11.0290 computing infrastructure

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Wed, 24 Sep 1997 18:43:24 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 290.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Michael Kessler <mkessler@ceres.sfsu.edu> (81)
Subject: Re: infrastructure?

[2] From: Dan Price <dprice@union1.tui.edu> (25)
Subject: Clarification

[3] From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk> (14)
Subject: clarifications

Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 15:42:25 -0800
From: Michael Kessler <mkessler@ceres.sfsu.edu>
Subject: Re: infrastructure?

On 23 Sep 97 at 21:30, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:

> --[2]------------------------------------------------------------------
> Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 08:48:36 +0100
> From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk>
> Subject: distribution of infrastructure?
> This is a question for those within universities where specialised centres
> or units offering support for humanities computing exist alongside other
> units that share some of the same interests, e.g. computing centres of the
> older type. Where this happens, are there instances in which the former and
> the latter have been able to establish a cooperative arrangement that works
> well for all concerned, especially the students and academic staff? For
> those cases in which the relationship does not work well, what are the
> strategies for achieving a successful infrastructure?
> One might guess that the state toward which we are progressing is one in
> which a centralised service (a.k.a. the computing centre) handles the
> networking and e-mail services and discipline- or area-specific academic
> centres, as for humanities computing, take care of everything else. In other
> words, the former largely disappears from sight, like the water-works, while
> the latter handles direct, high-profile involvement with its non-technical
> relations on a collegial basis.
> Anyone who would like to offer examples and comments but who would prefer to
> remain anonymous please indicate this clearly in the submission. (Remember,
> no submission is published without your editor's intervention.) I think it
> would be very useful indeed to many of us to know which way the winds are
> blowing and, if necessary, to have battle with these winds. They are a
> strong and elusive but not unconquerable opponent.

As the LAN manager in the College of Humanities at San Francisco State
University, I might be able to provide some useful information.

As concerns e-mail, every member of the SFSU community has the right to an
e-mail account (henceforth called PINE) from the centralized system. The PINE
account is crucial because no one can get into the SFSU system from
a modem without giving an account name or password. This is before
connecting to the PINE account itself. However, the College of Humanities
runs a Novell network (most of the campus uses Windows NT), so that we have
available a local mail account (henceforth called Pegasus) that connects also
to the internet. Any new account automatically gets a Pegasus account on the
Novell system. Some opt to not receive Pegasus mail, others have the mail
forwarded automatically to their PINE account, still others have their PINE
mail automatically forwarded to Pegasus, and others simply do not pay any
attention to what mail system they have or where. The presumed division
between local and university-wide mail is a contentious issue, which is why
we are hardly using either mail system for messages intended for everyone in
the College of Humanities. But now there is talk of replacing paper memos
with e-mail within the College of Humanities. The problem is that about 25%
of those listed in our college directory do not have Pegasus mail, although
they might have a PINE account (theoretically every tenure-track faculty
member has a computer in her office, but some have asked that it be taken

The College of Humanities provides all the standard software and some
specialized software on its Novell network. Most of it is purchased by the
College on a licensed basis, but some of it comes via campus or system
licenses. Thus virus protection is purchased by Computing Services at San
Francisco State University on a licensed basis, while SPSS is available
through a license obtained by the California State University system. The
campus maintains open labs in various buildings, including a 24 hour lab in
the library, which provide access to the most common software, although there
is a definite bias toward Microsoft software. Those who are enamored of
Microsoft or absolutely want to be on the cutting edge of technology get the
latest and greatest (?) as soon as it comes out, others prefer to wait and
see what happens. The result is that some labs on campus use Office 97 while
we decided to wait because of the reported bugs in some of the applications;
backward compatility is a real problem. Since faculty rarely use computers
on campus except in their own offices, it makes sense to localize the service
that they require or simply demand. Similary, some CAI software and
specialized software should remain under the control of the local college and
schools, or even departments.

The College of Humanities purchases and maintains its own equipment. Only
the data closets contain equipment maintained and sometimes purchased by
Computing Services.

Hope this helps.

Michael Kessler voice (415) 338-1662
College of Humanities mailto:MKessler@ceres.sfsu.edu
San Francisco State University FAX (415) 338-7030
1600 Holloway Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94132

Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 14:58:40 +0100 (BST)
From: Dan Price <dprice@union1.tui.edu>
Subject: Clarification

Enjoyed your posting this AM re. the core areas of familiarity; and have two
further comments for clarification.

imaging (intro only) I am professing my ignorance on this one; not
quite sure what you mean--scanning or graphics presentation or what.

bibliographic management--Again, I am not sure of your intention
here; does it concern the use of Search Engines? This would be a primary
catagory, similar to using a card catalogue. Funny, now that I think about
it. I never took a course in the latter, just someting that I and probably
most picked up by hit and miss an questions.

At any rate, I suggest further elaboration, especially on this latter one.

thank you for all the work on the Listserv (a presumed skill under
e-communications?) It can start a thought in he back of the head for the
day and come forth in intersting discussion during coffee or dinner.


Dan Price, Ph.D.
The Center for Distance Learning
The Union Institute (800) 486 3116 ext.222
440 E McMillan St. (513) 861 6400 ext.222
Cincinnati OH 45206 FAX 513 861 9026


Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 18:41:56 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: clarifications

Dan Price, in the foregoing note, asks for clarifications on a couple of points.

(1) imaging. By this I mean the capture and manipulation of digital images.
Capture includes the use of a digital camera, image scanning (with a
slide-scanner or flat-bed scanner), digitization from videotape.
Manipulation, in an introductory course, I would presume to go no further
than resizing, altering of brightness and contrast, cropping, and the like.

(2) bibliographic management. Here I mean nothing more than the use of
dedicated software for recording and formatting bibliographic information,
such as EndNote, Citation or Library Master.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dr. Willard McCarty, Senior Lecturer, King's College London
voice: +44 (0)171 873 2784 fax: +44 (0)171 873 5801
e-mail: Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk

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