A-Z Guide

Advice and Support: If you require advice help or support please check the Department website and check the IT services websites  https://www.it.ox.ac.uk and https://help.it.ox.ac.uk. If you unable to find the advice or support that you need please contact the department IT staff or contact the Central IT service desk.

Computer Accounts: Email accounts are available to all members of the University with a university card. Contact the department administration if you do not yet have a university card. General computing facilities for students and researchers are available in the teaching laboratory computer suite. 

Computer Facilities: Many IT facilities are provided centrally by IT Services, however the department also provides additional facilities such as : -

  • Teaching Laboratory Computer Suite
  • Lecture Theatres and Meeting Rooms
  • Library Information systems
  • IT support office

Computer Rules: All members of the Department, including academic visitors, are requested to read and agree to both the University's and the Deparment's Rules for Computer Use.

Computer Viruses: It is imperative that you run up-to-date anti-virus software on your computers. The department IT staff can assist in ensuring that anti-virus software is installed correctly and monitored centrally.

Data Backup: It is essential to backup data, particularly research data. This can be done personally using removable media (CD/DVD/MemorySticks). Automatic saving of important large documents is also recommended, especially for theses. In addition the university offers a free backup system to backup complete computers on a weekly schedule or manually at any time. Department fileservers have daily backup schedules (both network and local tape). Always plan for the worst-case scenario - system failures do happen!

Data Archiving: It is essential to archive data when it is no-longer active, or disk-space becomes limited. Clear naming and cataloging of archived data is essential - will you be able to find your own data next year? will your supervisor be able to find your data in five years time?

Information Security: Anyone processing data must comply with the UK data protection Act, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other legislation. This especially applies to data not generated by yourself. For more information see https://www.infosec.ox.ac.uk. All staff a required to annually complete the online training module.

Electronic Mail: All members of department are required to have an email account so that they may be contacted via the department notices maillist. This department uses the central Nexus365 email system.

Library Services: Most library services are provided centrally by the university library services. There is a huge range of on-line electronic information services automatically available to all members of the university. In addition the Department of Materials Libary provides convenient local access to specialist books, theses and journals.

Mailing Lists: The Department runs several maillists in order to communicate with members of department. New users should be added to the appropriate lists automatically as part of the department registration process. These lists are administered by Department IT staff.

Network connection: The Department provides a wired ethernet network supporting TCP/IP. The department network is the responsibility of the Department IT staff who provide instructions and help on connecting to the Department of Materials network. In addition the University provides a wireless network (Eduroam) and provides remote access (VPN) for secure connections from outside the university (e.g. from home broadband and when travelling).

Passwords: A password is a string of characters used by the computer to authenticate that you are who you say you are. It is extremely important that you DO NOT TELL ANYONE ELSE what your password is. Firstly that would break the rules that you have signed to obey, and secondly that would enable someone else to gain access to your account. Passwords should contain a mixture of UPPERCASE and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters and should contain at least 8 characters.

  • DO NOT tell anyone else your password
  • DO NOT write your password down such that other could read it
  • DO chose a password that cannot be guessed (even by a computer!)
  • DO change your password regularly. Most systems enforce an annual change.
  • DO change your password immediately if you think it may no longer be secure and contact local IT staff

Security Patches: It is essential that users keep their computer operating systems up-to-date with the latest security patches.

Software: A wide range of software is available from OUCS at very economically favourable rates. All users MUST ensure that any software that they install has been registered and paid for correctly. Please contact the department IT staff for advice on purchasing and licensing of software.

Training: Throughout term-time IT services offers a wide range of  training courses available to all members of the university. In addition to the scheduled taught courses most course training materials are available via the   Portfolio for self-paced learning and the university also subscribes to a large library of online learning courses.

Web: The department website http://www.materials.ox.ac.uk is hosted on the University's MOSAIC system. Most research groups also maintain their own websites which are either hosted on MOSAIC or on the Department web server. Anyone with a university account can register for their own personal web allocation. Training courses are available from IT services and advice on setting up and maintaining your own webspace is available from webmaster@materials.ox.ac.uk. It is not advisable to set-up web-serving on your local computer on the department network without first consulting the department IT staff, since there are numerous security vulnerabilities associated with running a web-server, and the department firewall blocks external access to unregistered servers.