Oxford Materials IT Committee Meeting

17 October 2001 2pm 21BR committee room


  • 1 Apologies for absence
  • 2 Matters arising from the minutes (minutes attached)
  • 3 Membership of IT/AV committee
  • 4 IT/AV Staffing levels
  • 5 IT/AV Documentation
  • 6 IT/AV Facilities
  • 7 DMAC - matters for report (AC)
  • 8 University IT Users Group - matters for report (PJW)
  • 9 Network Status - matters for report (GDB)
  • 10 Website - matters for report (PJW)
  • 11 Department publications - matters for report (AHM)
  • 12 Projected IT/AV expenditure (and prioritisation) for the next academic year
  • 13 Network - monitoring, address allocation / DHCP, procedures for new machines
  • 14 Changes to University Rules for Computer Use - http://www.ox.ac.uk/it/rules/rules.html
  • 15 AOB
  • 16 Date and time of next meeting: Wednesday 23 January 2001 2pm.


Minutes of the IT/AV Committee held at 2.00pm on 17 October 2001

Present: MB, GDB, AC, Alex Cock, JTC, AHM, GM, RMP, PJW

1. Apologies: all present

2. Matters arising from the minutes

  • 4a Sable was removed from service without any undue problems. The hardware will be physically disposed of in December 2001.
  • 4b The IT support staff conference was attended by MB, Alex Cock and PJW.
  • 12 A note on computer security was circulated to all members of department by AC.

3. Membership of IT/AV committee

AC welcomed Dr Rosie Plummer (RMP) as the newly appointed department administrator. AC noted the appointment of Dr Paul Warren (PJW) as Senior IT Officer, changing from an academic to a support role, and thus we lcomed Dr Guenter Moebus as the second academic representative on the IT/AV committee.

4. IT/AV Staffing levels

The post of Senior IT Officer has been advertised, interviewed and filled (PJW). It was noted that creation of this new post should enable the committee to concentrate on policy decisions rather than technical d etails and hence future meetings of the IT/AV committee will attempt to be limited to a maximum of 2hrs. More regular informal meetings of technical IT staff will be instigated.

5. IT/AV Documentation

Completed Documents:

  • Committee Terms of Reference - Draft circulated. Minor modifications suggested.
  • IT Strategy - Draft circulated. No modifications suggested.
  • MML guidance notes - circulated and on the MML website. (prepared by Tiffany Walsh)

Documents in production:

  • Computer Recycling/Reuse policy Action PJW/RMP/GDB
    - discussion document circulated. Policy and procedures still to be refined.
  • Instructions for automatic anti-virus protection Action: MB
    - draft instructions circulated. Requires testing on users.
  • Examples of Standard PC configurations Action: Alex Cock
    - still to be generated.
  • Network printing instructions Action: MB
    - to be generated after implementing charging procedure.
  • Departmental IT/AV facilities Action: PJW
    - general documentation of facilities and procedures is being generated - Digital Darkroom, Teaching Lab, Printing, Photocopying, Charging etc.
  • Network Status Action: PJW
    - on-going network status document to be generated
  • Department IT Rules Action PJW
    - still to be generated.

Documentation to be made available on department intranet along the lines of RMP’s previous experience at experimental psychology (http://epwww.psych.ox.ac.uk) Action: PJW

6. IT/AV Facilities

The digital darkroom has been equipped with one PC, one Mac, a HP 8550 colour A3 laserprinter, a Phaser solid wax A4 printer for transparencies, a scanner and a CD writer. The room is opened by AHM during workin g hours and is on D1 key for out-of-hours. The swipecard system will be installed at the same time as Engineering add swipecard access to ETB and HB front doors. Current usage 2-3 people per day. Already 15,000 copies on las erprinter.

Chargable printing to central facilities (printers and photocopiers) should be made widely available. Alex Cock recommended charging -system as used by teaching network. Action: Alex Cock / MB / PJW

7. DMAC - matters for report (AC)

Nothing to report.

8. Oxford University IT Users Group Meeting http://www.ict.ox.ac.uk/oxford/groups/ouitug/

Nothing to report.

9. Network Status

The estimate for completing the conversion from thin Ethernet to twisted-pair UTP is currently £20k. This estimate is based on using external contractors and breaks down as £10k for 21BR and £1 0k for ETB. Since the last meeting the network problems in 21BR have been terminated, therefore 21BR is lower priority than ETB. See prioritisation of future expenditure below (12).

HR - done (except S16? and library?). New switch due to be added to stack for RMP.

HB - done (except EM area and Connie). New EM technician and MB due to rewire EM area.

PR - First and second floors done during refurbishment. Ground-floor and basement are low priority and can be done in-house for minimal cost. No schedule.

ETB - photographic, electronics and LR7 are done. Remainder of building is top priority for this year using external contractors.

21BR - MML and Polymer/Biomaterials areas done. Top offices on back staircase fixed temporarily prior to planned refurbishment in 2003. Front offices done. Need to transfer users and strip out thin ethernet. Rec ent problems in BC labs and offices have been solved. Currently the electricity supply is being replaced. Complete rewiring of the building is scheduled for after Easter. Refurbishment of the Nanomaterials laboratories is sc heduled for before Easter. All these building works will facilitate upgrading the network to UTP. Scheduled for next financial year.

In ETB the main user and main complainant is GADB, partly due to two of his machines being part of the admin network. His use of the admin network should be reassessed. Action: RMP

BR lecture theatre currently has a temporary networking configuration. This needs to be fixed urgently. Action: MB

10. Website

A document summarising current status and a list of actions was circulated. The role of databases was discussed and the feasibility of MSaccess needs assessing. Action: PJW

Staffing issues concerning both development and updating of content need to be assessed. Action: RMP / PJW

11. Department publications

A document summarising departmental publications was circulated . Suggested additions : cost-breakdowns (ask DEF), add undergraduate and Begbroke brochures, departmental stationary etc. Collect quotations for ex ternal printing. Action:AHM

12. Projected IT/AV expenditure

The IT/AV expenditure for this academic year was discussed in detail and a set of priorities generated. See separate document.

During discussions it was noted that Prof. Cantor still expects IT support from Alex Cock. This requires reassessment. Action: RMP

The proposal to separate the teaching and admin networks was discussed in detail. The technical conclusion was that it would not achieve any significant improvement in security or speed. However, the server is 3 yrs old and therefore is due for replacement anyway so the planned expenditure remains. A detailed cost estimate is required. Action: Alex Cock

Currently the negative scanner (cost £3k bought from Teaching lab 2k and EM 1k) is broken and repairs have been very slow with a replacement part due from USA. Recent news says Polaroid USA is in financial trouble. It is possible that the repair will not happen before the practicals need it in January. Glyn Taylor submitted a funding request for a replacement (if required). RMP stated that such expenditure would be extraordin ary and should be treated as such (if required), and therefore was not included in the budget.

13. Network

Network monitoring should be implemented. Action: PJW

A full audit of computer equipment would be desirable. The existing information sources need to be collated and a proposed procedure with staffing implications generated. Action: PJW

DHCP address allocation should be implemented, subject to identifying a block of addresses. Action: Alex Cock / PJW

14. Changes to University Rules for Computer Use

Copies of the rules were circulated. Please read and notify PJW of any issues. Action: All

15. Any Other Business

a) The new university finance system OSIRIS will go live on 1 August 2002. Alex Cock confirmed that all admin machines have sufficient specification.

b) Martin Carr the schools liason officer circulated a summary of his activities with respect to IT. The schedule, costing and method for implementing these suggestions appears to require more detailed considera tion. A meeting should be arranged with all concerned. Action: AC

c) MatLab software licensing. The graduate modelling course requires access to MatLab software. Engineering have license arrangement and can distribute additional licenses. Action: PJW

c) A proposal to host advertising screensavers on general purpose computers within the department has been received. Technical issues require clarification before a policy decision. Action: Alex Cock / AC

16. Next Meeting:

Wednesday 23 January 2002, 2.00pm, 21BR committee room.

Meeting Closed 4.45pm