IT Services



Guidance for common web requirements


The following list suggests OUCS services that are likely to be helpful for the scenario described. It is recommended that you consult your local IT officer to see what assistance is available to you locally and ensure that any services that OUCS may provide are appropriate within the context of your local IT environment. This document should be treated as a starting point and isn't a definitive list of OUCS services - if none of the use cases are entirely appropriate to your situation please contact the Web Design Consultancy for further advice.

I am a tutor and want to publish some course material for my students to see

WebLearn is an OUCS service aimed at supporting teaching and learning in this way. The OUCS website provides information about WebLearn, including ten reasons to use WebLearn.

I want to use the Web to tell people about what I'm doing (research, project, special activity, ...)

The most obvious way to promote your work is to have a website and tell people about it. There are also other thing you might like to consider, such as maintaining a blog about your work. OUCS has also developed OXITEMS, a newsfeed system which allows members of the University to set up newsfeeds and add items to them.

I want to set up a website for my University club/society

OUCS will provide free computing facilities to any student club, society or publication registered with the Proctors, including web publishing. See our page on club usernames for more information. Nexus SharePoint is also available to most clubs and societies.

I am a member of the University and would like a personal website

OUCS offers a web publishing service which offers basic web publishing facilities to University members for free.

I want to publish some audio/video material for widespread viewing

The OUCS Podcasting service enables members of the University to make their audio and video content available to the world. The podcasting team has produced a guide on How to podcast a Oxford.

I want to use the Web for collaboration with others

WebLearn provides facilities for collaborative working on teaching-related activities. Nexus SharePoint will soon be making Microsoft SharePoint available to the University, which will also provide facilities to support collaborative working. You may also find tools such as blogs and wikis useful for collaborative working.

I've got a database (or other source of information) that I want to 'put online'

There are many different approaches that can be taken to making a set of data available online, depending on the nature of the information in question. The Web Design Consultancy would be happy to discuss possible approaches with you. If you wish to design a database for your information, OUCS runs a course on database design which you may find useful.

I've been landed with the task of running a website, but I'm no web guru: help!

The Web Design Consultancy will be happy to meet you to discuss your situation and work out the best way to proceed.

I want to redesign / improve my website

The Web Design Consultancy can provide resources and advice on web design. An advisory meeting or two is free and further assistance can be provided on a cost recovery basis.

I've got a complicated web requirement and want someone else to do it for me

The Web Design Consultancy will be happy to meet you to discuss your project. The WDC may be able to undertake the development of your project, alternatively the WDC can assist you in specifying the requirements for your project and finding a developer to undertake the work.

I want people to be able to find my site easily

One of the most common ways in which people find your website is by searching in a search engine. The process of maximising your site's prominence in searches is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). If you wish to learn more about this area, please contact the Web Design Consultancy Service, who would be happy to talk through the issues with you. You may also wish to consult the University guidance on SEO.

I'm thinking of using a 3rd party service for my website - what should I consider?

OUCS has produced some guidance on assessing third-party IT services. This document focuses on the issue from an OUCS perspective, however many of the issues mentioned remain relevant in the wider University context.

I want to let other people maintain parts of a website that I have overall responsibility for

If you want to devolve responsibility for the maintenance of a website to multiple users then you probably want a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS is a system that provides a framework for managing the content of your website. There are many different systems available, either as licensed products or as open source software. Choosing a CMS that is appropriate for your situation is a complex task. The Web Design Consultancy would be happy to assist you with this. If it is likely that your site would be hosted with NSMS, you may also like to take note of the Content Management Systems which NSMS supports.

I want to control who can access some or all of my website

Depending on the web service you are using there are a range of access controls that you can employ.

For the simple web publishing service you can use '.htaccess' files to limit access to particular people or computers. Information is available in questions 4 and 5 of the FAQ.

If you have a virtual (or dedicated) host and are running Apache or IIS then the OUCS Webauth service can be used to require users to authenticate via Webauth, and also specify which users (or groups of users) should then be permitted access to your account. This provides a very fine-grained control, but only people with an Oxford SSO account will be able to authenticate.

Both WebLearn and SharePoint support access controls, enabling parts of the site to be restricted to specified users or groups of users. In these cases the users would need to be able to login to WebLearn or SharePoint respectively (for many users this simply means having an Oxford SSO account).

I am a web developer and want a hosted web facility that I can develop myself

The NSMS team provides a range of Web hosting services, providing hosting services for a number of platforms and systems.

OUCS also provides a virtual host service for official University subgroups (eg. colleges, departments, and projects).

I want help to run an application on the Web (eg. room booking system)

The OUCS virtual host and NSMS' Web hosting services both offer CGI scripting capabilities suitable for a wide range of applications, if you would like specific guidance then the Web Design Consultancy would be happy to advise you.