7. OTHER SERVICES
During the year, 19 different User Guides (12,400 copies, made up of 253,050 printed pages), 35 separate User Registration/ Information documents (consisting of 134,050 printed pages) and 95 departmental administrative printing jobs (consisting of 419,925 printed pages) were produced in-house. This amounted to an increase of 15% on internal jobs handled and 27% on internal printed pages, over the 1994/95 throughput. In addition to this, external work continued to grow, by 10%, to 86 external jobs completed during the year (made up of 464,105 printed pages, an 8% increase on 94/95). Most of this increase in external work came from previous customers necessarily seeking high quality finished output at reasonable cost; inevitably this external throughput will continue to grow. The income derived from external work also increased to £21,745, a further 3% increase on top of last year's 15% record breaking increase. See Figure 30.
Productivity increases of this magnitude have only been possible because of the Print
Manager's application coupled with the advanced scheduling system, which enables each job
to be pre-booked for completion by a certain date - with similar job input commitments upon
the customer. The resultant reductions in "lost" (waiting) time permitted the total printed page
throughput to be increased to 1,271,130 pages, an increase of 20% over the previous year
(and that was 20% for the second year running).
The Data Centres in 1 South Parks Road and 17 Banbury Road have had only minor changes
in hardware over the year. They still contain "dumb" terminals, X terminals, printers and
plotters. There has been an increase in usage of 17 Banbury Road during the early hours of
the morning, mainly by undergraduates. Security has been the main worry and a security
camera has been introduced.
The building works on 15, 17 and 19 Banbury Road will allow us to extend the Data Centre to
include Pcs, if we can solve the security problems, but also to integrate the Centre with other
facilities, like the LaRC.
Given the number of new Unix usernames created on OUCS systems, it may be thought that
there is no need for OUCS to promote its services. However, the Unix service is but one
aspect of the services OUCS offer, and OUCS believes that it is important that both existing
and potential customers are fully aware of the expanding range of services on offer. The
OUCS Introductory Pack, produced and distributed in large numbers throughout the year, is
one way of achieving this.
This Introductory Pack was re-designed to include a smart A4 brochure called Guide to
Services. It gave quite a lot of detail about the full range of services offered by OUCS and
included photographs with a large picture of the front of the building on the cover. 5,000
were distributed. Inside the Guide to Services there was also a sheet giving details about how
to register for the OUCS services and a copy of the OUCS Computer Rules. The Course
Summaries booklet and Course Booking form were also distributed to all departments and
colleges regularly throughout the year. All the information in the brochure and the booklet, as
well as the Rules and dates of courses, are available on the Web. A series of articles has also
been produced for inclusion in the University Gazette, together with items in a number of
other University publications which outline in general what OUCS can offer. These appear to
have been well received.
Steps were also taken to ensure that students are made aware of the range of facilities
available to them at Oxford, by sending information to them all (through their colleges) prior
to their arrival, with further information being provided to colleges to assist in their student
The Staff Induction session provided by the University Staff Development Office has a section
about OUCS, and we are happy to provide similar general introductory sessions for individual
departmental induction courses.
There are four UK National Computing Centres offering specialised and high performance
computing facilities, for which OUCS acts as "broker". These are:
University of London Computing Centre (ULCC):
- vector processing (Convex 3860 - closed on 31-Jul-96);
Manchester Computing (MC):
- vector processing (Fujitsu VPX);
- datasets service (Midas);
Atlas Centre, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL):
- vector processing (Cray YMP);
Edinburgh Regional Computing Centre (ERCC):
- parallel processing (Cray T3D);
Essex Data Archive.
Time on the vector-processing machines is allocated for large projects (Class 1) by the
Research Councils, but small projects (Class 3 - less than 20 hours per year) are allocated by
the national centres themselves on application through OUCS.
The use of the Midas datasets service is steadily increasing, with 25 Oxford users registered at
the end of July. The main area of interest is the Census data.
7.5CTI Support Service
OUCS provides office accommodation and administrative support to the CTI Support Service
(CTISS) and the administrative office of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT).
These are useful links, of which little has been made in the past. However, the increasing
interest and developments in the use of computers in teaching, at Oxford and nationally (eg
through the Teaching & Learning Technology Programme), has induced OUCS to provide
more support for the use of IT in teaching throughout the University (see section 5.5); the
associations with CTISS and ALT are henceforth likely to become much more valuable.
7.6Other Services to Local and National Groups
In addition to all the services directed towards end-users of IT facilities, a number of OUCS
staff are committed to the support of various local and national committees and organisations,
in furtherance of the broader goals of use of IT within the University. Locally, these activities
include participation in and support of the work of committees such as the IT Committee, its
Technical Review Group, Network Advisory Group, Equipment Group, IT Security &
Privacy Group, Ethernet Group, UNIS Steering Group, and Information Sharing and
Common Standards Working Group; the Academic Computing Services Committee; the
Committee on Automated Library Services; the Datasets Working Party; the
Telecommunications Committee; the Administrative Information Services Committee; the
University Card Working Party; the University IT Users' Group; the Colleges' IT Group; the
Computing in the Arts Committee; the Risk Management Group; the Heads of Science
Committee; the Staff Committee; and the Research and Equipment Committee. In
additional, some staff are involved in various Departmental, Faculty and College committees.
Nationally, OUCS staff are involved in the Research Universities' Group for IT (RUGIT); NAG Ltd; the South-East Region Computer Users' Committee (SERCUC); the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA), and the following of UCISA's sub-groups: the Teaching, Learning & Information Group, and the Staff Development Group; the JNT Association (which runs Janet); and, the UKOLN Advisory Council.