DARS Newsletter January 2017
- 1 Introduction
- 1.1 Forthcoming Infrastructure work
- 1.2 Power Supply improvement
- 1.3 TONE project
- 1.4 DARS news and features
- 1.5 New name format
- 1.6 Service Pack 14
- 1.7 Faculty of History website
- 1.8 Constituents with UO_Alumnus and UO_Student constituencies
- 1.9 New Participant – Department of Education
- 1.10 Reminders
- 1.11 How embarrassed would you be?
- 1.12 Postscript
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 email@example.com.
In this issue:
- Forthcoming Infrastructure work
- Power Supply improvement
- TONE project
- DARS news and features
- New name format
- Service Pack 14
- Faculty of History website
- Constituents with UO_Alumnus and UO_Student constituencies
- New Participant – Department of Education
- How embarrassed would you be?
Forthcoming Infrastructure work
Power Supply improvement
On the weekend of 11/12 February, IT Services’ staff will be working to improve the resilience of power supplies to one of the University’s data centres, known as Beach. During this period, Live DARS will be switched over to a second data centre (Begbroke). It is possible that during the preparatory and clean-up work on the days before and after the weekend (10 and 13 February), there may be some disruption to DARS’ Sandbox environment.
You should be aware of the TONE project: for those of you who are not, it is a project to design and implement a replacement core network for the collegiate University. Some indication of the scale of TONE is that the infrastructure consists of over 100,000 devices, connected by 300km of optical cable, and it handles all IT communications for the University, including 16 million emails per week. Further information about TONE can be found at http://www.it.ox.ac.uk/project-portfolio/oxford-network-evolution-tone. Different University systems are being moved over to the new infrastructure, and I am writing to tell you that DARS, along with other business systems such as Student Systems, Financial and HR, are being moved to the new infrastructure in two stages. The first move took place on 29 November: the second move will take place on 20 February. It is scheduled to start at 6.30am, and to complete by 9am, so that there will be no impact on DARS during standard business hours.
During this period, all elements of DARS, including BBIS websites, will not be available. Because all IT components rely on the network infrastructure, it is not possible to introduce web pages which indicate that the systems are down, and therefore any visitors to DARS or BBIS websites will receive an error message from their browser, indicating that it has failed to connect to the website. I am sure you understand the huge effort that is going into the TONE project, and also appreciate the flexibility of IT Services’ staff who will be carrying out the work so early in the day (many of the same staff will be also be working throughout the weekend of 11/12 November), in order to minimise disruption to the operation of the University’s key business functions.
DARS news and features
New name format
As a part of our ongoing efforts to improve how DARS supports the day-to-day requirements of fundraising and alumni relations, we have introduced a new Name Format for individuals who have received a Knighthood.
The new Name Format will automatically create a salutation based on a combination of the individual’s Title and First Name i.e Sir Matt or Dame Matilda.
The result being that salutations for those with knighthoods can be data driven opposed to being based on free text (custom name format) values. Any future changes to the First Name or Title will automatically be reflected in the Name Format.
To make the most of this new feature follow these simple steps: 1. Review the existing data on the record 2. Update the existing Formal Salutation and/or 3. Optional - Create a new Salutation assigned to an existing Name Format type (i.e Senior Staff/Head of House/Director of Development/etc) 4. Review changes
Review the existing data on the record
Update the existing Formal Salutation
Optional - Create a new Salutation assigned to an existing Name Format type (i.e Senior Staff/Head of House/Director of Development/etc
Service Pack 14
As noted above, there is a lot of activity in the IT Infrastructure area at the present time. The DARS Functional and Helpdesk team have been busy testing Service Pack 14, which includes a fix for the Query Node performance issue. Our tests indicate that performance of query node expansion is significantly improved. We will be looking to take this service pack live on Tuesday 28 February.
Faculty of History website
We’re pleased to announce the launch of a new Internet Solutions website for the Faculty of History. At the time of launch alumni can use the website to share news, subscribe to mailings, provide address updates and make donations. The website also uses responsive design techniques to provide a better experience for visitors using mobile devices. See for yourself at: https://www.alumniweb.ox.ac.uk/history We now host 35 websites on Internet Solutions.
Constituents with UO_Alumnus and UO_Student constituencies
You may be aware that some constituent records had both UO_Alumnus and UO_Student constituencies. This was because when the Student System OSS was replaced by the new system (SITS), some degree names changed, usually where the course had a specialisation after the first year. For example, • “Cyber Security (EPSRC CDT)” changed to “Cyber Security (EPSRC CDT) - Computer Science” • “DPhil Medieval and Modern Languages (Full-time)” changed to “DPhil Medieval and Modern Languages (FRE) (Full-time)” • “Interdisciplinary Bioscience (BBSRC DTP)” changed to “Interdisciplinary Biosciences (BBSRC DTP) – Pathology”
As a result, the SITS feed created new education records, rather than overwriting the original OSS ones. Once these constituents graduated, the SITS record generated a UO_Alumnus constituency, and the OSS one, still having a ‘Currently attending’ status, generated a UO_Student one. We have now run a datafix to remove the 3,731 OSS records. Overnight processes have now reset the constituency values.
New Participant – Department of Education
DARS users at the Department of Education have completed their initial training and conducted their own data migration, and are now fully-fledged DARS participants.
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.
In case you are wondering, yes, the article above was in last month’s newsletter. It is repeated here to ensure as wide a readership as possible – many of you may have been on annual leave on 21 December.