMSU raised the point that it would be useful for IT Managers to be able to reset passwords for users on Sable & Ermine. In the Clinical School they have moved users to their own system so that they have more control over passwords. It was agreed that this would be a good idea providing the security aspect could be solved so that the user was authenticated. Tony Brett said that maybe an extension of the fast track access for IT Support Staff could be used, as this had proved to be an efficient service. Alex Reid said that OUCS would look into this issue. [ACTION John Jenkins]
1028.1 - New Chairman for IT Users' Group
There have been no volunteers to replace John Jenkins as chairman of the IT Users' Group and John has agreed to continue until a replacement is found. It was pointed out that there is no constitutional reason why a member of OUCS cannot be Chairman of this Group.
1028.2 - New Representatives for IT Support Staff Group from Colleges' IT Group and University IT Users' Group
Two new representatives are required for the IT Support Staff Group as the current representatives, Jonathan Marks from the Colleges' IT Group and Pete Biggs from the IT Users' Group are standing down. James Dore was nominated and accepted as the representative from the Colleges' IT Group. There were no nominations from the IT Users' Group so John Jenkins will canvass the Group for a new representative. [ACTION John Jenkins]
University IT Users' Group Tuesday 9th January 2001 at 14:00 hrs in the Computing Laboratory.
Colleges' IT Group Tuesday 30th January 2001 at 14:15 hrs in the Beit Room, Rhodes House.