DARS Newsletter December 2016
Dear Users, Welcome to this month’s DARS Newsletter, which has a focus on communicating with the helpdesk. Newsletters since May 2015 can be found at http://darswiki.bsp.ox.ac.uk/index.php/DARS_Newsletters. And remember that you can contact the DARS helpdesk via firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this issue:
- Communicating with the Helpdesk
- Providing us with the information we need
- Christmas Closure
- DARS news and features
- SQL Server Upgrade Project
- How embarrassed would you be?
Communicating with the Helpdesk
Providing us with the information we need
Following on from the article last month, please remember that communication with the helpdesk is just that – with the helpdesk. Please do not send emails to named individuals, or otherwise approach members of the support centre asking for assistance; while all staff within the DARS Support Centre do their best to help, a direct request is not a good idea for a number of reasons: 1.The staff member may out of the office. Sending to the helpdesk, which is staffed during standard hours, means that it is more likely that your request will be picked up. 2.Even if the staff member is in the office, they are almost certainly working on an issue for someone. We are sure that you would want your issue to be worked on without interruption when your time comes. 3.If following up with the helpdesk for any reason, please reply to one of the emails you have had relating to that particular incident. This ensures that your communication is linked to the incident you have created, rather than creating a brand new one (which wastes time), or risks being dropped because it was sent to a personal email address.
As usual, this newsletter is being sent on the last working day of the month. The Wellington Square building will be closed from the end of Wednesday 21 December, and consequently the DARS Support Centre will also be closed. We will return on Tuesday 3 January 2017.
DARS news and features
SQL Server Upgrade Project
The underlying DARS database server was upgraded from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2014 on Tuesday 6 December 2016. This is a pre-requisite for the move to DARS version 4 next year. DARS Sandbox has also been updated. A small number of mop-up tasks, including the deployment of the Bodleian feed and the upgrade of the last environment (training), have been planned for January.
How embarrassed would you be?
Under the Data Protection Act, everything that is on a DARS record is disclosable to the alumnus or supporter in the event that they exercise their rights, using what is called a Subject Access Request, or SAR. The overwhelming majority of SARs are received directly by the DARS Support Centre, rather than passed on to us from Participants. In the event that the DARS Support Centre receives a Subject Access Request, we are permitted to make operational changes (e.g. if we spot a typographical error). However, it is a criminal offence to make any material changes, such as removal of any text that might be deemed embarrassing or inappropriate. Phrases that members of the DARS Support Centre have spotted before a SAR was received, and that therefore were legally removed, include expressions of the form
“This person is tricky to deal with” and
“His tutor says that he did very well so owes the college big time”.
So – what you must do: 1.NEVER put anything in a DARS record that you would not be happy saying to the person’s face. 2.In the event that you see anything inappropriate written by someone else, ALWAYS ask them to remove the offending text, or ask the DARS helpdesk who will be able to do this for you.