8. Piloting a Core User Directory
Oxford University has many databases in different departments and colleges containing personal data about students and staff. All IT users, from students checking email to HR staff updating records, depend on reliable and consistent data. The same data is often stored in many different places and managed by different people, causing all sorts of problems, such as the person whose date of birth or change of affiliation has been recorded inconsistently so that they cannot access their email account or other IT facility.
OUCS is currently running a pilot for the Core User Directory (CUD) project, aiming to bring greater coherence to the way the Collegiate University manages personal data. The Core User Directory enables integrated management of information shared by two or more parts of the University and databases across the University will be able to use the CUD as a point of reference and integrity-check. CUD does not aim to replace existing databases but to enable more effective management of common data, by providing a single and unique identifier for individuals thus reducing time wasted in inadvertent duplication.
The Office of the Director of IT has set up a working party with broad representation across the University which is currently supervising the pilot implementation. The pilot, aiming to be implemented by Easter, will demonstrate the feasibility of building a CUD by combining dynamically existing data feeds provided by the University Card database, the Student Records System, and the OUCS Registration Database, along with sample college and departmental databases. More information