Oxford Materials IT Committee Meeting

2.00pm on 19th January 2004 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)
  • 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 26th April 2004 at 2.00pm.


Minutes of the IT/AV Committee held at 2.00pm on 19th January 2004


1. Apologies: DGB

2. Matters arising from the minutes

  • a) An agenda for the 19th January meeting had not been circulated a week before the meeting. To be corrected in future. Action: AMC
  • b) It was noted that the minutes had been posted on the Department website (http://www.materials.ox.ac.uk/it/itcomm-2003MT.html) but the committee members had not been informed of this. To be corrected in future. Action: AMC
  • c) 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/AMC
  • d) 2c induction procedures are still under review (AC,RMP,PJW,LJFJ), further revision of procedures are required. Work still in progress. Action: PJW/LJFJ
  • e) 2d A full disaster recovery plan for Department Servers is needed. Action: PJW/AMC/Khalid Schofield
  • f) 2f 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) 2g 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) 2i The firewall protocol problem is still not resolved (IP works well but IPX does not). The Department’s requirement for IPX is soon to become obsolete, a policy decision on how to support a single user connection to the University Offices’ Servers is to be made. Action: PJW/AMC
  • i) 2j Admin staff are still to be transferred to the Novell Server. Final testing and scheduling the transfer is to be made. Action: AMC/PJW
  • j) 2k Progress on the Undergraduate Prospectus for the 2005/6 intake is well underway and should meet the deadline of 1st March 2004. Concerns on the correct charging’ for (1) the design costs and (2) print costs were raised. Action: PJW/Martin Carr
  • k) 2m Admin staff will need a training session to encompass Herald usage (to including junk mail filtering, vacation messages, forwarding and password changing), to be scheduled when admin staff are using new server. Action: PJW/AMC
  • l) 2n 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
  • m) 3a Microwave hardware failed and has been replaced. Negotiations on whether ~£5k will be needed to pay for the new hardware are on going. The Fibre Optic link to OUBSP at Begbroke continues to be delayed. PJW to contact Caroline Livingstone and Peter Dobson to prompt progress with the USO. Action: PJW
  • n) 4a) Policy for provision of computers for senior academic staff. (Carried forward). PJW is to prepare a detailed and fully costed proposal for presentation to the 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 up to £600 total
  • o) 4b) Policy for provision of computers for researchers. (Carried forward). IT staff to write a draft procedure for discussion at IT Committee prior to circulation to the whole department. Action: PJW/AMC/MB
  • p) 4c) Policy for printing. A procedure for monitoring print usage (to networked printers) across the Department is in place. Implementation of this procedure in the digital Darkroom is underway. Action: AMC/AHM
  • q) 4d) Policy for retirees. (Carried forward). 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
  • r) 5c) 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. (Carried forward due to training dates) Action: MB/AMC
  • s) 5d) OUCS are looking for departments willing to test the Sophos Enterprise Manager software. Guinea pig departments are likely to be required by OUCS in the near future. Time permitting AMC to volunteer our willingness to be involved. Our existing Sophos antivirus system seems to be working well. Action: AMC
  • t) 7a) an IT request tracking system to be implemented (e.g. RT). Action: PJW
  • u) 7c) A termly review of library facilities is required, in the absence of a full-time librarian. Action: PJW

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) a) It was noted that any time spent by IT staff in supporting HEIF and the running of OUBSP should be recorded, examples include website planning, server storage and general networking requirements. Action: PJW/AMC/MB
  • b) Long term strategy for the MML was touched upon. Ideally a rolling replacement plan for workstations is required. PJW to consult with Director of MML (DGP or APS?). Action: PJW
  • c) It was noted that the start date of the QIPIRC grant is to be 1st April 20004. The building work has begun in 12/13 Parks Road. Thanks go to all IT Staff have spent significant amounts of time in accommodated the various people moves and temporary network wiring that has been required. RMP noted that IT time spent in supporting the QIPIRC should be recorded. Action: PJW/AMC/MB

4. IT/AV Matters for discussion (PJW)

  • a) a) Policy for provision of computers for senior academic staff – is reported under 2n above

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

  • a) The OSIRIS go live date is 5th April 2004. It was reported that the technical issues concerning the implementation were believed to be under control. Most users PCs and printers meet OSIRIS specifications, the one computer that does not is scheduled for an immediate upgrade. Printing is still an issue with the OSIRIS development team, the Department does have a stock of network printers if they prove to be required by all users. OSIRIS implementation is being over seen by Division who have recently created a technical support group. End user support is reported to be handled by the OSIRIS helpdesk and by an email discussion forum. It is envisaged by this Department (amongst others) that there is a requirement for some user support required by in house IT staff, hence AMC will be attending some training courses. AMC requested RMP (AND RAM) to keep applying pressure to the OSIRIS team to recognise this.
  • b) The front end to the WING interface to herald is to be updated at the end of Hiliary term 2004. IT Staff need to be conversant with it to support end users. Action: PJW/AMC/MB
  • c) It was noted that there is another university wide database systems being implemented, namely ISIDORE (http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/isidore/) which includes an Admissions System due to go live in September 2004, to which AOT and LFJF are the probable front line contacts. Further more there is the University Pay Roll database system OPENDOOR. It is prudent that IT Staff are aware of any impact to IT Support that these may have. PJW to contact IT Users’ Group Chairman, Pete Biggs, to raise any issues. Action: PJW

6. IT/AV Expenditure

  • a) a) PJW reported that IT had spent ~£20k so far this year, but full details weren’t possible as Prophecy was unavailable. A more detailed summary is still desirable. PJW expected half of this to be charged to other sources. It was noted that costs involved in moving people and in temporary networking solutions for the QIPIRC should be charged appropriately. PJW reported that he would aim to provide ‘lump’ journal information to RAM so that it can be processed prior to the change over to OSIRIS. Action: PJW
  • b) Exceptional IT expenditure items need to be flagged up to the Head and Deputy Head of the Department, such that they might be included on any possible grant applications. Action: All
7. AOB
  • a) It was noted that proposals to buy new PCs for the Teaching Labs would entail support from IT Staff. Concerns over the rolling replacement of these computers were raised and communications between Teaching Lab organisers and IT Staff required.
  • b) The system for ensuring that University Cards are ready and waiting for new members to the Department appears to be working well. It is desirable to include instructions on the setting up of email accounts for these new members. It is anticipated that this would become part of the induction pack.
  • c) AC reported that he would be on sabbatical for the academic year 2004/5. As a co-opted member (rather than an appointed sub-faculty member) there is no automatic need for a replacement, however, the importance of channels of communication between sub-faculty members and the ITC was noted. The committee thanked AC for all his efforts on the committee, especially in communicating its views to the rest of the Department.

8. Next Meeting:Monday 26th April 2004 at 2.00pm in 21 Banbury Road Committee Room

Meeting Closed 3.20pm