Office of the Vice President for Information Technology
University Information Technology Services
UITS Accomplishments Report: FY 98-99


1. Solid Foundation of IT Infrastructure and Sound Fiscal Planning
2. Access to Network Resources
3. Institutional Commitment: Faculty and Staff Support
4. Teaching and Learning: Content, Access, Distributed Education
5. Research: Computation, Communication, Collaboration
6. Information Systems: Managing IU's Information Assets
7. Telecommunications: Applications, Infrastructure, Convergence
8. Support for Student Computing
9. Digital Libraries and the Scholarly Record
10. Security, Privacy, Intellectual Property


UITS Accomplishments Report 2000-2001
UITS Accomplishments Report 1999-2000


Indiana University has had a year of major and far-reaching accomplishments in the area of information technology developing new services, implementing new systems, and providing a modern, state-of-the-art information technology environment to the IU community. Indeed it is no exaggeration to say that it was a greater year of achievement in information technology at Indiana University than any in its recent history, with the University rising to national and international prominence in a number of areas.

Guiding the development of information technology at IU is the Indiana University Information Technology Strategic Plan, "Architecture for the 21st Century". This is the most comprehensive and far-reaching plan ever prepared for the development of IT at IU, providing a bold and aggressive vision for the development, use, and application of information technology into the next millennium. Prepared in response to a request from IU President Myles Brand for a plan that will enable IU to become a "leader in absolute terms" in the creative use and application of information technology, the plan culminates a 15-month-long process of overhauling the structure and delivery of information technology at IU. The Plan focuses on the design, development, application, and use of information technology in support of teaching, learning, research, service, and the conduct of University business.

The IT Strategic Plan offers an organizing framework of 10 general recommendations and 68 specific actions that together provide a map that is both philosophical and concrete, and that plot the course for IT development at IU over the next five years. Developing the plan depended on an intellectual synergy among its authors and reviewers some 200 faculty, students, staff, and administrators from across the University's eight campuses including members of the University Information Technology Committee, campus IT Councils, computing center directors, and advisory taskforces.

The IT Strategic Plan outlines a strategy to achieve leadership in the four main areas of information technology in higher education: Teaching and Learning, Research and Academic Computing, University Information Systems, and Telecommunications. Critical to these areas are Sound Fiscal Planning, Access to Network Resources, Institutional Commitment, Support for Student Computing, Digital Libraries and the Scholarly Record, and Security, Privacy, and Intellectual Property. The points below provide highlights of major accomplishments in these 10 areas during the budget cycle for FY 98-99. These are grouped according to the 10 general recommendations of the IT Strategic Plan.

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1. Solid Foundation of IT Infrastructure and Sound Fiscal Planning

"Information technology is now a fundamental of higher education, internationally and on the campuses of Indiana University. Given the key role of information technology in research, teaching and service, it is no longer responsible to budget for it in an ad hoc manner and to fund it on a crisis basis. Planning for the full cost of technology, including on-going replacement and support, must be built into the budgeting of all units on all campuses. This applies to everything from desktop computers, to classroom technology, to central and distributed systems." IT Strategic Plan (See Recommendation 1)

A Modern Information Technology Environment

The IT Strategic Plan recommends that UITS should develop a life-cycle replacement model to use in conjunction with its investments in information technology, and that the University should modernize its stock of computers so that they are all capable of supporting current releases of widely-used software. During FY98-99, UITS began implementing a plan to completely renew the University's stock of faculty and staff computers and ensure that full life-cycle funding is in the base budget of schools in 5.5 years. The initial implementation involves the infusion of $2M in one-time funding from State technology funds to augment existing resources across the University.

As part of this process, UITS has undertaken a series of planning and implementation activities with academic schools on the IUPUI and IU-Bloomington campuses to systematically upgrade the personal computing systems used by faculty and staff, and to otherwise enhance and upgrade computing facilities and computing support in the schools. Initial plans are under way with, among others, the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Music at IUB, and the School of Liberal Arts and the University Library at IUPUI. Essential to all such plans is thecommitment by schools and campuses to the life-cycle replacement of computing equipment.

Providing all members of the University with access to a modern information technology environment is one of the highest priorities of the IT Strategic Plan. Toward this end, UITS took significant steps to make commonly used software available to all members of the IU computing community.

Most notably, in March 1998 IU announced the Microsoft Enterprise License Agreement (MSELA), the first ever high-value licensing agreement of its kind. The four-year, $6-million agreement provides IU students, faculty, and staff access to the latest versions of Microsoft's most popular software applications, including operating systems, desktop productivity tools, and infrastructure server and messaging products. Distribution to date far exceeds initial estimates, with in excess of 116,000 individual applications distributed, having a market value over $20 million, more than three times the value of the agreement. The most demanded product is the Microsoft Office Suite (word processing, spreadsheet, and other standard desktop applications for both Windows and Macintosh), with over 63,000 copies distributed. Operating system upgrades are next with over 30,000. A survey of IUB campus desktops indicates that the MSELA is helping users upgrade to the most current software: almost 99% of all Intel desktops are now running the 32-bit operating system (either Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT). UITS has also distributed a surprising 13,000+ copies of FrontPage Web authoring tool.

Just as the Microsoft agreement provided software for both Windows and Macintosh computers, it is essential also that IU be able to meet the needs of students, faculty, and staff for a selection of computing software products from other software vendors.

Providing access to a modern information technology environment also requires that students, faculty and staff have easy and secure access to all the licensed software products available to them from IU.

Organization, Recruiting and Personnel

Several important organization and recruitment efforts were undertaken in FY98-99 which contribute to the leadership of information technology at IU.

The recruitment and retention of qualified technical staff will be one of the greatest challenges facing IU's plans for leadership in information technology. The shortage of trained individuals to fill more than 300,000 vacant IT positions is a national problem recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC). Retaining current staff who already have a knowledge of, and commitment to, IU is an essential strategy for UITS. Toward this end, in FY98-99 UITS identified key staff and essential staff skills, and made necessary salary adjustments to improve the University's position in seeking to retain these valuable employees and their highly-valued competencies.

Usability

The growing use of usability testing in information design and delivery attests to the University's strong commitment to deploying the best possible information technology environment for students, faculty and staff. The UITS Usability Consulting Services contributed to the development and deployment of several of the University's mission critical information systems. Major projects undertaken in the Usability Lab include the following:

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2. Access to Network Resources

"Leadership in the use of information technology at IU depends on providing students, faculty, and staff with outstanding access to this technology. The nature of academic work will require faculty and staff to have reliable and high-speed access to the network, on campus and off; from the office, at home, or in clinical settings; while traveling; or wherever they may be working. The transformation of teaching and learning and advances in distributed education will call for network access in classrooms and throughout campus, in residence halls and homes, or wherever students, faculty and staff may work and study." IT Strategic Plan (See Recommendation 2)

Improving Remote Access

Thousands of students, faculty and staff rely on access to the computing and network resources of IU daily. At IUB they continue to rate network access to University computers from remote locations as among the most important services UITS provides.

In order to better meet the needs of students, faculty and staff, UITS took steps to maximize remote access via the existing modem pools at both campuses.

In Bloomington, UITS added 391 new, high-speed modems to its two-hour modem pool, which significantly relieved congestion and vastly improved satisfaction with remote access services. UITS also negotiated a contract with Ameritech to dramatically reduce the cost of digital service (Primary Rate ISDN service). This addition of almost 400 modems, with support for transmission speeds of up to 56Kbps, more than doubled the number of modems in that pool. This brings the modem pool to a total of 1163 modems, 939 of which allow PPP access. A recent survey revealed an excess capacity in the analog modem pool, and in March 1999 UITS will add 69 more modems to the two-hour PPP modem pool to replace the unused analog lines.

On the IUPUI campus five different modem pools offer different levels of service. Three are public and open to IUPUI staff, students, and faculty; two are dedicated departmental pools for Dentistry and the School of Medicine. In FY98-99, 100 modems were added to the public pools, bringing the total to 506.

Campus Network Access

UITS continued the technical upgrade and evolution of the IUB campus network. In FY98-99, connectivity to most desktop computers was upgraded to switched 10mb, meaning each desktop computer had an uncongested 10mb connection to the campus backbone. In the backbone itself, switched 100mb connectivity became standard, with initial implementations of gigabit network connectivity also being put in place.

UITS also enhanced on-campus access to network resources for members of the IUPUI community. Building on 1997 improvements to the campus backbone, UITS focused on the building networks and improving the reliability and performance of end-user connections. The current installation of Cisco and HP switched networking hardware provides 10mb and 100mb connections. The replacement of existing shared 10mb hardware continues. All campus buildings are expected to have new hardware by fall 2000. In total, over 10,000 network ports will be upgraded in 40 buildings in this 2.5-year project.

Based on the recommendation in the IT Strategic Plan, UITS is studying further solutions for providing the University community with ubiquitous access to network resources and alternatives to modem access at little or no additional cost over current technology. Vice President McRobbie charged the Remote Access Taskforce with evaluating options for IU's remote access environment. This charge called for studying options for the existing environment and creating a Request for Information for a new environment. The Taskforce submitted a proposal for "prime-time" limitation on modem usage to the University Information Technology Committee. The UITC approved this proposal.

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3. Institutional Commitment: Faculty and Staff Support

"Ways must be found to move faculty and staff along the ever increasing learning curve associated with mastering and keeping up to date with the information technologies relevant to their work. Experimentation should be tried with discipline-specific and peer education, with appropriate UITS staff involving departmental support staff and/or technologically aware faculty in a department (or cluster of departments) to develop appropriate training for faculty and staff." IT Strategic Plan (See Recommendation 3)

Technology Classes and Training

During summer 1998 UITS organized the UITS Education Programs on the IUB and IUPUI campuses to offer a standard set of IT workshops. Two types of classes are offered:

In FY98-99, UITS has developed new classes and offered classes to a wider audience. This year, more than 28,500 students, faculty, and staff participated in UITS classes on both campuses, an increase of 3,000 over last year. Class evaluation forms show a consistent 99.5% satisfaction rating.

UITS is also planning for the wide licensing and distribution of computer-based training tools to faculty, staff, and students.

Other advances in technology training in FY98-99 include offering classes in the Web Developer Series on both campuses, negotiating for online training for all IU affiliates (completion is expected by summer 1999), establishing new teaching sites at IUPUI, beginning partnership arrangements at IUPUI with the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and the Community Learning Center (CTL), and establishing IUPUI as a Cisco Academic Training Center (CATC) (See Section 4).

Also in FY98-99, UITS coordinated the following classes for department-based IT support professionals:

The UITS Unix Workstation Support Group offered three classes (comprising 27 class sessions) which will certify some 40 participants as Unix systems administrators by July 1999.

In FY98-99, UITS began using advanced communications technology to reach IT professional staff across the University. UITS used the Virtual Indiana Classroom (VIC) system to teach "Networking Basics" to over 50 IT professionals on several campuses, obviating the need for travel. UITS also used VIC to host a University-wide discussion on department-level Y2K issues. UITS plans to use this technology to offer a wider set of training tools to a broader audience of IT professionals from around the state.

Local Support Providers and the Leveraged Support Model

Local Support Providers (LSPs) are an integral component of providing an effective suite of computing support services in the schools and departments.

Through the LSP Services group at IUPUI, UITS staff developed a laboratory facility, located in BS0001, for use by campus Local Support Providers where equipment is now being installed. The laboratory will provide a site where LSPs can get hands-on experience and expert help in supporting the local area network and desktop systems in their departments. The group also developed an LSP Services Web site for which 80 LSPs have registered.

Following on the success of the Microsoft Enterprise License Agreement, the Database Management Group in UITS arranged for classes to be taught on the IUB and campuses in Microsoft SQL Server Administration, Cold Fusion for Developers, and Microsoft Access for Developers. Sixty-eight UITS staff and departmental system administrators and developers attended these classes.

During FY98-99, UITS hosted a retreat at Bradford Woods to collect feedback from Local Support Providers at IUB and IUPUI regarding on e-mail needs. This information is now being used in planning future e-mail support.

As an ongoing service to Local Support Providers, UITS provides access to a number of online tools via the PICS (Partners In Computing Support) program. These include:

Indiana University is recognized as a national leader in this area, especially for development of its Leveraged Support Model.

Database Support for Instruction and Research

UITS operates the central computing servers that are used to teach Sybase and Oracle databases to students. Twenty-four sections (960 students) in Computer Science, Business, SLIS, and SPEA used this service in FY98-99, an increase of 25% over last year. Instructors have requested tools for 57 sections next year. Support for geographical information systems (GIS) increased by 97% over FY97-98. Such departments as Geology, Geography, and SPEA use the ESRI (Environmental Systems Research, Inc.) GIS software for mapping and demographic studies. UITS has distributed 650 ESRI licenses (compared with 330 last year), and supports ESRI in the STCs.

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4. Teaching and Learning: Content, Access, Distributed Education

"Teaching and learning are central to the mission of a university, and information is of central concern to teaching and learning... To become a leader in information technology, Indiana University must become a leader in the innovative application of technology to teaching and learning, both for use on its campuses to improve the education that its students receive, and also for external use to share and promote the University's best to new learners." IT Strategic Plan (See Recommendation 4)

In FY98-99 UITS added to the available course tools and initiatives that support classroom instruction and distributed education.

Two additional services are offered by UITS, Alta Vista Forum and WebCT, that leverage the power of the Web to create collaborative classroom environments.

UITS broadened its support for Web-based course materials in other ways. These include a new search engine, which instructors can use as a course Web site search; a new bulletin board service, which can be used for simple Web-based collaboration; enhancements to Transform, a locally-developed program for processing forms on the Web; a secure Web server for use in collecting sensitive information; virtual host capability; a more secure CGI programming environment; and more effective processes for account requests, updates, and confirmations. Over 50% of the new Web accounts requested over the past year were intended for use in instructional settings.

The new World Wide Web Database Service provides IU departments with dynamic access to data over the Web, without the burden of server and database administration. Departmental developers can manage their databases using their preferred desktop management system and HTML-like templates to generate content. UITS manages the infrastructure that supports the system.

Distributed Education

The use of IT to support distributed education is a major recommendation of the IT Strategic Plan. In January 1999, the trustees of Indiana University approved the appointment of Erwin Boschmann, IUPUI Professor of Chemistry and Associate Dean of Faculties, as IU Associate Vice President for Distributed Education. He is responsible for developing and enhancing instructional capability across the IU campuses, implementing a distributed education strategy for IU, and stimulating pedagogic and technological experimentation and evaluation. The IU School of Continuing Studies will report to Boschmann. In his affiliation with the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology Boschmann will work closely with the Teaching and Learning Information Technology (TLIT) Division.

Classroom Technology

As demand for the Student Technology Centers (STCs) increases, so to does the challenge of meeting the sometimes conflicting needs of students and instructors for STC access. To address this, UITS designed a classification system for the IUB campus giving students greater access to STCs during the day and ensuring that STCs are available for instructional use. The categories of facilities follow.

On the IUPUI campus, room BS3003 was made into a UITS training classroom, more than doubling the number of students that can be accommodated and providing up-to-date workstations for participants. The facility is also the site for the Cisco Network Academy Training Center (CATC).

Information Technology Education

UITS, in conjunction with the Kelley School of Business, joined the Oracle Academic Initiative Program, which expands opportunities to integrate database technology, software development, and design tools into the school's curriculum.

The Teaching & Learning Technologies Lab (TLTL), in collaboration with the UITS Education Program, BEST, and other campus units, expanded its teaching support services by presenting a series of Faculty Development Seminars on such topics as PowerPoint; QuizSite online testing; Post'em Gradebook, which uses the Web to teach critical thinking; PhotoShop; creating a course Web site without HTML; copyright issues; and Web services at IU. TLTL also developed a Web-based quick reference to teaching and learning technologies and resources at IUB.

Instructional Technology Resources

The UITS Instructional Technology Resources group at IUPUI provided a wide array of instructional equipment to staff and faculty at IUPUI, in addition to managing the campus's multimedia Advanced Technology Auditoriums (ATAs) and Mobile Technology Classrooms (MTCs). UITS processed nearly 19,000 orders for portable classroom equipment at IUPUI in the past year.

Cisco Systems and Networking Education

Cisco Network Academy. IU has partnered with Cisco Systems to create a Cisco Network Academy Training Center (CATC) at IUPUI. Cisco, the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, launched Cisco Networking Academies in October 1997 to teach and certify high-school and college students to design, build, and maintain computer networks capable of supporting national and global organizations. The CATC at IUPUI will work with Indiana regional academies.

CCIE Practice Lab. IU and Cisco Systems partnered in a new joint project to develop a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Practice Lab. Operational as of February 1999 and one of two such labs in the nation, the lab provides a testing environment for networking professionals worldwide who are candidates for certification as Cisco Certified Internetwork Experts (the elite of internetworking industry certifications). The Department of Computer Technology in the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI manages and staffs the lab; UITS provides the networking support, including telephones, ISDN, and Internet access.

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5. Research: Computation, Communication, Collaboration

"High performance computing has been an area of distinction for IU, and one that can only be maintained through continued attention and support. The University's participation in many national and international research partnerships will depend upon its capabilities in high performance computation and communications. Advances in computing and communication have created increased demands for data storage and management. And underpinning all of this is the need to provide researchers with good software tools and good support services." IT Strategic Plan (See Recommendation 5)

The UITS Research and Academic Computing Division (RAC) and the Advanced Information Technology Laboratory (AITL) in FY98-99 expanded high-performance computing resources and made support more broadly available to the University population.

High Performance Computing at Indiana University

IBM RS/6000 SP. In September 1998 IU installed a significant upgrade to its IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputer. Now IU's most powerful supercomputer, the SP is listed among the world's Top 500 supercomputers (http://www.netlib.org/benchmark/top500.html). The upgrade to the SP was funded in part by a Shared University Research (SUR) grant from IBM, with significant additional investment by Indiana University. The SP is IU's primary home for research computing activities and is an especially valuable addition to the resources available to researchers at IUPUI, who have not previously had good general access to supercomputers. This system provides computing capabilities for everyone from beginning graduate students to IU's most sophisticated computational scientists. The popularity and value of the IBM SP are demonstrated by the fact it currently runs at 70% or greater of its peak capacity. The SP is one of the major venues for Associate Professor Randall Bramley's award-winning research in component technologies. This work, the focus of the SUR grant, is a critical element in the development of tools to make computational grids a reality. IU's IBM SP has already been used in a number of projects involving the use of computational grids.

SCAAMP Project. The Scientific Applications on Arrays of Multi-Processors Project (SCAAMP) was funded by a major grant from the National Science Foundation with matching funds from Indiana University. At its core is an SGI/CRAY Origin2000 supercomputer, also listed among the world's Top 500 supercomputers. Research using the SCAAMP system has already resulted in more than 25 publications and presentations in several fields. As the main computational system in rendering calculations required for advanced visualizations, the Origin2000 is a key resource in IU's virtual reality research. The Origin2000 is also being used as a computational resource in a large number of grid-based computing projects.

Parallel PC Cluster. IU has added a large cluster of Intel-based PCs to its array of high performance computing resources. IU's Parallel PC Cluster comprises 32 Compaq ProLiants, each with dual 400 MHz Pentium II processors. Software developed at national labs is being implemented to test these clusters as lower-cost alternatives to traditional supercomputers. A novel aspect of IU's Parallel PC Cluster is the flexibility of using either Microsoft Windows NT or Linux as the operating system. The cluster serves as a high performance parallel computing environment for IU researchers, as well as a research project in parallel computing. IU researchers are working with this system to determine what type of applications can be run effectively on a cluster of Intel-based systems and which require a traditional supercomputer. This system will also be used in experiments on grid-based computing and linked to other PC clusters at NCSA and CalTech.

Massive Data Storage

Each year for the past three years IU has doubled its storage capacity. The massive data storage project, the result of a two-year planning process, will provide a scalable, network accessible, standards-based storage infrastructure to support teaching, research, and administrative computing. System design is based on task force recommendations, input from multiple IU departments, a Request for Proposals (RFP), and guidance from the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology.

In December 1998, UITS began installation of a massive data storage system at the Wrubel Computing Center at IUB. The foundation of this system is HPSS (High Performance Storage System), computer software for hierarchical storage of computer information on multiple storage media, which was developed through a partnership between IBM Corporation and several U.S. national research laboratories. HPSS is designed to manage very large data storage requirements, and to migrate stored information, based on user-defined parameters, from high-cost to low-cost storage media, e.g., from high-speed disk to low-cost tapes. As part of the HPSS implementation, UITS is installing IBM 3494 tape robot systems for "deep" data storage, IBM SP 2 servers to manage and operate the system, and more than a terabyte of high-speed disk for online data storage. The HPSS system will replace the existing, much smaller, tape storage system based on IBM's ADSM software, as well as supplement Novell lockers and bookbag file services.

In parallel with the massive data storage implementation, UITS is developing a common file space for storage and retrieval of computer files, based on the integration of DFS (Distributed File System) with HPSS. IU will be the first institutional site in the world where an integrated HPSS/DFS system has been offered to users even on an experimental basis. The system couples closely DFS and HPSS components and allows for transparent migration of data between these two systems. This very flexible solution extends the functionality of HPSS, allowing departmental servers and even researchers' desktop workstations to serve as local massive data storage devices.

Computational Grids

The development of computational grids to attack the largest and most complex computational challenges is one of the most significant changes in high performance computing in the last decade. As a center of activity in high performance networking and computing, IU is poised to be a national figure in this development. The Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago and UITS deployed the iGrid research exhibit at the premier high-performance computing and communications conference, Supercomputing 98. The iGrid is a testbed for next-generation international networking applications, and the exhibit demonstrated 22 such applications representing more than 35 institutions from 10 countries. UITS staff contributed to an award-winning collaborative project with four other institutions in the US and Canada; this application was named the "Best Industrial Collaboration" in the High-Performance Computing Grand Challenge competition. The iGrid project also brought together a group of biologists and computer scientists from three countries to demonstrate grid-based calculations in evolutionary biology. These researchers are continuing their collaboration with a view to establishing an ongoing international computational resource.

Research Computing Activities

Other UITS efforts in FY 98-99 encouraged the exploration of new technologies, provided forums for collaboration, and furthered the application of information technology to disciplines traditionally not associated with cutting edge technologies.

Academic and Research Computing Support

In 1998 UITS introduced a new general-purpose Unix environment for IU students, staff, and faculty. The system, called Steel, is a cluster of four high-powered Sun UltraSPARCs and one SPARC450 running Solaris. Steel provides a high-powered general and instructional computing environment especially suited to database programming and high-level programming languages. Interactive research applications are also available. This system is an ideal resource for education in information technology in a wide variety of disciplines, and is also popular among students who wish to expand their information technology expertise through self-directed study.

The UITS Research and Academic Computing Division spans the IUB and IUPUI campuses. This has permitted the expansion of services and support offered to both campuses, especially at IUPUI. With the retirement of the INDYVAX in 1998, UITS encouraged IUPUI researchers to move to the IBM RS/6000 SP, which expands routine access to supercomputer power.

Support for Unix has expanded with the addition of a full-time staff member on the IUPUI campus dedicated to supporting Unix workstations, along with better access to the expertise of the existing Bloomington-based Unix support staff. Research-oriented software is also more widely available at IUPUI, thanks to expanded site licenses for statistical and mathematical software, Unix operating systems, and such research-oriented software as AutoCAD. Software not formerly site licensed for IUPUI was added to UITS' service suite, giving IUPUI researchers access to research software at prices well below academic list, and saving tens of thousands of dollars per year. The Center for Statistical and Mathematical Computing is open to questions from all IU campuses, and Stat/Math staff are available for in-person consulting at IUB and IUPUI. Research and Academic Computing Division staff are working to improve services offered to all IU campuses by providing access to IU's large central research systems, and by negotiating site licenses that expand access to research-oriented software at IU's smaller campuses. Other personnel changes within the RAC Division were made to enhance customer service, including the addition of a mathematics software support person and reallocation of existing staff to create a small group that supports high performance computing.

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6. Information Systems: Managing IU's Information Assets

"Information technology has become a key component of managing and operating the University's business systems. University-wide prioritization, coordination, oversight and planning are needed for the development and implementation of information systems. Leadership is needed in the implementation of enterprise-wide information systems to help continue the transformation of the administrative units of the University, and to support the goals set forth in other areas of this plan for teaching, research, service and support for student learning." IT Strategic Plan (See Recommendation 6)

Coordination and Planning for Enterprise-Wide Information Systems

The IT Strategic Plan recognized that for many years now there has been no overall institutional strategic plan for the implementation and on-going development of the University's central information systems. Systems have been proposed, developed, and funded in a basically ad-hoc manner without any overall central prioritization, coordination, and planning. And as a consequence, the University was becoming over-extended in its ability to continue to develop new information systems.

To address this serious need, in FY98-99, UITS through its University Information Systems (UIS) Division assumed responsibility for mission-critical University information systems and the associated systems development and management activities. In providing an increased leadership profile, UITS has assumed responsibility for the technical architecture, integration, technical standards, network design and support, data warehouse, information delivery environments and the technical development of these systems. The process of consolidating these responsibilities was accomplished through a collaborative effort to achieve positive results for everyone involved end users, operational units, and technical staff. The benefits are already evident in the increased coordination that has been possible across such major enterprise-wide information systems as the Human Resources Management System, the Financial Information System, and the new Student Information System.

Further progress toward the goal of coordination and integration was made in FY98-99, as UITS established standards for software tools, development methodologies, project management, and computing platforms to achieve cost savings and make the best use of resources.

University Information Systems Implementation Plan

A detailed implementation plan for University Information Systems was developed to guide the development of information systems and the supporting technical infrastructure. This plan, presented to the IU Board of Trustees in December 1998, is the most comprehensive plan for IU Information Systems ever conducted and begins a wide-ranging planning and budgeting process for implementing the recommendations and actions of the IU Information Technology Strategic Plan that fall under the purview of the UIS Division. The plan outlines major initiatives for developing and transforming IU's institutional information systems and the computing environment upon which these systems rely.

A New Student Information System

One of the highest priorities identified in the IT Strategic Plan for the University's information systems is the implementation of a new Student Information System.

In FY98-99, UITS finalized an agreement to use PeopleSoft's Student Administration System to support re-engineering of critical institutional information systems. In the area of Student Systems, the key functional modules that will be implemented are admissions, recruitment, financial aid, student records, registration, grades, advising, student billing, and student financials. Essential to the success of this endeavor will be the leadership and active participation of student service managers and professionals from such campus units as the Registrar, Bursar, Admissions, and Financial Aid Offices.

Also, working to make immediate improvements to the information systems that serve students, UITS helped the IUPUI Admissions Office design a new Web-based service so that users can query the Admissions Office database about transfer equivalencies. The PACE (Public Access Course Evaluation) service eases the process of determining how courses taken at other universities apply at IUPUI. Users can access PACE on the IUPUI Admissions Office home page through the option, "Transfer to IUPUI."

Re-engineering Information Systems

UITS made important strides in re-engineering the University's information systems in FY98-99. The development and implementation of a new Human Resource Management System is being undertaken in coordination with the Student Information System project. IU has an agreement to also use PeopleSoft software for this Human Resources system, which will include software components for staff and faculty records, payroll/benefits, benefits administration, applicant tracking, and training administration. These two major systems will benefit from the use of a common technology platform, database system and software vendor.

In FY98-99, UITS began work on an information environment for the Human Resources and Student Information Systems environment that will provide a Web-based interface where students can register, pay fees, take part in advising, and check course and degree requirements, and where faculty and staff can access University information related to employment and benefits. Easy-to-use software will enable faculty, staff, and students to customize their own "self-service" information.

With Purchasing and FMS, UITS completed the preliminary analysis for consolidating processing of the FIS (Financial Information System) and TOPS (The Online Purchasing System). In FY98-99 a new Web-based requisition environment was instituted for contract purchases, leading toward a more integrated system that will enable faculty and staff to use IU's extensive accounting system throughout the purchase process. The system will centralize the routing and approval systems so existing approval hierarchies can be shared and will integrate purchasing with other data that are part of the first enterprise-wide Web-based decision support system for financial data. The Financial Data Retrieval System (FDRS) won a national award and has become a model for many other colleges and universities.

Electronic Research Administration (ERA), part of an extensive information system for research grant management, is under development. As the current FIS automates post-grant processing, ERA provides the faculty and Sponsored Research Services on the campuses with the information necessary to streamline the pre-grant process.

A Technical Infrastructure for University Information Systems

Enterprise Unix Environment. The IT Strategic Plan calls for IU to migrate its information processing to more modern computing platforms, using the Unix operating system. The decision was taken in FY98-99 to invest in the IBM SP computing architecture, which provides the advantages of a large central computing platform and enables the flexibility of Unix-based processors that are common in distributed systems. Over the next five years, UIS will migrate the information systems that reside on the current, outdated mainframe to a new consolidated Enterprise Unix Environment (EUE). The plan calls for this Enterprise Unix Environment to grow to over 100 processors and almost two terabytes of data storage over the next five years. Although development activities for re-engineering are just beginning, the decision to use the EUE and the mass storage platforms, together with the cost savings inherent in the Oracle licensing agreement, will help lower the overall cost of computing.

University-wide Database System. To support the re-engineering of information systems, UITS signed an enterprise license agreement with Oracle to use Oracle's state-of-the-art database products and tuning and diagnostic software to build the database infrastructure for the Student Information System, the Human Resource Management System, the Financial Information System, and all of IU's information systems. Under the agreement departments, faculty, and staff will be able to use the Oracle database server for administrative, research, and teaching in support of the University's mission.

Year 2000 (Y2K)

The Year 2000 Institutional Data team in FY 98-99 completed Year 2000 coding for all major enterprise-wide information systems, including Financial Information, Payroll, Purchasing, Registration, Admissions, Financial Aid, and the Bursar. The Financial systems are in production, and the student systems are in complete regression testing. The plan calls for all systems to reach production status by April, with April through June dedicated to significant Year 2000 testing. All Y2K activities for central information systems will be completed by July 1. UIS is conducting the Year 2000 Awareness Program and the Year 2000 Outreach Program to help staff and faculty in other departments plan for and address Y2K problems.

UITS is a key participant in IU's Year 2000 readiness project, providing coordination and support to all campuses. UITS supports the IU and IUPUI Year 2000 Web sites. At IUPUI a Year 2000 Working Group and a Steering Group were established to facilitate planning, communication, and coordination. IUPUI's Year 2000 Readiness Disclosure site was linked to IUPUI's home page at http://www.iupui.edu. During the year, 28,765 items were inventoried within the Medical and Dental Schools and UITS. Of these, 5,985 assessments were made for Y2K compliance. The IUPUI Y2K Departmental Services group also worked with the Clarian Year 2000 Team. By year's end, UITS had also established a Year 2000 Test Lab at IUPUI for LSPs to test Year 2000 remediation and conversion methods.

Advanced Information Technology and University Information Systems

Under the direction of the Advanced Information Technology Laboratory (AITL), UIS created the DataLab, a laboratory environment for testing and evaluating database management software. The DataLab establishes database usage standards for the University and tests innovative and advanced applications of database technology in support of UIS. In addition the lab helps support faculty use of database technology in advanced research and instruction.

Working with the AITL, UIS initiated a project to evaluate and recommend an enterprise-wide asset management system. This hardware and software system will allow for the storage, management, and retrieval of all types of non-traditional data files, and will operate in conjunction with IU's HPSS massive data storage system. The system will meet the needs of many departments, including the University Libraries, University Archives, Financial Management Support, and Human Resources, and will help answer faculty needs for storing data in our massive data store.

New UIS Leadership

Significant appointments were made in FY98-99 in the UITS University Information Systems Division to help guide IU in the planning and reengineering efforts that will take IU's information systems into the next millennium. Norma Holland was appointed Associate Vice President, University Information Systems. Dennis Cromwell was appointed UIS Director at IU - Bloomington, and Vincent Sheehan was appointed UIS Director at IUPUI. Cromwell and Sheehan are responsible for leading the preparation for the Year 2000 and supporting enterprise-wide systems that underlie the major administrative functions of the University. Also appointed were Jennifer Foutty as UIS Director of HR/Student Systems, and Barry Walsh as UIS Director of Fiscal Systems.

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7. Telecommunications: Applications, Infrastructure, Convergence

"Telecommunications is one of the most important and fundamental technologies in the last decade of this century. It promises to be even more so in the next. It is revolutionizing commerce, industry, education, science and society. Telecommunications at Indiana University consists of two components: its voice, video and data intra- and inter-campus networks and services, and the connections from this infrastructure to national and international telecommunications networks and services. In a very real sense telecommunications is the "cement" that binds the University together and which binds it to the national and international research community in all academic areas." IT Strategic Plan (See Recommendation 7)

UITS made major national and international contributions in FY98-99 to the development of next-generation network architectures and infrastructures.

Internet2 Abilene High Performance Network

In August 1998 IU was chosen to operate the Abilene research and education network operations center (NOC). Abilene is an Internet2 backbone project of the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), developed through access to a nationwide fiber-optic network made available by Qwest Communications International and through technologies provided by Cicso Systems and Nortel Networks.

Housed at IUPUI, the Abilene NOC will provide comprehensive network management services for all physical and operational aspects of the Abilene network, ensuring the day-to-day functioning of the core nodes and the backbone network. The NOC is critical to the deployment of advanced networking initiatives and services being developed by the Internet2 community. The establishment of coast-to-coast connectivity completes an important step. Abilene also provides a separate network where advanced network capabilities can be tested before they are introduced into the application development network. Such services are expected to include Quality of Service (QoS) standards, multicasting, and advanced security and authentication protocols. The Abilene network is now operational coast-to-coast, and nation-wide operations were formally announced on February 24, 1999 in
Washington, DC.

TransPAC

On 21 September 1998 the National Science Foundation awarded IU a $10-million grant, which, coupled with an annual $6 million from Japan's Science and Technology Agency (STA), will allow IU and the Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN) consortium to develop the TransPAC high-speed, international connection between the NSF's vBNS and the APAN networks. AT&T and Japan's Kokusai Denshin Denwa, Co., Ltd. (KDD) will provide the main networking infrastructure for the connection.

With its connection to the vBNS through the Science, Technology, and Research Transit Access Point (STAR TAP) in Chicago, TransPAC will provide IU and other vBNS-linked US institutions with high-bandwidth access to an unprecedented number of research and education institutions in the Asia Pacific. TransPAC will support collaborations in such disciplines as astronomy, molecular biology, high-energy physics, medicine, meteorology, visualization, computational science, and distance learning. TransPAC is expected to enable some $200 million of new research over a five-year period.

The TransPAC NOC on the IUPUI campus is managed by UITS staff from IUPUI and IUB and from Kokusai Denshin Denwa, Tokyo, Japan. The TransPAC network became operational in October. In November TransPAC network peering was established with the NASA Research and Education network (NREN) and the US Energy Sciences Network (ESnet). In November, TransPAC facilitated a number of highly successful iGrid high performance application demonstrations at SuperComputing '98. In December negotiations and planning began to increase TransPAC bandwidth from 35 to 70Mbps.

Other External Partnerships

IU and Purdue. UITS, in cooperation with Purdue University, published a Request For Information for the acquisition of "dark fiber" to connect West Lafayette, IUPUI, and Bloomington via a very high-speed backbone. IU and Purdue reached an agreement to co-manage a regional GigaPoP (a high-speed network aggregation point that allows effective utilization of bandwidth and flexible interconnect arrangements) to connect to such advanced, high-speed networking resources as Abilene, TransPAC, and the vBNS. IU and Purdue also co-managed a GigaPoP on the Indianapolis campus.

Interactive Media Distribution System. The Interactive Media Distribution System (IMDS) is an on-demand multimedia storage and retrieval system, with materials from broadcast television, distance education channels, and local, state, and satellite videoconferences. IMDS, licensed to Netology Networking of Indianapolis for worldwide distribution, was a featured application at the Internet2 conference in San Francisco. At the conference, the 3CX-software product for MPEG streaming was integrated with IMDS to deliver broadcast quality video from Indianapolis to San Francisco over the data network.

Advanced Information Technology Laboratory

Several Advanced Information Technology Laboratory (AITL) projects supported advancements in telecommunications at IU in FY98-99.

Voice Technology

The UITS Telecommunications Division made significant advances in voice technology and administration in FY98-99. A telecommunications engineering group, based at IUPUI, was established to oversee and support all data and voice infrastructure planning for the University. This centralized approach will converge wire and cable tracking for all campuses.

Planning for a converged telecommunications infrastructure, UITS is collaborating with Interactive Intelligence, Inc. of Indianapolis to evaluate an experimental system to integrate all switching and call center functions (e.g.: voice mail, voice over IP, automated call distribution, messaging, call processing) on the desktop under a Windows NT Server platform. The test will determine the feasibility and functionality of deploying such a system in the University environment and its impact on call answering points, such as the campus switchboard and the Support Center. When the study is complete the test system will move to the School of Telecommunications for student use and evaluation. In a successful test of voice over IP, the IUB telephone switch was connected to the IUPUI phone system through IU's data network on an experimental basis.

Access to the SUVON (State University Voice Network) system was standardized for users on the Indianapolis and Bloomington campuses, establishing a single, consistent dialing pattern and providing five-digit dialing for all exchanges on both campuses. Plans call for standardizing access for the regional campuses. SUVON links the telephone systems of 75 colleges, universities, and learning centers throughout Indiana.

In response to customer demand, Caller ID (commonly known as *69) will be deployed to Bloomington campus administrative and residential customers in late spring 1999. Negotiations are underway on service levels, pricing points, and service delivery.

On 1 July 1998 long distance rates for the University's administrative and residential customers decreased significantly, boosting the customer base and stabilizing revenues. A postalized rate structure was put in place for domestic long distance calls; international rates were reduced between 25 and 50%, depending on destination. IU's long distance service is now competitive with alternative long distance options.

In response to customer demand, residential customers on the Bloomington campus have the options of paying monthly invoices by credit card or automatic bank draft. In addition to providing convenience for customers, these options may decrease the percentage of bad debt.

Online invoices are now available to account managers and communication coordinators at IUB who oversee and track departmental telecommunication charges. This tool was designed for those familiar with the University's Financial Management System (FMS) and will in time be integrated into the FMS DataDirect Web environment. This service enables users to download or view on the Web detailed or summarized data by object code, line charges, authorization code, and/or extension.

AXIS, the Oracle-based billing and wire and cable tracking system from Pinnacle Data Systems, was implemented on the Indianapolis campus. This system is built upon a client-server architecture and is fully integrated with the University's Financial Information System (FIS). The AXIS system manages all UITS billings on the Indianapolis campus.

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8. Support for Student Computing

"Advances in information technology in areas of teaching, learning, and academic research will depend upon the quality of support provided for student use of computing. In most cases, and this will only increase, students come to campus with an acceptance and understanding of information technology that pushes the institution, through its faculty and staff, to respond. While some faculty and staff may still need to be enlisted in the information revolution, students everywhere are already agents for change. The challenge is to make sure that students graduate from Indiana University having had the advantages and opportunities they need to explore information technology, especially as it relates to their chosen studies." IT Strategic Plan (See Recommendation 8)

Student Access to Information Technology

Demonstrating the commitment to provide access to a diverse range of software at no or low cost, UITS in FY98-99 IU forged several major agreements with software companies, most notably by establishing an Enterprise License Agreement with Microsoft Corporation. (See Section 1 for additional details.)

IU also expanded the amount of software available online through IUware (and on the IUware CD), and extended support for a Unix operating system (Linux) that runs on the desktop.

UITS expanded the availability of specialized software, adding a site license for AutoCAD and expanding site licenses for such research applications as SPSS, SAS, and Stata. The addition of key programming tools to IU's Unix STCs now provides instruction in parallel programming.

To help new students make technology choices that are compatible with the IU technology landscape UITS produced an online ComputerGuide with information on buying computers, upgrading existing computers for campus compatibility, and choosing hardware and software.

Also, making computer hardware more accessible to students, IU teamed with Apple, Compaq, and Dell to identify personal computer bundles for IU students, faculty, and staff based on the recommendations in the ComputerGuide. These bundled systems are available for purchase from the IU Bookstore (Apple and Compaq) and from the manufacturers.

Expanded IT Information Offerings

UITS continued to improve its mechanisms for making technology information available to and accessible by the IU computing community via the Knowledge Base, a variety of news vehicles, and paper and online how-to guides.

Student Technology Centers (STCs)

Student Technology Center enhancements offer more students more access in more locations on the IUB and IUPUI campuses. An STC classification system (see Section 4) increases accessibility to students and instructors.

STC expansions and upgrades at IUB include the following:

STC expansions and upgrades at IUPUI include the following:

Other expansions of computer access include:

New Accounts & Orientation

UITS partnered with the IU Orientation Programs Office to distribute e-mail accounts and software, and to provide basic technology training to some 11,500 first-year undergraduates at IUB and IUPUI in the months before classes began, allowing students to get an early start familiarizing themselves with IU and its technology resources.

Student Technology Consulting

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9. Digital Libraries and the Scholarly Record

"The transformation of teaching and learning through the use of information technology also entails the transformation of scholarly literature and learning resources through the widespread implementation of electronic journals, online databases, digital libraries, and other networked information services." IT Strategic Plan (See Recommendation 9)

The University made continuing progress in FY98-99 expanding its digital library programs and developing the digital library infrastructure in support of research, teaching, and learning.

PEAK. IUB students, faculty, and staff have access for a limited time to an additional 1,081 full-text online science journals published by Elsevier Science, through a nationwide library experiment sponsored by the University of Michigan. Called PEAK, the service is researching the pricing and electronic delivery of journals in the physical, life, and social sciences. IU Libraries offers the IUB community online access through August 1999 to journals, sophisticated searching, fast document delivery, and subscription options.

Digitizing Hoagy. Under a $166,000 grant from the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) the IU Libraries' Digital Library Program and the IU Archives of Traditional Music are collaborating on a Web site that will offer digitized selections of IU's Hoagy Carmichael collection on the Bloomington campus. Designed for wide audience appeal, the site will include an online museum and in-depth information for scholars.

LETRS. The Library Electronic Text Retrieval Service (LETRS), a collaborative project of the IU Libraries and UITS, was significantly upgraded in FY98-99 with new Windows workstations, Power Macintoshes, an additional scanner, and a new optical character recognition system that facilitates the creation of online text resources. LETRS expanded its hours to mirror Library hours.

Victorian Women Writers Project. During FY98-99 41 texts (10,000 pages) were added to the Victorian Women Writers Project, doubling 1996/97 production and bringing the totals to 144 titles (25,000 pages). The VWWP is a collection of highly accurate transcriptions of works by 19th-century British women writers, transcribed, edited, and SGML-encoded for use by IU students and scholars worldwide.

The AITL contributed a component-based object typing architecture to the IU Digital Libraries NSF proposal. This software infrastructure will allow the development of "plug and play" applications that use digital library resources.

Digital Image Database for K-12. A second grant from IMLS, valued at $290,000, was awarded to the IUPUI University Libraries' Herron Art Library. The grant provides trial access to AMICO's digital image database for the K-12 educational and public library communities in the greater Indianapolis area. AMICO is a consortium of more than 23 major North American art museums that are testing the Web delivery of images from their museum collections.

Audio Learning Options. Collaborating with University Library at IUPUI, UITS enhanced audio-learning options for the IUPUI community. The University Library Circulation Desk offered audio tapes and headphones for use with audio playback facilities in UL 0120 and UL 2135. Audio resources include foreign language tapes, music programs, and classes in the Lecture Hall that were recorded by faculty request. UITS also worked with the Library to offer high-speed tape duplication equipment in UL 2111 so users can copy materials using their own blank tapes.

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10. Security, Privacy, Intellectual Property

"Security and privacy are important issues for IU to address in achieving a position of information technology leadership. The security of information and information technology is a University-wide concern, requiring a University-wide response: institutional vision and commitment, clear and forceful policies, appropriate plans and procedures, and ongoing programs of education and awareness." IT Strategic Plan (See Recommendation 10)

Information Technology Security Office

The University-wide Information Technology Security Office (ITSO) was established in FY 98-99 to provide proactive security analysis, development, education, and guidance related to information assets and information technology environments on all campuses. The office seeks to ensure a safe and secure atmosphere for teaching and learning, research, service, and the conduct of University business. Its security resources include patches, advisories, and other self-defense materials for users and technical staff (see http://www.itso.iu.edu).

The ITSO has a University-wide license for software that scans systems on the IU network for externally visible security vulnerabilities. Other universities have expressed an interest in IU's system. The Office also has a University-wide license for a computer system scanner that finds system vulnerabilities. It's available for downloading by IU system administrators. These programs have dramatically reduced IU system vulnerabilities in FY98-99. Plans call for expanding the program to all campuses.

Information Technology Policy Office

The Information Technology Policy Office (ITPO) was established in FY98-99 to provide analysis, development, interpretation, and education for IU on IT policies, practices, and assessment, including disaster recovery and business continuity/resumption planning. The Office makes materials and information available on its Web site at http://www.itpo.iu.edu.

ITPO maintains a robust online technology abuse and security incident receiving and tracking system that facilitates interactions between the ITPO and such external offices as the Dean of Students and law enforcement agencies. This Web-based system is also of interest to other universities. ITPO is staffed with a full time Incident Response Coordinator to handle incidents of technology abuse or misuse by the IU community and by external Internet users. The Policy Office has handled some 1200 incidents over the last 24 months.

The site license UITS signed with Symantec, Inc. for its Norton AntiVirus software recognizes the threat that viruses pose to the security, reliability, and integrity of the IU's workstations and data. The three-and-a-half-year agreement includes Norton AntiVirus 5.0 for Macintosh, Windows 95/98/NT Workstation, Windows NT Servers, and Norton AntiVirus 4.0 for NetWare. Symantec's Norton AntiVirus products are available from IUware Online or SoftServe at no charge.

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CPO Web page    IT@IU Web page

Posted 11 March 1999
Comments to itiu@indiana.edu
Copyright © 1999, The Trustees of Indiana University