Oxford Materials IT Committee Meeting

2.00pm on 8 May 2003 21BR committee room


  • 1 Apologies for absence
  • 2 Matters arising from the minutes (minutes attached)
  • 3 IT/AV - matters for discussion (PJW)
  • 4 IT/AV - matters for report (Firewall, Server, Phones, MML, EM, Security, HEIF, Website, building-works, Audit, Photographic, Publications, etc.)
  • 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 22nd October 2003 at 2.00pm.


Minutes of the IT/AV Committee held at 2.00pm on 8 May 2003

Present: AC, AHM, RMP, PJW, Crispin Hetherington

1. Apologies: DGB (teachinglab), MB (ill)

2. Matters arising from the minutes

  • a) 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
  • b) 2b Admin staff are being encouraged to undertake a rolling programme of IT training and time is being made available. Local CD training material is available from IT staff, general courses are available from OUCS and a targeted series of short internal courses are planned to address specific training needs.
  • c) 2c Matlab licensing via Engineering is now being coordinated by PJW. New licenses are cheap and easy to arrange. Currently there is one copy in the MML, TL computer room and EM computer room, plus three other researcher-specific licenses.
  • d) 2d A commercial screen-saver was investigated as a possible income stream but it was not be implemented due to technical issues.
  • e) 2e A preliminary meeting to review induction procedures (AC,RMP,PJW) has taken place, and further revision of procedures for October 2003 by PJW has been requested prior to calling a wider meeting (AC,RMP,PJW, Lyn, Alison, Laura, Harriet). The revised procedures will be in place for the new intake in September/October 2003. Action: PJW/Laura Jones
  • f) 2g RMP has contacted the Head of Telecoms to formally request site-wide action to improve telephone services at Begbroke. No action likely in near future. Meanwhile four more VOIP phones have been purchased.
  • h) 2i Personal computer backup policy guidelines have been circulated on notices@materials. PJW to update policy for central tape backups (Admin, MML, EM), especially ensuring procedure is adequate in event of fire. Action: PJW
  • i) 2i It was noted that the facilities and procedures booklet is being generally updated on the basis of the audit report findings. The updated version will be made available on the website in both pdf and html formats. The document is to be reformatted for easy conversion to html and will be available on-line for the new intake in September. Action: PJW/Kay Sims
  • j) 3a Calendar sharing has been reviewed. IT staff are unable to support a Microsoft Exchange server (which interacts with Outlook), although support is available at a price through NSMS. A free WebCalendar solution is currently being tested. Also Groupwise email/calendaring software is being investigated which could run on our existing Novell server. Action: Alex Cock /PJW
  • j) 3b A system for centralised computer account management is being investigated in order to unify accounts and passwords across the department computers. OUCS are investigating similar possibilities for a University-wide system. Alex Cock will report at next meeting. (carried forward) Action: Alex Cock
  • k) 4a The gradual increase in requirements for IP addresses remains a problem. A summary of the current status and a request for advice is to be submitted to Network Control at OUCS. (carried forward) Action: PJW
  • l) 4b The proposed new Department firewall has a built-in authorization mechanism requiring computers to be register in order to access the network outside the Department. All members of department will be contacted by email to request that they register their computers at http://registration.materials.ox.ac.uk. The firewall will be activated over the summer. (carried forward) Action: PJW
  • m) 4c The new server has arrived and is being configured. Admin staff will transfer at the end of term and other students/staff will transfer over the summer. Action: Alex Cock/PJW
  • n) 4d The department website has been completely reviewed by PJW and a new draft produced. Currently aiming to make minimal changes to the look/brand but instead change the underlying technologies. Changes to the look-and-feel of the website will be considered in conjunction with revision of the Undergraduate Prospectus scheduled for the 2005/6 intake. Action: PJW/MartinCarr/RIT
  • o) 4e Provisional costs for the Schools Liaison Officer were presented and have been incorporated in the summary of department publications. AHM will continue to monitor publication costs.
  • p) 4f An EM technician has been appointed (John Lynch) but AHM has agreed to continue the upkeep of developing and printing facilities at Begbroke and central sites ( approx ½ day per week).
  • q) 7b The IT requirements of QIPIRC have been reviewed. The hardware infrastructure in 12/13 Parks Road will be upgraded as building works occur. The QIPIRC will have typically 20-25 people.

3. IT/AV Matters for discussion (PJW)

  • No items were tabled for discussion

4. IT/AV matters for report

A status summary was circulated and discussed.

  • a) Server. Due to loading upon admin by OSIRIS, RMP requested that the transfer to the new server be carefully scheduled, preferably before July or after September. Currently we are planning for a transparent move (NT4sp6) before July followed by an upgrade to XP Pro after September.

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

  • a) OUCS annual review will be carried out this year. The department has been asked to input into this process and PJW is to reply by June with favourable comments on the support received from OUCS. Action: PJW
  • b) Simple email junk-mail filtering seems to be working well. Full junk-mail filtering system is still under testing at OUCS. Instructions will be circulated to all users via notices@materials. Action: PJW

6. IT/AV Expenditure

  • a) Expenditure to-date is in line with the budget except for the drawn-out cost of refurbishment of 21 Banbury Road which will slip to next year.
  • b) A draft budget for 2003/4 was presented and will be taken forward to RIC in 7th week.
  • c) Considering the additional IT support requirements of HEIF and QIPIRC the committee feels that there is need for an additional IT support staff position. This request will be taken forward to RIC.
7. AOB
  • a) OSIRIS user acceptance testing has occurred. OSIRIS training will occur of the next two months. The fixed assets database module in ORISIS will not be available in August. Fixed assets data will be required for end-of-financial-year report. Action: PJW/SHA
  • b) A new mailing list academics@materials is required for divisional communications with university lecturers and other university funded staff. RMP will provide a detailed list to PJW. Action: PJW/RMP
  • c) A review of photocopier provision is required. AHM will report to SHA. Action: AHM/SHA
  • d) Two network security blocks of peer-to-peer file-sharing were reported.

8. Next Meeting:Wednesday 22nd October 2003 at 2.00pm

Meeting Closed 4.25pm