Duke ITAC - December 12, 2002 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - December 12, 2002 Minutes

Minutes: December 12, 2002

Attending: Mike Baptiste, Pakis Bessias, John Board, Paul Conway, Ed Gomes, Dick Danner, Ken Hirsch, Brian Eder, David Ferriero, Nevin Fouts, Tracy Futhey, David Jamieson-Drake, David Jarmul, Scott Lindroth, Andy Keck for Roger Loyd, Greg McCarthy, Melissa Mills, Caroline Nisbet, George Oberlander, Mike Pickett, Rafael Rodriguez, Molly Tamarkin, Fred Westbrook, Robert Wolpert, Steve Woody

Guests: Ginny Cake, Bob Currier, Rob Little, Ben Riseling, Rob Carter, Dan McCarriar, Chris Cramer

Call to order: Meeting called to order 4:06 pm.

I. Review of minutes and announcements

New Health System CIO
Tracy Futhey announced that the Health System has extended an offer for the CIO position and it has been accepted. Ahmad Asif, from Ohio State begins February 1, 2003 as the new Health System CIO. Rafael Rodriguez notes that Asif will be in town for the next couple days and expects to be back several times between now and February.

Temporary staffing procedure changes
Rafael Rodriguez announces a change in the way temporary staffing is obtained. All requests for temporary staffing must now go through Duke Temporary Services. Unfortunately, for IT groups this has often been difficult to do. Kelly Services has been selected as the primary vendor of temporary services for Duke and a list of secondary vendors has been compiled. Billy Herndon and Rafael Rodriguez have reviewed the list of secondary vendors and want to make that list dynamic. Rafael Rodriguez notes that this change does not affect current contracts; they are grandfathered in.


Robert Wolpert: If we need someone, who do we call?

Rafael Rodriguez: Duke Temporary Services. The DTS Web site has a process flow page that walks you through the steps to take when requesting temporary staffing.

Fred Westbrook: For those not necessarily on a contract, but who have specialized skills, can we let you know to get them on the list?

Rafael Rodriguez: Yes. In some cases I am relying on a single individual and that can put us at a risk so I want to make sure we have multiple options.

Robert Wolpert reminds ITAC members that minutes were sent out last week. Please let us know if there are errors or omissions.

News Services new hire
David Jarmul announced that Phil Lemmons, former editor-in-chief of Byte magazine and PC World, will be joining the News Services staff. Phil was hired to cover IT news at Duke. He will arrive after January.

II. Duke home page sneak peek

Presented by David Jarmul
Related url: www.duke.edu

Duke has had the same home page for 6 years or so. As you go to new levels, you encounter pages that aren't really getting the job done. We've undertaken aetermined effort to come up with something that works better.

Most of our time has been spent not on design but on getting the information organized and available quickly. To that end, we've revised the top-level navigation of Duke's home page. We also took on an integrated events calendar. Many of you already know about the ITAC CMS subcommittee, and we're working on other things such as the e-Duke project.

We're trying to accomplish two things with the new home page:

1) Better navigation: The left side of the page contains the new navigation which focuses on organization and hierarchy.
2) Communication needs: The right side addresses communications needs.

Whether page visitors are prospective students, journalists, alumni or others, Duke projects itself to the world via the home page. We're only in a position to reorganize the content that's already there. We're also trying to put information into an order that makes sense. We tried to provide ancillary sections. Additionally, we've created individual pages to be used as templates.

We want this to be a "commons area" for Duke. The right side contains elements that link to content rich sources. There are buttons for individual schools, the events calendar, maps and directions, the e-Duke subscription page, the photography department, contact information, and more.

We're still in the process of creating the new Duke home page and encourage your feedback. At this point it's still very much a work in progress.


Fred Westbrook: Did you make a conscious decision to stay away from animation?

David Jarmul: Yes. We stayed away from Java too; we worried about accessibility issues and other things.

Ben Riseling: The home page will be simple in a technical sense so there won't be items that require plug-ins. We want to zero in on Netscape 4.7. On the Linux end, Konqueror and Opera are the other browsers we are looking at now.

Robert Wolpert: Do you see a process for straightening out some of the mess that is out there now?

David Jarmul: The creation of a governance structure for Web site creation and the formation of an active Web services department are issues that Tracy and I will be discussing.

George Oberlander: It looks like I'm going to have to do a lot of digging on this new page to find a topic such as dining or parking.

Ben Riseling: A lot of things like dining, parking, and transportation issues will be cross-referenced.

David Jarmul: It's our intent to bring people to the main Auxiliary Services page. Our rubric is to look at the site and flow through the eyes of the user and build a parallel structure to deal with that.

Molly Tamarkin: Where does one go for the library section and where for IT? I think you have room to add that on the front page.

David Jarmul: We think maps shouldn't be there; maybe it can be replaced with libraries?

Ben Riseling: We're making decisions based on massive amounts of feedback. Remember that this is an ongoing progress.

Molly Tamarkin: I'm worried that the front page has too much content. It looks too busy.

Brian Eder: Have you thought about a pull-down menu or a keyword type interface where people can go directly to a site if they know where they want to go?

Ben Riseling: We're currently upgrading our search engine to work better than it does. If you look at the navigation, you'll see that the libraries page is probably one of the most cross-referenced pages. We're also trying to respond to an external audience as well. This is very similar to the nomenclature that other institutions are using.

Mike Baptiste: Have you thought about creating a "misc." or "other" category at the bottom? Just recently, if you go to Duke.edu without the www you get a 404 error.

Ben Riseling: By Christmas we'll have a live beta site for testing. I ask anyone who wants to be a beta tester to send me e-mail (ben.riseling@duke.edu) and I'll add you to the list.

Brian Eder: What is your target launch date?

David Jarmul: We're going to do a soft launch by the end of this month and hope to launch in January. We're also currently looking at the Dialogue and other news sites to see how they will fit in here.

Ben Riseling: We are aware that this site looks content heavy. We are trying to do a sort of feasibility study. We're saying these are the kinds of things we "may" want to see on the home page.

Mike Pickett: Do you have any stats on what Web pages are currently getting hit?

David Jarmul: We know that our audience is slightly more internal than external. There is no overwhelming constituency though.

Robert Wolpert: When you hit "About Duke," news and sports are there but not academics. Just a reminder: this is an academic institution.

III. Duke enterprise calendar demo

Presented by Rob Little
Related url: http://calendar.duke.edu

This is a pre-launch version of the online event calendar. We anticipate launching on Monday (December 16, 2002). The Web address will be calendar.duke.edu. One of the main problems with the old Duke calendar is that it assumes that the user is already familiar with the organizational structure of Duke.

The new calendar provides four paths for users to locate events.

1) The first is date driven. "Today" is the default. As you interact with the interface, the page will automatically refresh. There's also a pull-down menu with date ranges from which to choose.

2) The second path is interest and/or group driven. These are more general events or activities sponsored by membership groups such as lectures and seminars. No one "owns" these categories. Note that the Frisbee club is represented in the same way as the Athletic department.

3) The third path is a topic-specific search. At any point in any of the various views I can get a print-friendly listing of the event and its details.

4) The last path is a text search by entering keywords to find events.

We received high marks in beta testing for users being able to find events. We are just short of 1,000 events today.


Fred Westbrook: Are the schools listed right now the ones that only have events published?

Rob Little: Yes. Only schools with published events show up in the list. The school or group disappears from the list when the event ends if they have no other events listed.

Robert Wolpert: Will I be able to find an exam schedule? These simple kinds of calendars are needed to plan courses and exams.

Rob Little: That depends on who enters the data. You'll still be able to find the old calendar while this one is phased in.

Robert Wolpert: An exam matrix is critical for faculty. Is this on the chopping block?

Rob Little: No. The Registrar's Office publishes the exam schedule on their Web site and it will always exist. They have the option of publishing on our calendar or not.

Ken Hirsch: I assume event calendars are not replacing other non-event calendars?

Ginny Cake: That's correct.

Melissa Mills: There are other academic calendars that can be linked to the new calendar. I showed this to the Arts & Sciences community leaders today and one member wanted to know how to publish an interdisciplinary event.

Rob Little: We created an interdisciplinary category for the John Hope Franklin Center. You're not able to see it now because there are no events published in that category now.

Mike Pickett: What about cross listings?

Rob Little: Right now the only way to be listed in more than one organization is to manually publish it in more than one organization. There is a way, however, to pull events out of this calendar dynamically by placing a specific url on your department or group's web page.

IV. Network bandwidth statistics

Presented by Robert Currier
Related url: skippy.ncren.net

This is an update on network utilization and the increasing impact of peer-to-peer software usage that we've previously discussed at ITAC. Presently, the number one bandwidth consumer is Kazaa. It's been averaging about 35 or 40 megabits per second in outbound traffic. If you look at this usage graph, you can see that peer-to-peer clients such as Gnutella and Kazaa make up the high end while http is down toward the bottom. We are seeing a 4 to 1 ratio of peer-to-peer over other network usage.

Robert Wolpert: What are the implications?

Robert Currier: The biggest problem we face is that we'll be moving to an institutional usage-based model. This means that the more traffic we send, the bigger the bill we'll receive from NCREN. Significant financial challenges will result if this kind of usage keeps up.

Tracy Futhey: Resnet represents
an average of 6 to 9 of the top ten sources for outbound traffic.

John Board: Are you saying that Duke can handle this load, but it's just a question of paying for the outbound traffic?

Robert Currier: This is strictly outbound traffic.

Robert Wolpert: Does this include video?

Robert Currier: This is port-based so any data, including video, is included on these graphs.

Mike Pickett: And this data and graph was generated with filters on the system?

Robert Currier: Yes.

V. Proposed letter to students re: peer-to-peer/copyright

Presented by Tracy Futhey, Chris Cramer
Relevant urls:

A letter from the Recording Industry Assocation of America (RIAA) urging universities to monitor peer-to-peer usage (October 3, 2003) PDF format (72 kb).

Chronicle of Higher Education article about RIAA getting more agressive (December 2, 2003)

University of Virginia's update on peer-to-peer file sharing and copyright issues (last revised October 15, 2002)
This site includes a sample letter universities receive from the Motion Picture Association (MPA) notifying them of potential abuse occurring on the university's network.

*See draft letter to students from Tracy Futhey at the bottom of this document.

Over the last 2 months there has been an all-out campaign by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and others to educate university presidents about what they think our response should be to this kind of peer-to-peer file sharing activity. There was also a letter from the American Council on Education suggesting university presidents pay attention and use this as an opportunity to educate students. Presidents and other university officials are grappling with this issue and coming to the realization that this isn't necessarily a technology issue.

The letter I want to send out will carry the message that peer-to-peer file sharing can be a problem for two reasons:

  1. Peer-to-peer activity consumesa disproportionate amount of bandwidth; this is not fair in an institution where resources are shared.
  2. Federal copyright laws may be being broken.


Molly Tamarkin: By sending this letter are you putting yourself into a "policing" position?

Tracy Futhey: We've not said that explicitly. Our response aims to be as neutral as possible.

Robert Wolpert: I know that some universities publish bandwidth usage statistics by dorm to serve as a form of peer pressure.

Tracy Futhey: We don't do that because of the privacy issue. The RIAA is getting more aggressive but are mainly targeting people who are publishing and not consuming.

Robert Wolpert: Can we automate a procedure that says, "Your machine is consuming this much bandwidth" and send a letter or e-mail?

Tracy Futhey: If we want to go that route, we don't want to have anything to do with content, just bandwidth. Part of the education campaign would be to demonstrate the problem by saying that if we were to convert that bandwidth usage into dollars, e.g. "The bandwidth you're using would convert to X dollars if it continued for X length of time."

Melissa Mills: Just the fact that you send a letter will them know that we're aware what they are consuming.

Tracy Futhey: Based on this discussion, we'll see if we can come up with a process like this.

Mike Baptiste: Does NetReg give the RIAA a new avenue to link up with the average student and go after him?

Chris Cramer: We don't retain these kinds of records. We need to determine if we want a records retention policy. There isn't one in place now, so we don't retain records. We wouldn't be able to help the RIAA if they requested that type of information.

VI. Discussion: network planning subcommittee charter

Presented by Tracy Futhey

A draft charter for the ITAC network planning subcommittee is available at: www.duke.edu/~picke001/ITAC/ITAC_Network_Planning_Subcommittee.html

We're now ready to launch the network planning subcommittee group. Mike Baptiste and John Board are managing the two phases:

  1. The first six weeks (phase 1) we hope the group can come back with baseline recommendations for new building and renovation IT infrastructure.
  2. The next six weeks (phase 2) we hope to answer the bigger strategic question of "How do we position our network to take us into 2005?" Facilities will have a representative in this group.


George Oberlander: I notice the deliverable is a report. It might be advisable to implement a "request for comment" procedure.

Tracy Futhey: For the first phase or both? We have a tight timeline and I want to keep it that way.

Robert Wolpert: I notice the absence of any mention of wireless in the second phase.

Tracy Futhey: This isn't deliberate; we should have something in there about that.