Title of Service: Network News

Status of Document: This document describes services offered in June 2011.

1. Introduction

The network news service provides reliable, high-speed access to a wide range of Usenet newsgroups, including a number of Oxford-specific groups that are only available through this service.

The service includes:
  • maintenance and operation of a local Usenet news server.
  • administration of “Oxford” newsgroups, including newsgroup creation.

The service is accessible by any computer connected to the University network (including through the VPN) using the NNTP protocol which is supported by several standard email clients (eg. Thunderbird). Suitable clients are also available on linux.ox, eg. trn.

This service is owned by the Systems Development and Support Section Manager and the service in its current form has been available since 1999.

A full service description is available from http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/services/news/.

1.1. User Support

Documentation for users is available at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/netnews/.

User support for the service is provided through a combination of local IT Support (via local ITSS) and OUCS.

Users should seek support from their local ITSS in the first instance. Local ITSS may refer a user to OUCS, or contact OUCS on behalf of a user. Users and ITSS may always contact OUCS about any aspect of the service.

The initial point of contact for user support at OUCS is the Help Centre - in person, by telephone, or using our contact form.

2. Summary of OUCS’s responsibilities

Hours of Service

2.1 The service is offered as follows:

  • 9am - 5pm on weekdays: the service operates with full technical support.
  • All other times: the service operates without technical support. Automated service monitoring will take place, and informal arrangements exist for staff to be notified of exceptions, however no funding is provided for contractual cover or guaranteed response.
  • Exclusions: service maintenance carried out during the JANET maintenance period (7am - 9am every Tuesday).

2.2 OUCS will commence investigation of reported faults within one hour when full technical support is available (provided that no similar fault is already being handled by the same team).

Service Level Targets

2.3 It is intended, as far as is possible, to maintain service availability at all times apart from exclusions listed under 2.1, however there are no formal targets.

Disaster Recovery

2.4 This service is classified as "non-critical" to University business and will be recovered gradually. This may take more than 72 hours.

2.5 A backup schedule is in place, covering system data and local newsgroups (ox.*). This is sufficient for complete service recovery as other newsgroup data will be populated from peer sites.

2.6 Users would be able to access Usenet through a web gateway or by connecting to an alternative news server during a local interruption.

Administration and Support

2.7 OUCS is responsible for all service administration and service support.

2.8 Notification of scheduled maintenance, service disruption, and other information of general interest in relation to the service will be circulated on the itss-announce mailing list. Service status will normally be reported on http://status.ox.ac.uk/.

2.9 Support requests and fault reports relating to the service should be sent to the OUCS Help Desk.

3. Summary of Client’s Responsibilities

3.1 Users are responsible for ensuring that this service is suitable for their needs.

3.2 Use of this service is subject to, and implies, acceptance of any applicable regulations, including but not limited to:

3.3 Users should report any defect, malfunction, or performance degradation of the service promptly to enable remedial action to be taken.

3.4 Users must provide their own news reader software and suitable network connectivity.

3.5 Users should observe general rules of "netiquette". An introduction aimed at Usenet users is available at .

3.6 Users must be aware that posted articles are visible world-wide, and should consider carefully the impression that readers will form, both of them and of the University. They should also bear in mind the legal constraints that may apply to material they publish by this means.

4. Premium Services

None applicable.