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Durham University

Computing and Information Services

ITS news: complete issue


‘New Look’ web site

Many of you will know that over the last several months there has been a major project to re-develop the University web site, which will provide a new design and an improved structure. As part of this project the ITS will have a new look. We are using the opportunity to review the structure and content of the site, and welcome any comments regarding navigation, appearance, usefulness of the information, etc. Of course, we would also like to know if you spot anything which is incorrect or out-of-date. To comment on the site, please use the ‘Comments and Feedback Form’ available from the footer area of every page, selecting the appropriate option. (You will see that you can also use the form to send a query on any IT matter to the ITS Helpdesk.)

(25 Oct 2004)

Access to external databases and e-journals

The WWW enables you to access a large number of resources such as databases and e-journals that are located around the world. Some of these resources are freely available whereas others are restricted in their access.
When the access to a resource is restricted, there is one mechanism that is frequently used by providers to control the access to their resources: they often use an authentication service called Athens.

During Summer 2004, the ITS and the Library have simplified the way in which Athens-protected resources are accessed.

Access to the Athens-protected resources is controlled in two ways. Some resources have to be accessed from a computer that is on the University's network. If you are working elsewhere, e.g., from home using an Internet Service Provider (ISP), you will not be able to access these resources directly. However, for some of these resources, an off-site user can send their request through a specific computer at the University (called a proxy computer) and in this way he/she can pretend to be on-site.

In order to do this, you will need to need to authenticate with the proxy computer using your ITS username and password.

Other Athens-protected resources control access by asking you to type in a username and password (no matter whether you are at the University or off-site). Until recently, each user at the University, besides having an ITS username and password, also had a separate username and password for Athens-protected resources. However, during Summer 2004, Athens Devolved Authentication was introduced at the University.

This means that you will now not normally have an Athens password. Instead, if you wish to authenticate for a password-protected resource, you will be led through a University of Durham WWW page that enables you to use your ITS username and password to authenticate.

No matter which method is being used to control access to the resource, the easiest way of accessing any Athens-protected resource is to go to and either click on DATABASES or search the OPAC for the e-journal you wish to access. If you use the links provided by the Library, most of these detailed issues about how you get to the resource will be hidden from you.

For more information about Athens-protected resources and the changes made during Summer 2004, go to:

(25 Oct 2004)


Spyware is programming that is put on a computer to secretly gather information about the user and relay it to advertisers or other interested parties. Spyware can get in a computer as a software virus or as the result of installing a new program.
The number of reported instances of ad/spyware infecting machines is steadily increasing. All users are advised to install Spybot on their PCs.

You are also advised to search Google prior to installing any software you have downloaded e.g. a search for "searchforit" brings back results that indicate that this utility is adware and should not be installed.

Spybot can be downloaded from:

(25 Oct 2004)

All Fields Postcode Directory

All Fields Postcode Directories are now available for download through the UKBORDERS service and currently cover 1981, 1991, 1998 and 2001-present.
These are complete versions of current and historical postcode directories and include details of other geographies for each postcode (e.g. electoral ward, health authority etc.). A grid reference for the postcode is provided and can be used to geo-reference your own dataset.

Go to and under Data, register for UKBORDERS. Once registered, to connect to the service, use the link from the from the same page.

(25 Oct 2004)

ArcGIS – 9.0

ESRI’s flagship product ArcGIS has been updated to version 9.0. This has been installed on the Networked PC service (NPCS) and is available for loan to staff and students who have purchased a licence. Licence costs are available from:

Noteworthy changes include:

  • Full raster support in the personal geodatabase
  • ModelBuilder for designing and implementing geoprocessing models
  • ArcToolbox dockable window
  • Command line window
  • Script to automate repetitive task using Python, VB Script or Jscript.

For help with GIS please contact the Helpdesk in the first instance.

(25 Oct 2004)



The University of Durham is a member of the British Universities Film and Video Council.The BUFVC is a representative body which promotes the production, study and use of film and
related media in higher and further education and research.
The BUFVC run an Information Service, which maintains a library, the HERMES and Television Index databases and answers members' enquiries.

The BUFVC, in association with the Open University, is establishing a Managing Agent to acquire and promote the use of electronic moving picture and sound resources in the evolving Distributed National Electronic Resource (DNER).

Operating alongside the Managing Agent is an Advisory Service providing information on the technical aspects regarding the delivery of moving picture and sound resources for HE/FE on-line.

As a member University we are entitled to use all of the services provided by the BUFVC including the television recording back-up service. Further details about this service can be obtained from

As well as publishing the quarterly journal ‘Viewfinder’, the BUFVC organises one-day courses on aspects of moving images and education. To view a list of current courses and to find out more about the benefits of our membership of the BUFVC see:

(25 Oct 2004)

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

The terms ‘Business Continuity’ and ‘Disaster Recovery’ are very much used phrases in the world of IT currently. Although the financial effect on its business may not be so immediately obvious within the University context, increasing dependence on information systems which operate on a ‘24 x 7’ basis is the expectation in many quarters. Over the last year ITS has made strides in establishing load sharing and resilience across a range of core services and this summer we have taken a further step to improve provision in the area of Disaster Recovery.
ITS has now taken delivery of an additional Network Attached Storage system. This system is designed to complement the main clustered filers, hudson and stevens, and to act as a Disaster Recovery system in the event of a major malfunction within the main computer room. Housed in a separate building the system, known as parker, will provide replicas of the main filer storage and file system snapshots for an extended period back in time. It will also provide auxiliary storage for less critical data as well as forming the basis of a revised backup service.

In addition ITS is planning to move some servers for core services such as web, directory services and email into the additional machine room, which will be operated as part of the existing service and part of our business continuity programme.

(25 Oct 2004)

Campus Card Photograph Service


ITS now offers the facility for colleges and departments to request copies of Campus Card photographs. These photographs can be of staff and/or students. The photographic images and personal data must be used only for the purposes of University administration. Any colleges and departments requiring photographs must agree to the University regulations regarding the use of Campus Card photographs. These regulations can be found at
Photographs can be supplied on a CD or as printed output.

All requests must go through the ITS Helpdesk and a request form must be completed. The requests must be authorised by the Head of the College or Department.
Photographs can be requested using a set of criteria:

Students by:

  • Department
  • Departmental module
  • Program code
  • Undergraduate
  • Postgraduate
  • Continuation
  • Year of study

Staff by:

  • Department
  • College
  • Status

Photographs can also be extracted using a host of usernames or student numbers.


  • Printed output with photograph and user’s name - £125.00 per request
  • Images only on a CD or DVD - £50.00 per request
  • Printed contact sheet (A3) with smaller images - £75.00

For further information contact the ITS Helpdesk.

(25 Oct 2004)

CD and DVD Writing Facilities

There are two dedicated CD Writer machines available for transferring files to CD and two Video Capture machines with DVD-RW drives. These PCs are located in CM131 (Computing Centre, Durham) and in the IRC, Queen's Campus. In addition CDRW drives have been installed on these NPCS machines: - Main Library Level 2 PC-282 - Main Library Level 3 PC-65 - Palace Green Library PC-01 - Elvet Riverside Reading Room PC-14 You must observe Copyright Law when using the CD and DVD copying facilities. *What* *you* *can't* *do*: - Copy any copyright © material, unless you own the copyright or have permission from the copyright owner - Copy games, software or audio CDs or DVDs - Make compilations of audio CDs. Both civil and criminal liabilities can arise as a result of copying any material covered by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. *What* *you* *can* *do*: - Copy freeware applications - Copy your own files from Unix or your j: drive

(25 Oct 2004)

Changes at Queen's Campus, Stockton-on-Tees

There are now only five ITS NPCS classrooms since the removal from service of B101 and B102. These are B01, B02, D025, D026, D027 as well as the IRC area where the Helpdesk is located. Rooms D025 and D026 are now also fully air-conditioned.
The IRC will be open for longer hours this coming academic year (term-time):
Mon -Thurs    08.45 - 22.00
Friday        08.45 - 20.00
Saturday      10.00 - 17.00
Sunday        13.00 - 17.00

(25 Oct 2004)

Comings and goings

Brian Lander, Head of Network Infrastructure Services (NIS) retired from the University at the end of September. Brian has demonstrated enthusiasm, commitment and dedication during his 36 years of service with the ITS, and has held responsibility for operations, telecoms, technical services, and networking.

We say a fond farewell to Brian and wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement – he will be missed by all his friends and colleagues in ITS and across the University.

Retirement Presentation to B Lander in September 2004

Tom Turnbull has been appointed Acting Head of NIS, and takes over from Brian Lander until this position is permanently filled.

Scott Miller joined the ITS at the beginning of August as Head of E-Learning and Web Services. This is a new post that takes responsibility for the Learning Technologists and Web Team.

Christine Hill and Stephen Applegarth are working 50% as IT Consultants in an Oracle support role, and continue in their existing Operations roles for the remaining 50% of their time.

Tim Cochrane started work in Operations on a one year contract to provide maternity leave cover.

Good luck to all in their new challenges!

(25 Oct 2004)

Digimap Ordnance Survey data

The IT Service have signed up for and funded the new Digimap agreement to continue providing digital Ordnance Survey map data to University staff and students. Digimap provide online mapping, or data download for more advanced use. Data are available for academic and limited business use (e.g. open day maps).
The agreement includes access to the following new data:

  • Land-Form PROFILE Contours & Digital -- Terrain Model 1:10 000
  • Colour Raster 1:10,000
  • Colour Raster 1:25,000

All data available with the original agreement are also included:

  • Land-Line 1:1250/1:2500/1:10 000
  • Land-Form PANORAMA Contours & Digital Terrain Model 1:50 000
  • Meridian 2 1:50 000
  • Colour Raster 1:50 000
  • Strategi 1:250 000
  • Gazetteer 1:50,000
  • Code-Point with polygons

Example maps and registration details are at:

(25 Oct 2004)

Domain Name Service

The ITS provides a domain name service for research groups within the University. As well as supplying the normal run of domain names, we can now provide domain names. However, there are a number of eligibility conditions which need to be met.
If you are interested in purchasing a domain name for your research group you can find out more about these conditions by visiting:

Further information regarding the domain name service can be found at:

(25 Oct 2004)

Duo access for Freshers

Following the success of last year’s trial access for Freshers, all new students have been created an account in duo, available to them from the release of ‘A’ levels through up to the start of term. Each new student sees their college space, departmental student info sites and a ‘Freshers’ organisation which contains a broad range of information and links collated by the Academic Office, ITS, Library and Admissions Student Support. Feedback suggests this is a great way to make the new students feel they belong to Durham as soon as they receive confirmation of their place, and they are not above sharing their feelings with their fellows!

(25 Oct 2004)

Duo documentation / help

Over the course of this term, the Learning Technologies Team will be updating the documentation for duo to take into account new features. There will be two main aspects to changes. We are trying to provide bite-sized chunks of information which cover exactly the things you want to know, rather than have to search longer documents; and we are beginning to create short animated tutorials as additional visual guides to complement text-only materials.

Topics already available include changing the design of your course menu, adding new menu buttons, archiving discussion forums and publishing simple tests. All these tutorials can be found on the Instructors tab.

Remember, if you are stuck, you can email the dedicated email address:

(25 Oct 2004)

Duo showcase and conference

Many thanks to the presenters and attendees of the second duo showcase held in June. This was a successful day, and we hope that it was enjoyable. Further chances to see good practice will be available throughout the academic year as part of the Teaching and Learning Forum, starting with a presentation of the summary data from the evaluation of duo carried out across campus in May 2004. This December will also see the 5th annual conference for users of the Blackboard software in the UK and beyond, this year entitled ‘Interactive Blackboards’. We hope that staff will be able to attend some of the sessions, so please keep an eye out for more information.

Web-based surveys

Those of you who completed a duo evaluation form last term will have noticed a different layout. Learning Technologies Team have trialled and now purchased a licence to use the ‘Bristol Online Surveys’ tool,

As well as the duo evaluation, this software has also been used for the Student Experience Survey and the C&IT Skills Audit of graduates. There is no complicated set-up or technical knowledge required – you don’t even have to know how to write a web page. If you want to create a simple survey, see a graphical view of the results and download a .csv file of the data, please contact the Learning Technologies Team to find out if BOS is appropriate for you.

Kate Boardman

C&IT Skills Audit of students entering the University The annual Communication and Information Technology skills audit is being carried out during registration of new first years. This is following on from the audits carried out since 2000 requested by the Joint Working Group of the Teaching and Learning Committee and Information Strategy Committee. The aim of the audit is to determine the current level of C&IT literacy of students entering the University and enables the identification of areas where C&IT skills and confidence are low.

A report following this audit will be available later in the year and as in previous years, results will be made available to those departments that request them relating to their particular students. If you require this information, please contact:

A copy of the questionnaire and summary statistics for all first years will be available shortly from the Learning Technologies Team web page. For information on previous years audits please visit:

Juliette Pavey


A Sport & Exercise Physiology Level 1 module which made use of duo for the integration of a series of ‘e-tivities’ has recently had an evaluation paper of the project published. The ‘e-tivities’ included formative quizzes, interactive web pages and animations, topic discussions and an online lecture. Pavey, J and Garland, S.W. (2004) The integration and implementation of a range of ‘e-tivities’ to enhance students’ interaction and learning in Innovations in Education and Teaching International, Vol.41, No.3, August 2004.

Conferences attended

The 12th Improving Student Learning Conference: 'Inclusivity and Diversity', 6-8th Sept, Birmingham.  Victoria Boyd and Juliette Pavey from LTT along with Dr Barbara Newland from Bournemouth University presented a research seminar on 'Influencing inclusive practice: the role of VLES'. Kate Boardman presented a paper at the University of Bristol's 4th Annual National VLE Conference 'Thinking Outside the VLE Box: Innovative and creative ideas for improving the student experience', 21st June, entitled 'Gift-wrapping the box'. This explored the increasing provision in duo of Freshers, Library and Careers resources.

Further extension of duo beyond learning materials was shared at the 2nd Blackboard European Users Conference, held in Barcelona on October 12th and 13th. Kate Boardman talked about the new functionality in duo, in E-portfolios - the Personal Development Planning solution?' Malcolm Murray presented a paper discussing the tools he has developed to manage, deliver and analyse end-of term course evaluations and postgraduate students' annual review. He also led a session on behalf of Blackboard talking delegates through the first steps in creating Building Block modules.

Also at the European Blackboard Conference the new logo for Blackboard was launched, see right. Look out for it being used to advertise the Durham Blackboard Conference in December!

(25 Oct 2004)

EndNote - New Site Licence

ITS and the Geography Department are pleased to announce a site licence for EndNote.
EndNote 8 is bibliographic software for Windows XP which has:

  • New Unicode support, which can simplify working with multi-lingual text, maths symbols or other technical characters
  • Virtually unlimited storage capacity for larger records and libraries
  • Enhancements to EndNote's compatibility with Palm®OS handhelds.

This is a 3 year, jointly-funded, initiative between the two departments and ITS are very grateful to the Geography Department for all of their help and support throughout the negotiations.

For further details of how you can sign up to this agreement please see:

(25 Oct 2004)

EnSuite Online Expands

During the summer ITS has undertaken a substantial programme of work to cable out college accommodation. As a result, over 1000 more network points will be available across the University raising the total number of EnSuite Online network points over the 5500 mark.
In addition to the installation of the physical cabling infrastructure, ITS has reconfigured the University network to logically separate the EnSuite Online network from the administrative network in the Colleges through the use of virtual lans (VLANs).

A new streamlined registration system for EnSuite Online users has been implemented during the summer vacation. The new system:

  • Allows users to register connections from within their rooms
  • Captures machine addresses automatically, removing the need to type in long MAC addresses
  • Processes registrations immediately, eliminating delays associated with overnight processing.

Finally, ITS has produced a new version of the EnSuite Online setup CD including a completely rewritten version of the netset automatic configuration utility. netset is an easy to use setup utility, developed in house by ITS, to enable users to straightforwardly configure a machine for use on the University of Durham EnSuite Online network.

Further information about the EnSuite Online service can be found online at:

(25 Oct 2004)

Erdas Imagine 8.7

The latest version of Erdas Imagine image processing software is now installed on the Networked PC Service, and the CDs are available for loan to those who have purchased a licence. Licences cost £200 p.a. for departments, and £50 for students. Add-on modules are also available, including LPS ATE (Automatic Terrain Extraction) which costs £795.

(25 Oct 2004)

Five ITS Directors meet in Durham

ITS Directors at the Lindisfarne Centre

Brian Lander’s retirement from the University marked a unique occasion for the ITS. Brian is held in such high esteem that four former ITS Directors made the journey to the Lindisfarne Centre in Durham to honour his career.

Pictured left are Iain Stinson (1995-1998), Lesley Beddie (2003- ), Jackie Bettess (1998-2003) and John Lindley (1981-1994). The fifth director, John Hawgood (1968-1980 - not pictured) was also in attendance.

(25 Oct 2004)

Helpdesk Opening Hours

Following a detailed review of the availability of the Helpdesk Service in order to make best use of available resources when demand is greatest, changes have been made to the Helpdesk opening hours for the 2004/05 academic year. The telephone lines and counter service in the Computer Centre at Durham will be 0830-1730 Monday to Friday, the Service in the Main Library will be open 1000-1300 Monday to Friday (term times only) and at Queen's Campus they remain unchanged at 0900-1645 Monday to Friday (term times only).

(25 Oct 2004)

High Performance Computing cluster

Durham has taken delivery of a new HPC cluster, 'hamilton', the successor to 'hal'. It is a 270-processor AMD64 system in which each node has large memory and local storage capabilities. There is also a large central area of storage. Approximately a quarter of the nodes are linked by a fast Myrinet interconnect for the benefit of parallel applications. Hamilton will run SUSE Linux and will be managed by the ITS.

(25 Oct 2004)

Improved AV Facilities for Lecture Theatres

New PCs with DVD drives and flat screens have been installed in many lecture theatres at both Durham and at Queen’s Campus.
These machines run the Networked PC Service (NPCS) making it much easier to give lectures with PowerPoint presentations or demonstrations of applications without a lecturer having to provide their own laptop.

It is still possible to connect a private laptop, if necessary, and the method of switching to the laptop has been simplified.

(25 Oct 2004)

Interactive Whiteboards

ITS have been investigating interactive whiteboards and two have been purchased and installed in teaching classrooms D016 and D017 at Queen’s Campus.

A demonstration of the equipment to teaching staff has taken place and additional demonstrations are scheduled. A further interactive whiteboard has been purchased by ITS for the purpose of IT training and demonstrations will also be arranged in Durham. If departments are considering purchasing boards for their own use or would like further information, please contact:

(25 Oct 2004)

ITS Course Schedule

The following courses will be scheduled this term:

Staff and Postgraduate courses

IT47: An Introduction to databases using Access 2003
IT08: An Introduction to spreadsheets using Excel 2003
IT18: An Introduction to PowerPoint 2003
IT16: An Introduction to EndNote
IT22: An Introduction to SPSS
IT27: An Introduction to Unix
IT23: Creating WWW pages
IT10: Excel 2003 creating charts
IT31: Using ArcGIS: an introduction
IT13: Writing accessible websites
IT07: Writing longer documents using Word 2003

Undergraduate courses

UG02: An Introduction to PowerPoint 2003
UG03: An Introduction to spreadsheets using Excel 2003
UG04: Creating longer documents using Word 2003
UG01: Creating WWW pages
UG06: Excel 2003: Creating charts

How to book

To book a place on one of these courses, please fill in the online form at:
Full information about the courses is available from these web pages. Please make sure you have read the course synopsis and pre-requisites before booking a place.

When we receive your booking, we will send you a confirmation of your place via email.

If you are unable to attend a course on which you have booked a place, you can now cancel your booking online. If you fail to attend a course for which you have a firm booking, without letting us know in advance, we reserve the right to amend your booking status and/or withdraw your place on future courses.

(25 Oct 2004)

ITS visit South Africa


During the Summer, Barry Cornelius gave a seminar in the Department of Computer Science at Rhodes University, South Africa. His talk entitled "Java 5 catches up with C#" discussed some of the changes to the language in the next release of Java.

The text of his talk is available at:

(25 Oct 2004)

Landmap Satellite data – new agreement

Landmap provides access to satellite images and digital elevation data to academia. Positive feedback following our last newsletter article on this service resulted in the IT Service funding a subscription for this data. To register online follow the links at:

(25 Oct 2004)

Lecture Theatre Refurbishment at Queen’s Campus, Stockton

D003, a lecture theatre at Queen’s Campus, is re-opening after a total refurbishment. Estates and Buildings, with some input from ITS, planned the new design which adds many new features to this room:

  • The new theatre has 240 seats
  • A two way video/audio link has been set up with D004, a lecture theatre nearby, to enable lectures held in D003 to be observed from D004 (the lecturer can also see what’s going on in D004). This two way link allows lectures to “really big” classes of up to 410 attendees.
  • There are now Video Conference facilities in D003 which allows connections to other sites throughout the world.
  • Using encoding hardware from the company called VBrick it is now possible to transmit live (using MPEG over IP) any lectures that are taking place in D003 over the University network. These transmissions can to be received by anyone who has a PC connected to the network. If there is a need to connect to an even wider audience it is possible to use Video Streaming techniques to go to the world via the Internet.

(25 Oct 2004)

Linux Service - New

The new ITS Linux service is now in operation. The ITS Unix classroom, CM131a, has been re-decorated and now contains 18 Linux machines with flat screens, replacing the old and bulky Sun workstations. This room can be booked for teaching and may be used at other times by any Durham Linux users.
Users may also access the Linux service from NPCS and MDS machines, via the Exceed - Linux menu item in the Durham University Network folder, or they may use secure shell connections to the server 'vega'.

For the coming academic year the Linux and Unix services will sit side by side. The majority of applications are already in place on the Linux service, but we are also aware that a few applications cannot easily be transferred from Solaris. Please bear with us while we find solutions.

There is more information about the ITS Linux service and the applications installed on it at:

(25 Oct 2004)

Managed Desktop Service - MDS

MDS is an ITS system for managed Windows desktops, built on the experience gained in supporting the classroom NPCS system, but with extra functionality and features. MDS is built on Microsoft's Active Directory architecture and is designed as a replacement system for staff and administrative personnel and for other users currently running individual PCs in a networked environment.
There are over 600 workstations in various departments/colleges running MDS.  If you are interested in this service please see the URL below for more information.

(25 Oct 2004)

McAfee VirusScan Enterprise

McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.0i is now available for staff and students. ITS recommends that all users running Windows NT/2000/XP upgrade to this version. It can be downloaded from:

(25 Oct 2004)

Microsoft Office 2003

Over the summer Office XP has been upgraded to version 2003. All file formats are compatible with the previous versions.  New guides for Microsoft Office 2003 are available from:

(25 Oct 2004)

Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 – Package for CD

This is a new facility in PowerPoint 2003 that enables you to easily transfer presentations, with any associated or linked files, directly to CD. You will need access to a CDRW drive and Windows XP or later.
Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer is also automatically transferred to CD which enables the presentations to be run on a computer that doesn’t have PowerPoint installed.
A number of presentations can be transferred to CD and you can specify that they are played automatically or let the viewer select which presentation to play.

This facility also allows you to package your presentations to a folder instead of a CD for archiving or backup purposes.

For details of PowerPoint courses this term see:

(25 Oct 2004)

Microsoft Visio 2003

Visio 2003 Professional is installed on the dedicated Graphics PC located in CM131. Visio is a technical diagramming program that illustrates ideas, processes, systems, and numerical data with diagrams. It can be used to communicate information, build organisation charts, graphs, time-lines, block diagrams and flowcharts; compile engineering and building plans, and computing and network diagrams. It is an ideal tool for documenting and designing complex ideas, processes, and systems.
By using the in-built shapes in Visio, it is very easy to create a variety of diagrams. Templates and stencils are also included in the package to facilitate the process.

Output can be saved as a Visio drawing, exported as a webpage or in image format. The drawings can also be printed on the ITS colour printers including the A0 plotter.

(25 Oct 2004)

MITRE Courses

The following MITRE courses are available:

Student Systems. Courses are available for Banner Kickstart, Banner ODBC Reports, Banana Admissions and Marks Entry. Please visit: http://mitreweb/banner/training/taught/index.htm

Finance Systems. Courses are available for Ordering, AP Invoicing and Card Transactions. Please visit: http://mitreweb/oracle/support/training/taught/index.htm

(25 Oct 2004)

New Structure for ITS

October 2003 saw the arrival of Lesley Beddie as the new Director of ITS, and more recently the structure of the department has been reorganised into 5 service groups with some new areas of responsibility. The following illustrates the new structure and high level areas of responsibility for each of the service areas. If there are any issues or questions arising from this information, please contact the relevant Head of Group.
Service Group Head of Group Responsibilities
Data and Business Application Services DBAS Steve Black (Deputy Director)

Business Analysis

Data Management

Information Systems

MITRE Contract Management

Customer Services CS Dave Thornton

Audio Visual

Desktop Support



EWS Scott Miller

Learning Technology

Web Team

Network Infrastructure Services

NIS Tom Turnbull

(Acting Head)




System Services SS Paul Jones


Core Systems

PC Infrastructure

Systems Security

(25 Oct 2004)

Northern Rock Room

ITS has recently upgraded the software and equipment in the Northern Rock Rooms at Durham and Stockton for students with disabilities. New furniture includes remote control height adjustable desks, adjustable chairs to enable adaptation to suit a variety of requirements, ergonomic keyboards and trackballs. Software has now also been made available on the Networked PC service which, while benefiting students with disabilities, will also be of benefit to all students. These are Read & Write 7 (word prediction and spell check software) and Inspiration (organisation and planning software). For a more comprehensive list of the facilities and equipment available in these rooms please visit:

(25 Oct 2004)


Departments and Colleges who have equipment that no longer satisfy NPCS minimum requirements may wish to consider NPCS Lite.
We recognise the fact that Microsoft and other applications demand more with regards to hardware requirements, with this in mind we have developed NPCS Lite to utilise old hardware.

There are only a limited number of applications installed. Mozilla for Web Browsing and Mail, Microsoft Office plus virus scanning. Printing will also be available.

Due to the fact these machines are approaching the end of their life cycle NO hardware maintenance will be available.

Details of the hardware specification upon which NPCS Lite will operate can be found on the following web page:

(25 Oct 2004)

Online Training Course Booking System

The new online Training Course Booking System has been in use now for a few months, not only by the ITS, but also by the HR office, the Health & Safety office and the Graduate School. As well as being able to book places on courses advertised by these departments, you can use the system to view your complete training record. Please note, however, when you do this, that use of this system only began last October, and so your record may not be complete. Some departments are working to enter records of previous training from paper files, but obviously this work will only proceed if resource permits.

To view your training record, follow the link to ‘My Training Record at:

(25 Oct 2004)

SigmaPlot 9

A new version of SigmaPlot has been installed on the Networked PC service (NPCS).

SigmaPlot is available from the Helpdesk and costs £100 p.a. for a single department licence. Student copies cost £45.

(25 Oct 2004)


SPSS version 12 is now available on NPCS and on CD from the main ITS Helpdesk. Updates since version 11 include improved charts, longer variable names (64 instead of 8) and a duplicate record finder.
An installation copy of the CD is available for loan to staff, or a copy of the CD is available for an additional £5.  A departmental single copy will cost £70 p.a. and an unlimited licence £1500 p.a.  Departmental licences run from December to November.  A personal copy of SPSS on CD is available for purchase by students at a one-off charge of £35. Future upgrades to the software cost £5.  Student licence codes run out at the end of the final year at Durham.

Further information about recent improvements to SPSS and licence costs can be found at:

(25 Oct 2004)

Telecommunications News


The link between Durham and Sedgefield was made live on 2 July. The telephone switch was commissioned by BT and Siemens Engineers when alternate routing and local call break-out was set up and calls were tested across the network switches.
Staff from the Physics Department moved into the building on 31 August.

University Radio System

Ofcom have agreed to and licenced a second radio channel for exclusive use by the Security Manager and his operations. The independent ‘open’ channel will provide a separate network for 13 mobile and site staff. Three additional radios have also been supplied and commissioning and coverage tests are near completion with North East Radio Communications

Paging System

O2 have given notice that they intend to withdraw their Paging service as it is no longer commercially viable. Arrangements have been made by 02 to transfer the present service and future requirement to Pageone Communications as from 1 October. Thirty users will have their pagers replaced.

Telephone System Review

North Lodge will be open from 08.30 to 17.30hrs for a trial period until the end of October to assess the number of incoming calls and visitors to the Science Site who may take advantage of the longer opening hours, if so required, in the future.

(25 Oct 2004)

Updating DUO links - a message from the University Library

A number of changes have been made over the Summer to the method of accessing online resources and the authentication system in use with some of them.
In order to ensure that all users can gain access to resources via your links, and to maximise availability to when you are off site, you will need to review and update your links in DUO.
In many cases your current link needs to have some extra data added to the beginning of the URL. A straightforward guide and web page is available at:

This guide will take you through the process of altering:

  • Links to database products, including the correct URL to access resources previously using an Athens login.
  • Links to journals at the title level
  • Links to individual articles – adapting the links that you already have
  • Creating new links to journal level articles
  • Getting Help and assistance with this process from the Library Service.

(25 Oct 2004)

Upgrading of PCs

All Networked PC service (NPCS) machines in CM131, E390 and Library Level 3 have been upgraded as well as 20 NPCS machines in the ITS/Library Training Room (D222) at Queen’s Campus. The basic specification of each machine is:
2.8GHz processor
512Mb RAM
40Gb Hard Drive
17" TFT monitor.

In addition there are now 2 NPCS computers in the Northern Rock Room.

For further information regarding the location of NPCS classrooms as well as PC specifications, see:

(25 Oct 2004)

Web Publishing service

Over the last twelve months the ITS web team has brought into service a system developed in-house for managing the content of web pages. This means that it is now much easier for us to set up sites for departments and other sections within the University. It also means, that, if resource is available within the department, then our involvement in creating the site can be reduced significantly, allowing sites to be created more quickly. This is still a chargeable service, but rather than charging according to the size of the site, as before, we now make a charge according the amount of input required by the web team.

(25 Oct 2004)

What’s new in duo

You will find one or two new features in duo for this year that should help to save you some time when creating and maintaining resources.

Quick Login

We’ve cut out a few clicks by putting the login box directly onto the front page of duo, so check your bookmarks point to

Quick Edit

This short-cut allows instructors to make changes to content without having to go into the Control Panel and follow the links to the appropriate folder. Simply click EDIT VIEW in the upper right of a page to go directly to that place in the Control Panel for that item, and modify. (Note: this is not available on the announcements page, only for content areas).

WYSIWYG text editor

If you are using the Internet Explorer browser (rather than Mozilla) to access duo, then when you add or modify an item, you will see extra toolbars similar to those you have in word processing packages. This will allow you more freedom to format your content, including bold, italics and adding links to web pages via the button.

If you prefer not to use this tool, you can turn it off. You can see the old version by going to your Welcome page, selecting Edit Personal Information from Tools, and in Set Text Box Editor Options, choose Unavailable.

Customising My Course List

Now that usage of duo is so extensive, you are likely to have quite a long list of courses. If you click on the pencil icon in the corner of your My Courses box on the Welcome page, you will be able to hide courses you don't use every day. (All courses will remain visible on the Courses tab). There’s an animated tutorial showing you how on the Instructors tab.

New Instructors

If you want to have colleagues added as Instructors on your course, there is no need to send a request to the Learning Technologies Team. You can do this directly yourself on the Control Panel, where you will see an additional link under Course Tools, entitled Enroll Staff. This tool will allow you to search for a user and make them an instructor on the course in one easy step. If you need access to a module, ask a colleague to do this for you, or fill in the form on the Instructors tab.

(25 Oct 2004)

Windows Automatic updates via ITS WSUS Server

ITS have now set up an internal software update server, which allows workstations to be kept up-to-date with the necessary Microsoft security patches.

All NPCS and MDS machines use this as a means of updating by default.

Non ITS managed machines (standalone) can make use of the update server. For more information see:

(25 Oct 2004)