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DARS Newsletter November 2016

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Introduction

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 dars@admin.ox.ac.uk.

In this issue:

Communicating with the Helpdesk
Providing us with the information we need
Reporting duplicates
DARS news and features
Staff changes
SQL Server Upgrade Project
New Participant – Department of Biochemistry
DARS Importing workshop
Improper Use of Transfer Designations
Reminders
User Access Request Form – please record DARS Lookup ID

Communicating with the Helpdesk

Providing us with the information we need

When raising an incident with the DARS Helpdesk, please help us to help you by providing as much useful information as possible, and give your email to us a clear subject which helps us to classify it. For example, if you have a problem with a query, then “Dear DARS – I have a problem with one of my queries. Please help!” is not as useful as “Dear DARS – my query DBAS-CTLI-MMC-AllLivingAlumni is giving me an error message when I try to run it”, followed by a screenshot of the error. Similarly, subject lines such as “Request”, “DARS Issue” and even “DARS” do not give any useful information about what your incident is. Whereas “Interested Party Request – John Smith 8-20145634”, “Duplicate 8-20023451 / 8-20198700”, “Transfer Designation Request – XYZ College” and “BBIS registration error message” Are all subjects that do give an indication of the problem and its context. Providing the Support Centre with the right information helps us classify, investigate and action the incident for you as efficiently as possible.

Reporting duplicates

One of the commonest types of incident that is reported to the DARS helpdesk is where you have spotted two or more constituent records that refer to the same person, and would like them to be merged. From time to time, we receive requests to merge the records of several alumni at one time. This is fine, but larger numbers can become unwieldy – the largest request we have received was for 1729 duplicates! We are implementing a new rule that the maximum number of alumni that can be submitted for deduplication is ten. Therefore, if you have a large number of deduplication request, please break them into groups of ten, one in each request, in order that we can track progress more easily.

DARS news and features

Staff changes

As you may know, Rosanah Holmes of the DARS Functional and Helpdesk team will be going on maternity leave in the middle of December. Lyndsey Middleton has already joined the Functional and Helpdesk team and is working with Rosanah and the other team members to make the handover as smooth as possible. I’m sure you all join me in wishing Rosanah well, and welcoming Lyndsey to the team.

SQL Server Upgrade Project

As announced in the newsletter last month, the underlying DARS database server will be 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. The work is scheduled to start at 8am, and will include the upgrade of the database itself along with a series of tests. The work is planned to continue until 3pm, although it should be noted that this is an estimate. DARS will not be available to the user community during this time – however, Sandbox will be available, and can be accessed via https://dars-sandbox.bsp.ox.ac.uk/bbappfx/webui/WebShellLogin.aspx?databaseName=BBInfinity. Please note that changes should not be made to Sandbox since they will be lost once it is refreshed. BBIS websites will be down from 8am, but will be the first items to be tested and so should be available for supporters to visit from about 10am. Any supporters who visit during that time will be presented with a friendly downtime message.

New Participant – Department of Biochemistry

DARS users at the Department of Biochemistry have completed their initial training, and are now fully-fledged DARS participants.

DARS Importing workshop

On 9 November, the Process and Training team held a workshop focussing on the import features available to users in DARS. The workshop received good feedback, and we will be arranging similar workshops in 2017. Watch this space!

Improper Use of Transfer Designations

We are pleased to report that following on from our communications a few months ago, and the follow up activities we have conducted, the overwhelming majority of staff at colleges are no longer using any designations that begin ‘1-Transfer’. However, we are still encountering a few instances of this. Please be particularly careful in this area – there are NO circumstances in which it is appropriate for a college to use these ‘1-Transfer’ designations on donations, nor should they change the designation of a donation which has such a designation.

Reminders

User Access Request Form – please record DARS Lookup ID

When requesting access to DARS for a new staff member, please remember to check if that person has a DARS constituent record. If they do, please record the Lookup ID on the form. If they don’t, please create a DARS constituent record for them, recording information such as name and contact details, and then record the Lookup ID on the form. Members of the DARS Support Centre are not able to do this on your behalf, since we are not able to determine which of the twelve Jane Smiths in DARS is your new staff member. The User Access Request form can be found at https://www.darscentral.ox.ac.uk/useraccess.

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