Oxford Materials IT Committee Meeting

23 January 2002 2pm 21BR committee room


  • 1 Apologies for absence
  • 2 Matters arising from the minutes (minutes attached)
  • 3 IT/AV - matters for report (PJW)
  • 4 DMAC - matters for report (AC)
  • 5 University IT Users Group - matters for report (PJW)
  • 6 IT/AV expenditure - matters for report (PJW)
  • 7 AOB
  • 8 Date and time of next meeting: Wednesday 1 May 2002 at 2pm.


Minutes of the IT/AV Committee held at 2.00pm on 23 January 2002

Present: AC, Alex Cock, AHM, RMP, PJW, Martin Carr

1. Apologies: GM, MB

1a. Presentation by Martin Carr (Schools Liason Officer)

MC expressed his thanks to the department for stong support of his role. Most of the hardware he needed was now in place (computer, data projector, etc.). Further to one-page summary presented at the previous meeting, there remain several areas where IT support is needed - implementation of a schools website (at MPSD level), methodology for reducing amount of email communications with schools, IT advice on implementing a project whereby gifted school children can have on-line communications with Oxford academics (weekly 1hr slots rotating round MPSD). After some discussion the following immediate actions were decided:

  • Website - MC advised to concentrate of production of content using MSWord, while in parallel attending web-authoring training courses run by OUCS. http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ltp/ RMP suggests other MPSD (e.g. Earth Sciences) to contribute support as IT expertise or money. PJW to install FrontPage and Acrobat.
  • Communications - MC advised to prepare standard information asap for website so that simple requests can be directed to the website. For easy communications with lots of schools, PJW suggested to use a maillists. http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/email. PJW to advise.
  • Project - Likely technologies NetMeeting(free with windows) PJW to set-up test with MC. AC advised MC to contact Learning Technologies Group http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ltg and Karl Harrison at Chemistry for advice.

2. Matters arising from the minutes

  • a) 9. Network - GADB and Michael Sloan are heavy users of the admin server but are not part of admin so should not really be on the system at all. RMP and AC to draft suitable letter. Action: RMP/AC
  • b) 9. Network - 21BR network connection is still not permanent. Currently low priority since it does work. To be done by Easter.Action: MB
  • c) 10. Website - Feasibility of using MS Access for delivering databases over the web still being assessed - action carried forward. PJW to circulate document summarising all Department databases.Action: PJW
  • d) 10. Website - Staffing issues concerning both development and content control need to be assessed. Lyn Richmond has recently started a course on HTML.Action: RMP/PJW
  • e) 11. Done.
  • f) 12. No longer a problem
  • g) 15. AOB c) - Arrangements made for MatLab licensing, but not needed for this year. PJW to check again next year.Action: PJW
  • h) 15. AOB d) - JCCU and JCCG to be asked to comment upon the use of advertising screen-savers on general access computers. If not negative response, proceed with test implementation.Action: PJW/Alex Cock

3. IT/AV Matters for report (PJW)

Summary document of IT/AV matters for report circulated at meeting.

  • a) IT documentation is on-line at http://www.materials.ox.ac.uk/it Please would everyone read it and suggest modifications and corrections to PJW. Action: ALL
  • b) IT policy for support is urgently required. Document should summarize who and what (hardware and software) can be supported by Department IT staff and under what conditions. Draft policy to be circulated to IT/AV committee for discussion. Action: PJW/MB/Alex Cock
  • c) Alex Cock circulated example results of print-queue monitoring over the past three months. Output seems to be suitable for implementing charging where appropriate. It was decided to implement charging in Digital Darkroom as possible first step towards more general charging. Alex Cock to produce printing instructions and move towards blocking unmonitored use of printers. Action: Alex Cock
  • d) Printing expenditure for the digital darkroom showed a significant (>£5k) saving compared to the previous printing routes. Expenditure is still significant (£3000/8months). Thesis production currently accounts for a lot of the usage. Print queues need to be monitored with the aim of charging for large users. Action: Alex Cock
  • e) Networking of ETB by Stevens&Haberfield is in progress (5weeks). EM area networking by MB in progess (complete next week). Microwave link now functional again. Committee recorded its thanks to PJW, MB and Mike Purches for rapid action on getting this back in action. PJW to negotiate new microwave maintenance contract, seek quotation for replacement microwave system and re-assess other technologies capable of providing the link. Action: PJW/RMP
  • f) PJW presented figures on budgeted expenditure in current year. Software purchasing is currently an unknown expenditure. It was decided to monitor expenditure for the remainder of this financial year (1st August) and then include in budget for next year. Meanwhile PJW to authorise as necessary, only consulting for items >£500. Action: PJW
  • g) Publications summary updated. AHM to do cost comparison with external contractors (e.g. Franks&Franks). Action: AHM

4. DMAC matters for report (AC) http://www.materials.ox.ac.uk/teaching

Nothing to report.

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

Nothing to report during meeting.

  • a) OUCS has recently made available a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service as part of our remote access facilities. Members of the University can register on-line (from ox.ac.uk) http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/network/vpn
  • b) Oxford e-Science Centre (OeSC) is now functional and is keen to set-up projects. http://e-science.ox.ac.uk/

6. IT/AV Expenditure

  • a) PJW presented figures on budgeted expenditure in current year. Software purchasing is currently an unknown expenditure. It was decided to monitor expenditure for the remainder of this financial year (1st August) and produce a more detailed budget for next year. Meanwhile PJW to authorise purchases as necessary, only consulting for items >£500. Action: PJW
  • b) AHM to get quote for Begbroke Woodstock room portable data-projector and to contact PSG for authorization of 50% funding from Faraday, as previously agreed with AC. Action: AHM

7. AOB

  • a) Space allocation for IT. PJW to table a document for RIC outlining requirements for space for setting-up computers, repairing computers, storing hardware prior to disposal, and storage of software, manuals and spares. Action: PJW

8. Next Meeting:

Wednesday 1 May 2002, 2.00pm, 21BR committee room.

Meeting Closed 4.35pm