Oxford Materials IT Committee Meeting

2.00pm on 22nd October 2003 21BR committee room


  • 1 Apologies for absence
  • 2 Matters arising from the minutes (minutes attached)
  • 3 IT/AV - matters for report (Firewall, Server, Phones, MML, EM, Security, HEIF, Website, building-works, Audit, Photographic, Publications, etc.)
  • 4 IT/AV - matters for discussion (PJW)
    • Policy for provision of computers for senior academic staff
    • Policy for provision of computers for researchers
    • Policy for printing
  • 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: Monday 19th January 2003 at 2pm.


Minutes of the IT/AV Committee held at 2.00pm on 22nd October 2003


1. Apologies: none

2. Matters arising from the minutes

  • a) Committee restructuring happened during the summer recess. The committee was renamed ITC. The membership was rationalised to job description rather than person. The constitution and notes were updated. PJW to chair. AMC to act as secretary. Meeting schedule changed to Mondays of 1st week 2-4pm. PJW to update website. PJW to setup itc@materials.ox.ac.uk email maillist similar to all other department committees. Action: PJW
  • b) 2a The Department runs ~34 separate databases. A summary is to be circulated with suggestions for rationalization to avoid double entry of information. (carried forward again ) Action: PJW/Alex Cock
  • c) 2e A preliminary meeting to review induction procedures (AC,RMP,PJW) has taken place, and further revision of procedures are required. Work still in progress. Action: PJW/Laura Jones
  • d) 2h Policy for central tape backups (Admin, MML, EM) has been updated. A full disaster recovery plan is still needed. Action: PJW/AMC/Khalid Schofield
  • e) 2i Facilities and Procedures document is now on-line at http://www.materials.ox.ac.uk/local Alison Jewitt holds master copy in MSWord format.
  • f) 2j A free WebCalendar solution is in use by several people. Groupwise email/calendaring software is still under review. Testing program to be scheduled in 2004
  • g) 2j2 OUCS are running a project for digital certificate authentication in order to provide single sign-on. This is a long-term project with numerous technical difficulties. The department has on-going interest in this area but is unlikely to be able to implement a full solution soon. Action: AMC / Khalid Schofield / PJW
  • h) 2k The department changed subnet so we now have lots of IP addresses.
  • i) 2l The firewall works using IP but not using IPX. This will be resolved soon. Action: PJW
  • j) 2m Students have transferred to the new Novell server, and admin staff are due to transfer by end November. Action: Alex Cock/PJW
  • k) 2n The new site seems to have passed accessibility guidelines and needs implementing by Christmas. Undergraduate Prospectus is being revised for the 2005/6 intake (due March 2004). Adrian Taylor, LJFJ, PG and AC to be consulted. Action: PJW/MartinCarr
  • l) 5a A favourable report was sumitted to the review of OUCS. (copies distributed at meeting)
  • m) 5b The new OUCS junk mail tagging system started in September. Junkmail is increased at a rate of 300% last year. Instructions have been posted to notices@materials but admin staff need a training session (including vacation messages, forwarding and password changing) when admin staff are using new server. Action: PJW/AMC
  • n) 7a Fixed assets financial information has been input retrospectively. Physical tagging of assets will need to occur early 2004. PJW to keep developing system with RAM, SHA and RMP.Action: PJW
  • o) 7b New maillist academics@materials has been implemented. Also due to committee restructuring numerous other lists have been created. dc@materials, dmac@materials, rog@materials, sasc@materials, itc@materials, jccu@materials, jccg@materials, seniorstaff@materials, subfac@materials
  • p) 7c SHA has reviewed photocopier provision in the department and a contract is due to be signed shortly.

3. IT/AV matters for report

A status summary was circulated and discussed. (Firewall, Server, Phones, MML, EM, Security, HEIF, Website, building-works, Audit, Photographic, Publications, etc.)

  • a) PJW to ask Peter Dobson to contact USO about progress on laying fibre optic to Begbroke. This is especially important given the failure of the microwave link in September 2003. Thanks were noted to PJW, MB and Michael Purches for the swift repair of the unit. Action: PJW

4. IT/AV Matters for discussion (PJW)

  • a) Policy for provision of computers for senior academic staff
    Computers are required to do the job of being an academic. It is sometimes difficult for academics to obtain funds for their own IT requirements (usually easier to get a computer for the researcher). PJW is to prepare a detailed and fully costed proposal for presentation to the (new) DC for a new policy of providing financial support to all academic staff for the provision of computers/peripherals. Draft suggestion is for £200/year upto £600 total. Action: PJW
  • b) Policy for provision of computers for researchers
    The department should have a list of recommended computer specifications to provide as advice for research groups in order to maximise value for money and minimise effort. The department has already moved towards block purchasing of PC’s for departmental purposes and now holds a stock of IT equipment in the new IT workshop. IT staff to circulate a draft procedure to the committee for discussion prior to circulation to the whole department. Action: PJW/AMC/MB
  • c) Policy for printing.
    Now that the new central server has been installed, in becomes possible to move towards a policy of monitored printing with the potential for print-charging of large volume print-users (e.g. thesis production). In particular the digital darkroom facilities should require user authentication. AMC and AHM to formulate a suitable policy and procedure. Action: AMC/AHM
  • d) Policy for retirees.
    An additional policy item was inserted outside the agenda. The University has a University Card Status of retiree and a policy for conferring some rights to retirees / leavers. A departmental policy is required for provision of both departmental and other (e.g. OUCS) facilities to retirees and/or leavers. Most facilities can be restricted on the basis of building access, however IT facilities such as email cannot. Action: PJW/RMP

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

  • a) The University responded well to the Blaster worm problems in August. The department had only a couple of infections and was not disconnected. Any feedback to OUCS is welcome.
  • b) http://weblearn.ox.ac.uk has had considerable uptake. The department is currently holding-off using Weblearn since the driving force for doing so is low and the new Director of Studies post will not be filled until January. It is possible that we will implement Weblearn during summer 2004.
  • c) The department has been using the new deployment software, Altiris, and it seems good. OUCS will run a training course in Hilary term. MB and AMC to attend. Action: MB/AMC
  • d) OUCS are looking for departments willing to test the Sophos Enterprise Manager software. AMC to contact OUCS if interested. Our existing Sophos antivirus system seems to be working well. Action: AMC
  • e) Due to the Blaster worm, open access to networks (e.g.libraries) was removed. The libraries have now implemented an automatic scanning/registration system to enable access. If the department were to allow open access we would need to implement such a system. Currently registration requires manual checking of systems by IT staff.

6. IT/AV Expenditure

  • a) Final accounts for 2002/3 were circulated. Expenditure was within budget, primarily due to postponed building works. RMP thanked PJW for keeping within budget.
  • b) The budget allocation for 2003/4 is £12,000 plus £30,120, which is ~£10k less that the predicted expenditure, however building works may be partly financed from the main building works funds.
7. AOB
  • a) RMP requested that the department implement an IT request tracking system (e.g. RT). Action: PJW
  • b) Department IT staff have implemented a weekly Drop-In session on Wednesday’s at 1pm in the Teaching Laboratory Computer Room. Initial uptake is good.
  • c) A termly review of library facilities is required, in the absence of a full-time librarian. Action: PJW

8. Next Meeting:Monday 19th January 2003 at 2.00pm in 21 Banbury Road Committee Room

Meeting Closed 4.05pm