6. Appendix A: Oxford University Information Strategy

An Oxford University Information Strategy would address the following issues:-
  1. Which information is required to fulfil the aims of the University?
    1. Definition of ‘ownership’ of information across the University
  2. Definition of ‘right to information’ — to whom, when, from where? [The White Paper, ‘Future of H.E.’ states in chapter 4, ‘Student choice will increasingly work to drive up quality, supported by much better information’.]
    1. Which information must be available for staff and students, and how should it be organised, shared and not duplicated?
    2. Definition of information service availability
    3. Definition of processes required to present information ‘cohesively’ across the University
  3. Which channels of information flow need to be established?
    1. Specification of requirements on students and staff to define acceptable means of information flow
  4. An over-arching policy below which Records Management, Web Management, Open Access and Freedom of Information Issues and the University Card can be developed [Key issues highlighted within the White Paper].
    1. Specification of the University's position on the UK's e-Government Interoperability Framework, e-GIF, which sets out the government's technical policies and standards for achieving interoperability and information systems coherence across the public sector (http://xml.coverpages.org/egif-UK.html)
  5. Definition of information priorities, given finite resources to invest within the University
  6. Specification of the set of principles defining information to be delivered through the IT infrastructure?
    1. For example, specification of the University's position on Open Source Software (Cambridge and MIT are creating a federation of institutions which use ‘DSPACE’, an open source digital repository system, http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/dspace/)

There is not a consensus, at this stage, whether Oxford needs an Information Strategy to be created. In order to determine whether one is required, it is proposed to collect examples of Information Management within the University, and to investigate whether various activities are related and inter-dependent. If each activity is largely autonomous then there is no advantage in developing over-arching policy or coordination. If information management across the activities is correlated, and if, therefore, there is a risk of duplication of data, planning or policy, then the case for the University to develop an Information Strategy would be significantly strengthened.

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