This document describes certain aspects of information passing between departments of the University as it affects IT Services users and the timing of the various IT Services Registration processes.

1. Source Data - the University Card

IT Services uses the University Card as the primary source of information about people in the University and from it determines entitlement to services. A copy is taken of certain fields of the University Card database each night. The fields of the card data that are used for this are:

  • card record identifier
  • family name
  • personal name
  • dept
  • college
  • status
  • barcode
  • date of birth
  • course or department code
  • start date of first card
  • completion date of current card

From this, IT Services creates a Single-Sign-on account for all eligible people. For units who don't run their own mailers, this will also give access to their email account and we generate an email address to go with it for each affiliation. See Computing entitlements for what facilities we give which status.

Account information and an Activation Code is put in the internal mail. For staff this is sent to the Department, if there is one, and to the College for students. Undergraduates have the College on their cards and a Course name- they have the course code in the dept field. A table is maintained of a mapping between the 'department' field code (including the course for students) and Units in the Registration database and between Course code and Course name.

The items of information that IT Services are responsible for are:
  • Single sign on account for all qualifying Card holders.
  • Email addresses for the Units for whom IT Services handle mail

On Card renewal,

  • existing accounts are automatically extended to the new Card completion date
  • a primary SSO username is created or resurrected if none is current.
  • status and affiliations are updated
  • new email address are created for the new affiliations
  • new email addresses are created for name changes
  • old affiliations and old names in email addresses are set to expire in 2 months
On Card expiry,
  • access to all accounts is stopped
  • email addresses will work for a further 2 months if forwarding or vacation is set
  • accounts cannot be extended unless the University Card is updated. IT Services are no longer able to extend accounts beyond Card expiry, because of the need to restrict access to site licenced resources which have legal restrictions. (A short extensions of a few days may be possible- to say retrieve old mail.)
  • email addresses which are routed elsewhere, can be extended at the request of IT support, for up to 6 months.

2. What data is obtained from other sources?

The data sources used are:

2.1. Oxford Student System (OSS)

Oxford Student System (OSS) provides the information about the Course for a student for use by Weblearn and departments. The data items we get from OSS are: for courses: course code, course name (3 varieties), course_type, dept. For students- course code, any options ( eg studying Russian), year of course, estimated leaving year, are they finalists?

Projects needing Student data, where the data is merged with IT Services data are: Web Learn (VLE), Oxcort (Tutorial Reporting System), Alumni forwarding, National Student Survey, Departments needing lists eg email addresses of first year lawyers

2.2. Payroll

This is used to provide central admin with staff email addresses and SSO usernames. A table is maintained of a mapping of payroll units to IT Services units.

2.3. ITSS register

List of IT people in Colleges and Departments is maintained by IT Services. A person can have responsibilities in many units. Viewing the Register is only available to people on the Register. A person has to be approved to be on the Register. Privileges are given to people on the Register.

The register also contains registered web managers.

2.4. Depts/Colleges who run their own mailers

Dept and colleges who run their own mailers, provide their email addresses for inclusion on the University Contact Page. IT Services use these lists to register addresses centrally for these depts by matching surname. The departments who currently assign their own email addresses are Clinical Trials Unit, Computing Science, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, Wellcome Trust for Human Genetics.

2.5. Clubs and Societies

Information on Sports Clubs is provided by the Sports Federation and used to authorize Sport Club accounts

Mansfield Road Clubs- authorizing data is from the Club

Proctors Clubs- authorizing data is from the Proctors

3. Who sees/uses what data?

Card data is made available to ITSS only by the permission of the Card Office.

  • Users : Staff and students can see what information we hold about them- usernames, mail routings, TSM registrations, expiry dates.
  • ITSS:
    • real time data for all their own users from restricted ITSS pages http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/its3/
    • overnight downloads of data are written to secure web locations and access granted via the IP address of the registered machine for a unit. The data produced is tailored to the needs of the Unit. This enables ITSS to automate jobs based on the latest data available.
  • Oxford Student System (OSS): take the email address and Oxford username of students and staff
  • GSS and OxCort take the Oxford username and email address overnight. If a Virtual Access card holder has registered an external address via Register an alternative email address , that will be passed to GSS as well.
  • Libraries: take email addresses for everyone for the book ordering system
  • Central admin: take staff email addresses and Oxford usernames
  • Other IT Services services: Course Booking system, WebLearn, OxItems, network services - take Oxford username and email addresses by various means.

4. Timing of Registration processes

Many registration processes are batched and run at certain times of the day. Others eg updating Nexus outgoing sender addresses are effective immediately.

4.1. University Card

Data from the University Card is processes after midnight, Tuesday to Saturday.

4.2. Card dependent jobs

Overnight jobs

  • Creation of Oxford username, SSO and Nexus accounts and email addresses
  • Update existing accounts on Card renewal.
  • Generate lists of affiliation and name changes to be handled manually.
  • Generate data for ITSS, Oxford Student System

At 16.00, Oxford usernames are created for those whose affiliation needed to be changed manually and who did not have a current account. This ensures that letters are sent to the current rather than the previous, address.

4.3. Mailer table updates

For Units for whom IT Services handles mail, the following files are picked up by the Oxmails
  • all legal incoming email address
  • all unit address that are in the final stages of being wound down. Mail to these domains get a tailored response suggesting an alternative if appropriate.
Address changes are effective on the Oxmails after:
  • 07:00
  • 10:00
  • 13:00
  • 16:00
  • 19:00
  • 01:00

This affects both email addresses changes, new addresses and deletions.

4.4. Remote Access accounts- creation and update

Creation or changes to Remote Access passwords and expiry times are effective on the next half hour

4.5. TSM registrations

TSM registration of new machines via Self Registration, changes to existing TSM registrations e.g. password setting, change of contact are effective immediately

Changes from 'weekly to daily' backup may take a day or so, as there are some manual steps.

4.6. University Card expiry warnings

One month prior to card completion date, warnings are sent at 05.35 if an email address is available.

4.7. Account project time warnings

One month prior to project time on Nexus, Remote Access, Help Centre accounts and TSM registrations, warnings are sent between 01.00 and 5.50 if an email address is available.

4.8. Account expiry and deletions

Remote Access accounts are deleted on project time in jobs that run between 05.15 and 05.25

SSO and Nexus accounts are disabled after project time is exceeded. Nexus mailboxes can still receive mail. The owner can longer access the account, however, Forwarding and Vacation messages will continue to function for 2 months. If neither a forward has been set on a Nexus account nor vacation set up, and the University card has expired, an automatic Vacation message will tell the sender that the mail is unlikely to be read. If the person's University Card is updated with a completion date in the future, the account will be available the next day and the automatic Vacation message removed. SSO accounts are deleted 2 months after project time

4.9. Mail delivery for IT Services managed units stops at 2 months after Card completion date

At card expiry plus 2 months, mail delivery will stop and forwarding and vacation will no longer work. This will happen each night. This will also apply to all students at the end of the academic year (except for those we can identify as returning).

4.10. Email address wind down ( for current people)

When a person's University Card affiliation or name changes, the old form is available for a period of 2 months to allow smooth transition to the new email address.

The day after the change is made, the person will be automatically emailed the list of expiring addresses. Two months later, the email address will be automatically deleted.

4.11. Wind-down dates for students ( leaving)

Because, in general, students have the same completion dates, it is possible to publish the dates when these events occur for them. Students on courses which run longer than the standard term, have longer University cards.

Notes on table symbols.

  • (a) End of access to mailbox. Mail is delivered and if a forward is set it will be honoured. From 2011, if neither a forward has been set on a Nexus account nor vacation set up, and the University card has expired, an auto-responder will tell the sender that the mail is unlikely to be read.

  • (b) Number as of 26-july-2012 , from university card data where groups are > 100

  • (c) From 2008, undergraduate university cards were issued only until 30-jun instead of 30-aug as in previous years. Lost or stolen cards were re-issued with the new June end date. The reason was to get a closer correspondence between the card and when the student was 'current' in OSS. Colleges supported it as well as City Council, as it also cancelled the exemption from council tax.

  • (d) From 2011, mail sent to students who did not have a forwarding address set up, generated an auto-response saying mail was unlikely to be read - inactive addresses then became more visible.

  • (d) Trinity 2011. Lateness of Easter mentioned in the Gazette. Biochemistry raised a concern about not being able to contact students by email for vivas- their email addresses were extended for 2 weeks. Not mentioned as an issue in 2012.

Table 1. Undergraduates
Year End End of Trinity 8th Week Card completion date(a) Email address fails -2 months End of Access to OSS -6 months Numbers(b)
2007 16-jun 30-aug-200730-oct-200728-feb-20082690
2007 16-jun 30-sep-200730-nov-200730-mar-2008 333
200814-jun 31-aug-200830-oct-200828-feb-20092721
200814-jun 30-sep-200830-nov-200830-mar-2009320
200919-jun 30-jun-2009(c)30-aug-200930-dec-2009956
200919-jun 31-aug-200930-oct-200928-feb-20101637
200919-jun 30-sep-200930-nov-200930-mar-2010 240
201020-jun 30-jun-2010(c)30-aug-201030-dec-20101253
201020-jun 31-jul-201030-sep-201030-jan-2011 145
201020-jun 31-aug-201030-oct-201028-feb-20111337
201020-jun 30-sep-201030-nov-201030-mar-2011 264
2011 (d)25-jun 30-jun-201130-aug-201130-dec-20112062
201125-jun 31-jul-201130-sep-201130-jan-2012279
201125-jun 31-aug-2011 30-oct-201128-feb-2012507
201125-jun 30-sep-201130-nov-201130-mar-2012 296
201216-jun 30-jun-201230-aug-201230-dec-20122719
2012 16-jun 31-jul-201230-sep-201230-jan-2013 520
2012 16-jun30-sep-201230-nov-201230-mar-2013 390
201315-jun 30-jun-201330-aug-201330-dec-20132885
2013 15-jun31-jul-201330-sep-201330-jan-2014 560
201421-jun30-jun-201430-aug-201430-dec-20142826
201421-jun 31-jul-201430-sep-201430-jan-2015 518
201520-jun 30-jun-201530-aug-201530-dec-20151137
201520-jun 31-jul-201530-sep-201530-jan-2016354

There are two types of postgraduates. Those on taught courses (GT) and those registered for research degrees (GR). Some of those on taught courses have card expiry dates in June in since 2009, but most have dates in Sep and Oct. New students on research programs are now being given 4 and half year cards to cover writing up, taking their viva and having their degree awarded- this is to cover Home Office visa requirements

Table 2. Postgraduates
Card Expiry Postgrad Type Numbers
30-sep-2007GR 404
30-sep-2007GT 1649
30-sep-2008GR 404
30-sep-2008GT 1640
30-jun-2009 (c)GT 582
30-sep-2009GR 319
30-sep-2009GT 1053
30-jun-2010 (c)GT 788
30-sep-2010GR 241
30-sep-2010GT 902
08-oct-2010GR 210
30-jun-2011 (c)GT 666
31-jul-2011GT 573
30-sep-2011GT 978
07-oct-2011GR 205
30-jun-2012 (c)GT 871
31-jul-2012GT 635
30-sep-2012GT 1317
08-oct-2012GR 979
30-jun-2013GT 409
31-jul-2013GT 239
30-sep-2013GT 682
08-oct-2013GR 1136
08-apr-2015GR 1169
08-apr-2016GR 1162

4.12. ITSS/ Webmaster Register

The applicant fills in the web form to register as ITSS or webmaster https://register.it.ox.ac.uk/itss/join_itss_reg. An email is automatically sent to the sponsor (usually the IT Officer for the Unit). The sponsor replies to sysdev@it.ox.ac.uk and as long as the applicant has a current University Card and an email address, they will be added to the ITSS Register. An overnight job adds the applicant to the mailing list itss-announce@maillist.ox.ac.uk and itss-discuss@maillist.ox.ac.uk or web-managers-announce and web-managers-discuss as appropriate.

IT Officers/Webmasters are removed from the Register and the mailing lists, when their University Card expires.

The Register is audited once a year- usually in May.

5. Further information

For further information on any of these processes contact sysdev@it.ox.ac.uk