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January 9, 1991

 

                               MINUTES

                         Computer Committee

          Conference Room D - Information Systems Building

                           January 9, 1991

                                4 PM

 

 

  PRESENT:     Don Allison, Joseph Cochran, John Cosgriff,

               David Goodyear, Bea Mahan for Katherine Johnston,

               Gerry McLaughlin, Fred Medley, Harlan Miller, Mary Miller,

               K. B. Rojiani, Richard Sorensen, Ernest Stout,

               J. R. Webster, Jeff Wilcke, Mike Williams

 

  ABSENT:      Darrell Bosch, John Burton, Bob Heterick,

               Joan McClain-Kark, Terry Rakes, Jay Stoeckel

 

  VISITOR(S):  Barbara Robinson and Bill Sanders (Computing Center)

               Charles Nunnally (Electrical Engineering)

 

 

        AGENDA ITEM 1:  MINUTES OF THE DECEMBER 5, 1990 MEETING

 

        Motion made, seconded and passed to approve the minutes of the

        December meeting.

 

        AGENDA ITEM 2:  COMPUTING CENTER ANNOUNCEMENTS (WILLIAMS)

 

        In response to reduced demand and budget cuts, the walk-in con-

        sulting facility in Newman Library was closed at the end of the

        year.  Most clients, who use telephone or electronic consulting,

        will see no change in service.

 

        AGENDA ITEM 3:  SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS

 

        1.  Computer Capacity and Planning Subcommittee (Allison)

 

            The subcommittee has been working on preparation of a survey

            of the 100 users who make the most use of the mainframes, as

            well as selected other users.  Questions are expected to be

            distributed in about two weeks.

 

        2.  Personal Computer Subcommittee (Sorenson)

 

            The subcommittee met December 7, and will meet again January

            11.  They expect to develop a more specific internal position

            with regard to Virginia Tech Facilities' activities, and also

            to consider establishment of an independent facility to han-

            dle computer sales.

 

        3.  User Services Subcommittee (Goodyear)

 

            The subcommittee decided to try to tie their efforts this

            year into the full committee's proposed planning document.

            Accordingly, they expect to be considering what support would

            be required in a more distributed environment.

 

        AGENDA ITEM 4:  DISCUSSION OF PLANNNING DOCUMENT

 

        With cutbacks for some extending even as far as the dropping of

        phone service, it becomes even more important for the University

        to take a position on the future of information systems.  The

        committee may address the President and Provost on this issue

        through the University Council.  The chairman will try to assem-

        ble a subcommittee composed of members of the three Information

        Systems committees to be charged with drafting a composite plan-

        ning document, since the three areas are highly interrelated.

        It was widely agreed that a strong network is a key element in

        the future of information systems, with current funding mech-

        anisms a major obstacle to effective use of the existing

        infrastructure.  Departments are unable to take advantage of im-

        portant new tools which might be made available to students, be-

        cause, while initial costs might be met, the ongoing

        communication costs are prohibitive.  It was observed that fi-

        nancing should be considered by the committee, including ways to

        reallocate resources and the imposition of a student information

        fee.

 

        It was suggested that the library's problems are the most

        intractable, with some of the difficulties, such as copyright

        laws, beyond the reach of the University.  Some progress is oc-

        curring, however, as professional journals accept electronic sub-

        mission of articles, and mechanisms for dealing with copyrights

        are developed.

 

        It was also observed that user support should also be considered,

        with navigational aids provided for new systems. These can be au-

        tomated as much as possible, but human assistance should also al-

        ways be available.

 

        AGENDA ITEM 5:  ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA

 

        none

 

 

 

 

        The next meeting will be held on February 6 at 3 p.m. in Burruss

        400.

 

        Meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m.

 

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