ITAC Meeting Minutes

September 13, 2012, 4:00 - 5:30

Allen Board Room



  • Announcements
  • Tableau
  • Security Awareness Month
  • TurnItIn
  • Hudson Virtual Tour



Richard announced that the DLP (data loss prevention), process that started about a year ago was still running just fine.  DLP appliances are used to scan file servers for social security numbers, credit card numbers and other sensitive data .  This is done to make departments aware that the sensitive data exists.  Once found, the data is either removed or secured.  The team has created a policy process that should currently be available on the security website. 


Tableau - David Jamieson-Drake, Joel Herndon

The IR office started working with Tabeau about 2 years ago.  After deciding that they really liked it, they began migrating activities over to it last year.  After polling other departments on campus; it was noticed that Perkins and Development were also looking at this tool, so they decided to go in together and purchase a server.  The industrial strength server was just purchased this summer but not currently up and running yet.  The IR office will migrate to that server later this month.  Tableau charges for creating tableau report.  You can also view this on a webserver, your own personal server or an enterprise server.  The applications displayed are very limited.  The tool will mainly be used for administrative purposes.

The examples were old country survey data where report information can be delivered in an interactive format.  The second example of a tableau report was survey data issued by Cornell, and the third was US news data.  This tool helps you visualize the data where it can be understood better.

The Perkins library also used Tableau, and a new initiative was launched this summer.  It offers more options that include ease of use.  The Tableau suite is similar to Office in that it has many different tools and multiple faces.  Some for small data sets, some for large. 

Tableau Public increases data literacy, integrated tools mapping, and visualization sharing.  Courses have been offered for Tableau for the past 3 semesters on campus.   

Question:   How does data get into Tableau...?

Answer:  Tableau public is limit to data on your drive.  The enterprise version inputs from any database.

Question:  John Board asked the question, who is the person that owns this product and can direct users to which version of the product to use?

Answer:  Drake is the owner and he will work with OIT to help determine which version to which client.  Also the public licenses are not a part of the campus licenses.   It's a one-time cost for licenses and an annual cost for the support of the product.  To publish to Tableau digital, you will need a licensed copy of Tableau which is $1300. 

Question:  If this becomes popular is there a way to merge the two types of data.

Answer:  Yes, it is currently being done at this time.


Security Awareness Month - Richard Biever, Chuck Kesler, Rachel Franke

Health checks are being done this year in the Link.  These checks will allow students to bring their systems in to have viruses and malware cleaned.  Information will also be given to help students understand how to keep their systems safe.  There will also be partnerships created with various departments on the university side to do similar activities for faculty and staff members.  In conjunction with that on the health system side, there will be an information security component added to the Live for Life fair.  This will be a great opportunity to take advantage of having many users in one place at one time.  A table will be set up in hopes to have users stop by and get the help/information that they may need.

A data security panel will also be created to help international travelers with data security.  This panel will consist of members from Information Security, Duke Global and Export Control.  There will also be several lunch and learn opportunities for the technical crowd.


TurnItIn Pilot - Ed Gomes, Evan Levine

TurnItin is anti-plagiarism software and paper checker that is being evaluated here at Duke.  It will be piloted this fall by a few schools. 

The request came from several faculty members at the Nicholas School, School of Medicine and Divinity.  Many schools were not quick to jump on board with the idea and others had mixed feelings.  Student Affairs have used this tool in the past and still currently runs a TurnItIn system.   They have actually purchased a 150 paper license and they have made those available to faculty on a case by case basis, when there is a suspected case of plagiarism.  Student Affairs are also not very enthusiastic about having this globally available without some conversations about the use cases.  They were concerned how it would be portrayed by the students, in addition to having them sign something about the honor code if faculty were thinking that this might be something integrated into Sakai. 

There are a lot of possibilities for this service.  However, we don't necessarily feel that IT is the group that makes the decision about this software.  We're supporting whatever decision the university makes regarding this service.  We thought this would be a particularly interesting topic to bring to this group and get some additional feedback, ideas of use cases and issues that people may foresee.

Question:  Can you explain how this tool functions?

Answer:  Well, it functions in a lot of different ways.  A paper can be submitted into this tool and the system checks the content of the paper against the hundreds of thousands of papers are already in their system to determine if the content has been pulled from any other academic papers already submitted.  Each entry is given a score.  If it is a low score, the paper is okay.  Anything above a certain number; and Duke can determine what that threshold is, they will decide that this is probably something that needs to be looked into to see if plagiarism was involved.

Richard mentioned that he had used it several times with Student Affairs.  There were cases where he was able to spot possible plagiarism in certain papers.  They were mandated to send any cases of possible plagiarism to Students Affairs.  Student Affairs then ran the paper through this system and TurnItIn was able to confirm the plagiarism by locating the source.  This was nice because it takes the burden off the professor. 

Ed mentioned that one of the items he received when inquiring about the software was the rationale of the tool being not just punitive.  In other words they may want to make this tool available and put their papers into the system to give students the feedback, to let them know how to write in a way that does not resemble plagiarism. 

Question:  What is the rate of false positive and false negatives in this tool?

Answer:  It is not left up to the tool to verify the final results.  The professor will be the one that determines whether or not this is a high level of plagiarism.

Question:  How would students feel using this tool when their HS may have used this in the past?  Shouldn't we stick to the honor code?

Answer:  There were no student representatives from ITAC present to lend feedback on this question.

Question:  What is the chance that students will be able to get access to this?

Answer:  Right now, it's pretty restricted to only professors.  Also, only 1 of the 3 schools that funded this pilot has actually started using it.

There are many functions in this tool like writing support, originality checking, grammatical check and proof reading that can be very helpful to students coming from other countries to which English is a second language.

Ed mentioned that Steven Bryant in the Student affairs department is happy to have a conversation with anyone that wants to use this and have questions about it being used as something other than a punitive tool.

Question:  If all Duke papers are entered into this system, would you have to get a release from the students?

Answer:  No one knows...


Update from CSG - Tracy Futhey, John Board

Tracy mentioned that there were 2 workshops yesterday.  The first one was coordinated by John and Mark on Big Data, the second workshop was on Global IT.  Tracy also stated that they not only feel lucky when they hear the things going on at other universities and the difficulties they have with their governance procedures that tend to run very well at Duke, thanks in large part to groups like ITAC.  They also feel lucky with the things that we're able to do and the places we're(Duke) at; even though on a day to day we sometimes feel like we need to do much more, we're actually pretty far ahead on some of these areas and are looked to as leaders.

  • Big Data - John mentioned that this was a very popular topic where many institutions are trying to figure out what is big data especially from the support point of view of IT organizations. Faculty are using it, our institution should be using it, but institutions should also be using their own data in interesting ways to do analysis that may or may not be big by Google's standards, but is certainly sizeable data. From Duke we talked about our experiments with enabling new types of networking pipes to move chunks of data around without clogging up the network. Other institutions talked about a variety of experiments and initiatives they have both to store and to move large amounts of data around.
  • Global IT - Tracy talked about this workshop and mentioned that NYU has really put a mark out there in terms of being a globally networked campus. Between Duke and NYU, we were the primary leads in this workshop. Bob Johnson has been leading an effort with a few other universities and internet2 to find a strategy that will allow us to find better ways to connect to places like China, so that we each won't have to go out and investigate deals or build separate data centers. This session was well received and we're probably going to partner with 3 other universities to make this cheaper for us than to do it on our own.


Hudson Virtual Tour - John Robinson, Mark McGill

The Hudson 117 lab was demoed.  The student lab and computing space was completely redone.

This was a traditional computing lab that was outdated and needed to be refreshed.

The result of this renovation was a technology enabled multi-purposed gathering space for students that could also be flipped into a classroom if needed.

The lab was demoed on the screen displaying all of the changes that were made. 


Ed Gomes announced, January 10th - Tech Expo...!!


Meeting adjourned at 5:26pm.