St Catherine's College Thursday, 22 June 2006


Programme | Workshops | Who's Who? | Registration | 11th (2006) ITSSC Home Page

Workshop List

ID no. Topic/theme Presenter Presentation
Workshop Description
01 Institutional Repository Neil Jefferies, SERS pdf slides
The current Eprints repository ( will be moving to a new platform with improved performance and user interface. This session (hopefully) will demonstrate the new system and discuss the future of Institutional Repositories within Oxford.
02 Multi-Platform Thin Clients for the IT Centre Mike Parin & John Ireland, Jesus college pdf slides
Combing technologies such as the Linux Terminal Server Project, Windows Terminal Server and the X Window System, we have developed a workstation solution that allows diskless (or very thin) clients to network boot, and provide login sessions to both Linux and Windows environments. This will run on standard PC hardware, requires minimal maintenance overhead, and can also be extended to run on student's own personal computers.

This workshop will describe the technologies, and how they are combined or configured to provide the working system.
03 Library Management System Mark Round, ICT Support Team pdf slides
This August sees the replacement of the existing Library Management System. This workshop is intended to inform IT staff on how things are changing for readers, staff and library managers from a technical perspective. It will also have some detail on the chosen server infrastructure for the new system.
04 Thin Clients for Library Systems Neil Jefferies, SERS pdf slides
With the upcoming launch of the new Web-based LMS and the transition of OxLIP to a Citrix platform, library services can now be delivered via Thin Clients. This workshop will look at the solution chosen (Sun Rays), the reasons why, and outline the technical challenges in bringing the system to production.
05 Research Computing Facilities in Oxford David Wallom et. al. pdf slides
As scientific problems continue to grow in both scale and complexity (as well as increasingly blurring the lines between disciplines) Oxford must offer computational and data facilities which are of a scale suitable to allow competitive research to be undertaken.

We outline four University facilities tasked to ensure that this happens:
The Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC), a new department for the coordination of interdisciplinary, computationally based research within the University.
OSC (Oxford Supercomputing Centre), which will be joining forces with OeRC this summer shortly before a period of large expansion of its facilities.
OxGrid, the University's new Campus Grid service
The University also hosts one of the core nodes of the National Grid Service (NGS)

This workshop is comprised of four mini-presentations describing these facilities (OeRC, OSC, OxGrid and NGS). Each will outline the facilities on offer and the methods which Oxford researchers can use to gain access. The aim is to disseminate information concerning these projects to departmental and college IT officers who work with research staff and to help them support those users.
06 Introduction to Project Management Mark Norman, OUCS pdf handout
Come and hear about the basics of project planning. If you have to plan work - from research projects to 'implementation' work - this short talk is for you. A few procedures are almost impossible to plan, but most tasks are fairly predictable: find out how to plan with the unpredictable in mind.
07 The Enhanced Computing Environment - what's happening in Libraries, Central Admin and Computing Services. Andrew Hynes, OUCS pdf slides
This workshop will give an overview of the ECE project and where it has got to in terms of project planning and requirements analysis. We will talk a bit about the ICT Support Team and their plans for Integration, remote management and automation of the existing services in order to keep the ECE at the cutting edge of excellence in the HE Sector.
08 Making RSS newsfeeds work for your department/college Barry Cornelius, OUCS pdf slides
pdf handout
During the last six months, Computing Services has developed a newsfeed system for the University of Oxford (called OXITEMS). The main aims of this workshop are:
to explain why newsfeeds are important for your department/college;
to demonstrate how easy it is to use OXITEMS to produce news items;
to demonstrate how news items can be displayed on a web page or delivered through RSS.
The workshop will also look at some of the issues involved in producing a devolved institutional newsfeed system.
09 VREs Ruth Kirkham and John Pybus pdf slides
The JISC funded 'Building a Virtual Research Environment for the Humanities' (BVREH) focuses on the humanities division at Oxford, identifying areas where Virtual Research tools would be beneficial, both at Oxford and in a wider context. The project has carried out a detailed survey of research activities across the division forming the basis for the selection of a number of tools which, implemented as demonstrators, will enable the project to provide the community with tangible ideas of how their needs might be addressed and to begin a phase of user testing.

The demonstrators currently planned include:
 A 'Virtual Workspace for the study of Ancient Documents' an interface allowing browsing and searching of multiple image collections, including tools to compare and annotate the researcher's personal collection;
 An environment that integrates resources from across multiple humanities disciplines related to a particular time period.
 Research Discovery - resources and information about research and research interests across the humanities division within the institution;
 Physical tools such as communication and novel user interface devices such as digital pen and paper (Anoto) and Personal Interface to the Access Grid (PIG).

The workshop will provide an update of the BVREH progress to date and will detail how existing databases and systems could integrate with a VRE. The project is enthusiastic to work alongside divisional IT staff to link together existing knowledge and build coherent, connected tools.
10 ITSS Wiki Malcolm Austen, OUCS To the wiki ⇒
This will be a very basic introduction for those who have little or no previous experience with Wikis. It should leave someone who has never used a Wiki before in a position to use and contribute to the ITSS Wiki
11 Mobile Computing Mark Round, ICT Support Team pdf slides
It has now been 10 years since the libraries first started allowing readers access to network resources from their own computers. This workshop will take a look at the rationale for the existing system and how it is likely to change in the future.
12 Career Development for ITSS Jane Littlehales (given by Tony Brett due to illness), OUCS pdf slides
For those newer to Oxford IT Support, a look at the opportunities, schemes, organisations, facilities and training possibilities open for career development, professional development and training.
13 What goes Where with Web at Oxford? Trevor Barton, University Web Officer pdf slides
This session will be both collaborative and informative. It looks at the current formal arrangements for Web publishing at Oxford and what some of the currently proposed changes to that model are in the drafted ICT Strategy. With this as a backdrop there will be a brainstorming session on what sorts of resources and structures you would like to see 'in the middle' to support web publishing at a level local to you. Should there be a web sub-group of the proposed ICT Forum? Should there be a more open membership on the Web Strategy Group (the body that publishes Policy on websites formally belonging to Oxford)? Should there be a web-managers-discuss WMD conference? Do you want to see document naming conventions in the web standards published by the Web Strategy Group?
14 WebLearn: Recent innovations and summer release. The rise of MyWebLearn - an individual's opportunity for resource creation. Paul Davies, OUCS Was, but no longer, in Weblearn
WebLearn is the university's central VLE which is available within the University to use free of charge. Ideally suited for holding material associated with teaching or research, it also allows departments and colleges to quickly set up their own small intranet. This facility will be extended in the summer to each individual who can set up restricted access to their own resources through the introduction of My WebLearn. WebLearn is an easy to use system that allows staff and students to quickly upload material to the web, and to control access to it. It also allows you to track who accesses the material, and use tools such as discussion areas, feedback forms, surveys, multiple choice tests, log books and so on. Enhancements over the last year include capability for identification of survey respondents, totally anonymous surveys, multiple answer responses, event tracking and enhanced ease of use.
15 Plone in the Medical Sciences Division Anne Bowtell, Medical Sciences  
An overview of our deployment of the Plone Content Management System ( This talk aims to explain what the system does for us and what we hope it will be able to do in the future. It should provide a general introduction for anyone interested in Plone and its pros and cons.
16 Wireless Services Update Oliver Gorwits, OUCS pdf slides
Oliver will look at what has been delivered so far to wireless users within the University, and what is expected to come over the next year. There will be consideration of various wireless technologies, and their relative suitability in a collegiate university environment. Although not a deeply technical workshop, attendees should have a basic understanding of wireless networking standards.
17 Using Identity Management to automate user creation, Flying Pigs? Lyn Waddington, OUCS  
Federating data and identities amongst groups who are separate administratively is difficult technically and politically. No one wants their data sources "tampered" with or exposed to strangers, nor to wash our linen publicly. How many of us can honestly say that all our users are extant, all data is consistent internally and externally between systems? Was that a flying pig?

This session provides a model using Identity Manager versions 2 and 3 to create a metadirectory, a large selective data pool, to share data across administrative boundaries and to keep data clean and consistent in a timely manner.

Secured exchanges and strong control of which data is touched and in which direction it flows are essential requirements as are platform independence and standards compliance. The desired results are that clients can access information from many platforms, data ownership remains intact and secure, and the scheme restricts who can see what. The model is derived from a current development project for the ICT team.
18 Installing Request Tracker 3.4 Ray Miller, OUCS pdf slides
Request Tracker (RT) is an enterprise-grade ticketing system that enables a group of people to intelligently and efficiently manage tasks, issues, and requests submitted by a community of users.

In this talk, we give a brief overview of RT, explain the requirements for deploying an RT service, and look in detail at installing and configuring the RT software on a GNU/Linux platform. We will cover setting up a PostgreSQL database for RT, configuring Apache's mod_perl interpreter or FastCGI handler for RT, and integrating RT with your email system.
19 VoIP at Oxford, it's easy isn't it? Alan Hillyer, OUCS pdf slides
Subject to alteration, this seminar will cover:
  • what VoIP is
  • A few numbers on traffic here on the voice network, minutes in, out and internal.
  • View of network diagram with the 21 switches etc
  • Update on what we have done with IP over the last 9 months.
  • The challenges facing us at Oxford with VoIP regarding the devolved nature of networks
  • SIP
  • The proposed cisco trial
  • Questions
20 Web Security: Both Sides of the Paradigm Michael Taylor, Finjan  
With the proliferation of web threats, reactive security technologies do not provide companies enough protection. Malware comes streaming through firewalls and other defenses like a sieve. A layered defense using both pro-active, behavior-based security technologies along with traditional, signature-based security technologies is currently the best protection.
21 Quicktime Streaming Stuart Anderson, Apple pdf slides
Stuart is a Senior Systems Engineer specialising in Server, Storage, Quicktime Streaming and OS X architecture and Web Technologies and brings a wealth of education experience to the table. He will be talking about QuickTime Streaming and how this can be integrated into existing content delivery systems including Podcasting.

Programme | Workshops | Who's Who? | Registration | 11th (2006) ITSSC Home Page

ITSSG, 21 July 2006