Oxford Materials IT Committee Meeting

1 May 2002 2pm 21BR committee room


  • 1 Apologies for absence
  • 2 Matters arising from the minutes (minutes attached)
  • 3 IT/AV - matters for report (PJW)
  • a Mailing List policy
  • b Printing policy
  • c Fileserver policy
  • d Support policy
  • 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 23 Oct 2002 at 2pm.


Minutes of the IT/AV Committee held at 2.00pm on 1 May 2002

Present: SA, MB, AC, Alex Cock, AHM, GM, RMP, PJW

1. Apologies: none (absent JTC). SA welcomed as new member of committee.

2. Matters arising from the minutes

  • a) 2 Martin Carr has FrontPage and Acrobat. Progress being made on other issues.
  • b) 2a. done. GADB and MS are no-longer using Admin server.
  • c) 2b. done.
  • d) 2c. PJW to circulate document summarising all Department databases. (carried forward)Action: PJW
  • e) 2d. Staffing issues concerning both development and control of content on the website need to be assessed (carried forward). Assessment of general office staff IT training on-hold until Academic Administrator returns mid-May. Action: RMP/PJW
  • f) 2g. Arrangements made for MatLab licensing, but not needed for this year. PJW to check again next year. (carried forward) Action: PJW
  • g) 2h. JCCU had given response positive to the use of advertising screen-savers on general access computers. JCCG response was still being sought, but since the computers are mostly used by undergraduates it was decided to proceed with implementation. Action: PJW/Alex Cock
  • h) 3a. Revised IT documentation on-line at http://www.materials.ox.ac.uk/it Please would everyone read it and suggest modifications and corrections to PJW. Comments from SA, as newcomer to department would be particularly useful.Action: SA/All
  • i) 3e. Strategy for replacement of Begbroke microwave link by extension of University backbone network still being actively pursued though the higher levels of the University. Estimated cost >£0.5M. Meanwhile the maintenance contract for 2002 is in place.Action: PJW/RMP
  • j) 6b. done. Data projector purchased and installed.
  • k) 7 Old students workshop currently being used for storage of computers prior to disposal. Building plans still in discussion.

3. IT/AV Matters for report (PJW)

  • a) Mailing list policy. There was considerable discussion about what constituted correct use of the mailing list, notices@materials. AC to summarise policy and circulate to department. Also circulate existing email etiquette policy. All to keep a note of what they consider to be unsuitable use of notices@materials. Action: AC/All
  • b) Printing policy. (Item 3c and 3d from the previous meeting) It had been decided to implement print queue monitoring in the Digital Darkroom as a first step towards general print charging. This action has been postponed due to: a) concern that monitoring and charging will significantly shift current usage to less economical routes on group computers; b) monitoring will require new accounts and training and it would be better to link this to setting up new fileserver facilities if these go ahead. Alex Cock to continue to investigate technical issues. Meanwhile AHM to monitor digital darkroom usage for large jobs. Action: Alex Cock/AHM
  • c) Fileserver policy. The current fileserver provides centralized distribution of the complete working environment - all applications and file-storage. Currently it serves 11 administration, 16 teaching-lab, 3 library and 3 lecture theatre computers. This system enables cost-effective full IT support particularly with respect to data security, antivirus protection and data backup. The fileserver hardware is due for replacement thus giving opportunity to review the current system and suggest improvements.

    Two aspects to changes of provision and usage of a central fileserver have been identified.
    1. There is potential for extending the scope of provision of the existing system to other users who only require a basic computing facilities, but who want to have the highest level IT support. 2. There is potential for provision of central file storage (without applications). A central location for storage of files enables desktop machines to become multi-user systems, provides a large central scratchdisk space, ensures data backup, and could provide an archiving service if deemed desirable. PJW investigate fileserver arrangements in other departments, with particular reference to security issues, and to assess needs in this department. Action: PJW

    Alex Cock to outline requirements and costs for possible technical solutions. Action: Alex Cock
  • d) IT support policy.

    A draft document was circulated and generally accepted. Any suggested modifications should be sent to PJW. Action: All

    All members of department will be notified of the new IT support policy. Action: PJW

    A system for registration of all new members of department will be implemented for the new academic year in order to ensure that newcomers receive information about the IT facilities and signup to both University and Department IT rules. This will be combined into a revision of the administrative procedure for newcomers. Action: PJW/RMP

    In order to stimulate discussion of IT requirements prior to purchase, PJW will henceforth need to authorise ALL department purchase orders involving IT equipment. Action: PJW

    In the current IT support policy, prioritisation takes no account of the time for each task. Basic recording of times for completion of support tasks will be implemented via the existing weekly IT meetings. Action: PJW/MB/AlexCock/AHM
  • e) Databases - carried over.

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

Nothing to report. Meeting delayed until next week.

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

  • a) Ermine will be discontinued in July 2003. Existing users to be contacted and migrated to herald or the MML. Action: PJW
  • b) OUCS has a new help centre open at 13 Banbury Road from 08.30-20.30 (replacing advisory and registration).

6. IT/AV Expenditure

  • PJW presented figures on budgeted expenditure in current year. Expenditure is generally in line with the budget granted at the start of the year, although the purchase of the fileserver has been postponed until next financial year. Action: PJW

7. AOB

  • a) Summary document of department publications was presented by AHM. This document should continue to be revised and augmented. AHM to produce a 5-10 year annual cost forecast Action: AHM/PJW
  • b) Summary document on security measures for IT equipment was presented by AHM.
  • c) A request from an ex-member of department for trickledown computer was considered. The computer will first be advertised to all members of department in accordance with the existing university policy on computer disposals. PJW to convey decision. Note that any computer would have to be supplied as is with no implication of any subsequent support.Action: PJW

8. Next Meeting:

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

Meeting Closed 4.35pm