eBulletin information technology developments for the University March 2010
The University’s password expiry reminder service is resuming following a short break while technical changes were made.
Staff and students whose passwords are due to expire will receive an email from the IT helpline giving them 30 days notice to change their password. The message will be repeated at intervals until the password is changed.
All staff and students should be aware that these messages are genuine and not phishing attempts. Information Services never asks anyone to email username and password details. An example of the email being sent to staff is shown below:
Improvements are being made to the performance and resilience of the Saturn systems during April. It is expected that these will reduce data transfer times and improve security as well as allowing IS to continue enhancing core systems.
The databases are being moved to new servers between Friday 9 and Monday 12 April. These dates have been agreed to limit disruption. However, as there are around 3,500 Saturn Web users, there may still be some impact.
The Saturn and related systems will be unavailable between 10pm on Friday 9 April and 12pm on Monday 12 April. Some Portal channels will also be affected. Where services have been identified as critical, alternative arrangements have already been made.
There is a possibility of disruption to a minority of systems until Friday 16 April.
Requests for new Saturn Web user accounts made after 4pm Thursday 8 April will be processed from Tuesday 13 April.
The web addresses (URLs) of the web-based Saturn applications will remain the same. However, all current Saturn Web UK users will be sent an email when they can start using their account again. This will include a new password.
This information is also being published on the staff Intranet Portal, the Information Services Status Page and the IS website. The website includes a list of the frontline systems affected.
Requests for support should be made direct to the IT Helpline .
The University has finalised arrangements for its PC and laptop contracts, including extending the contract period from three to four years.
The University currently purchases around 3,000 units a year. Under these new arrangements we have been able to negotiate lower prices and are also in a better position to build longer term relationships and commitment from our suppliers.
Additional benefits include a reduction in the environmental impact of equipment purchased and the safe and secure disposal of equipment at the end of its life.
Under its contract to provide desktop computers, laptops, notebooks and extended warranties, Stone Computers will have a resident engineer at the University acting as a project coordinator and break/fix engineer. It will supply Stone branded PCs and a selection of Samsung and Toshiba laptops. The company already makes deliveries twice a week to the University and this arrangement will now include collections of equipment for return. The Computer Equipment Maintenance Scheme (CEMS) comes into effect on 1 August.
The Microsoft Campus Agreement, which comes into effect on 1 May, has been let to Viglen includes providing advice and guidance on licensing as well as work at home rights.
The contract for accessories, peripherals, desktop printers has been re-let to Insight, while Apple based computer equipment will be supplied by Academia.
Further details will be published on the IS website shortly.
Portal group owners are being encouraged to use the University’s web-based collaboration tool, Workspace, to share documents and information.
Existing groups, currently associated with the Intranet Portal, will be decommissioned during May/June in preparation for upgrading the Intranet Portal over the summer months.
Of almost 1200 groups listed on the Intranet Portal, only around 380 have been used during the past month. Over 600 groups haven’t been used at all during the past year; many of them are Students’ Union/association related.
Where owners can be identified, they will be invited to either delete redundant groups and their files or transfer all live material into Workspace. They will also be recommended to archive older material for future reference.
Group owners will be provided with as much help as necessary over the next two months, explained project manager John Horton. IT Support teams will liaise with Schools for any help needed.
Further help is also available from Professional Development who are running short courses on using Workspace, and introductory and advanced materials have been prepared for those who prefer to teach themselves.
Research groups will find Workspace ideal for collaborative writing which is likely to include contributions from all of their readers. Other benefits include:
- External collaborators can also be included in these groups
- Emails are reduced as are attachments as Workspace offers a comment facility.
Further updates will be published over the coming months.
New teleconference service launched
Saving travel time to attend meetings has never been easier, thanks to the introduction of a new dial-in teleconference service launched by the University.
Costing almost half the price of the current BT MeetMe service, but with similar features, it is hosted externally by MeetingZone.
- no reservations are necessary
- large numbers of people can access the service from around the world
- the teleconference can be recorded at no extra cost
- teleconferences can be controlled through a browser interface as well as by the chairperson’s phone
As well as providing cost and time efficient teleconferencing, the new service supports the University’s Go Greener initiative by saving the need to travel.
Pilot Copy Scan Direct service
A pilot Copy Scan Direct service for distance and part- time learners will launch on 12 April.
Distance learners (on accredited courses), students and academic staff studying or working part-time will be able to request scanned, faxed or photocopies of journal articles or book chapters from items in stock at the following University of Nottingham libraries:
- Business Library
- Djanogly Learning Resource Centre
- George Green Library
- Greenfield Medical Library
- Hallward Library
- James Cameron – Gifford Library
Each scanned or faxed copy of a journal article or book chapter costs £2.50 (plus VAT where applicable). Each photocopy costs £4.00 (plus VAT where applicable).
- Students are exempt from paying VAT
- Members of University staff are liable to pay VAT unless payment is made by departmental account.
Before using the service, all users will be asked to clear any outstanding fines and overdue items.
Any comments and suggestions are always welcome, please email IS Marketing and Communications .