ITDweb: The Information Technology Division at U-M

Information Technology Division
Product Development & Deployment

IRAP May 1996 Status Report



A joint proposal for collaboration and integration of the University of Michigan Instructional Environment has been drafted. After minor revisions it will be forwarded to directors of ITD, the Library, the Registrar's Office, and LS&A for review prior to submission to the Provost. (SC)


UMOL subscriber count as of June 4th: 60 Spring grad applications are waiting to be processed (since these individuals may have UMCE computing allocation funds remaining, accounts are being reviewed).

74 paid
635 pilot or other gratis account
709 total accounts

Marketing: In conjunction with end-of-term activities UMOL team members staffed an information table at the Senior luncheon hosted by the Alumni Association and at Hill Auditorium during commencement ticket pick up. During these events 51 kits were distributed and over 400 application packets handed out. The low demand is in part due to the lack of a compelling reason to subscribe --spring graduates receive a UMCE computing allocation for May and are able to add funds to their accounts. This reason coupled with our inability to recognize service usage other than dial-in and printing as well as the availability of similar slightly less expensive UMCE services make UMOL a tough product to market. Plans call for the packaging and development of unique content that will distinguish UMOL from other offerings.

Infrastructure/ Content: In-state dial in via Michnet is operational, the accounts office is in the process of moving subscribers from gratis accounts to the UMOL production service. Availability of national dial in via ADP/CREN Autonet service is currently scheduled to be available by mid June. The delays in providing national dial in service have been rooted in testing problems-- now resolved-- as well as ABS and Merit coding issues.

UMOL's secure server is in place. Visitors to the UMOL site must now authenticate in order to access the members only area. Unique UMOL content will reside in the secure space. Current content includes: a member catalog, a link to a confer conference, academic resources include a On Line Writing Lab(OWL), and links to the Exhibit Museum, the Internet Public Library, Wolverine Access. Meetings and discussions with a number of campus content providers are underway. Plans for subscriber home pages are in place. Home pages will be available once coding work that will add IFS space to the UMOL subscription package has been completed.

Discussions continue with IBM regarding using their Global Network as an option for national dial in as well as the provider for international connectivity. A meeting of IBM technical staff, Merit representatives, and ITD staff has been set for June 10. The meeting will focus on "sizing" (IBM's term) the effort required to provide the Radius authentication required for the UMCE environment.

In preparation for offering WUOM audio content, the UMOL technical coordinator attended a Real Audio technical briefing.

Met with ITD staff involved with original kit development to discuss and plan a kit upgrade for both Mac and Windows platform. As a short term solution for prospective Windows 95 subscribers UMOL staff are developing interim arrangements to provide OnNet Explorer version 2.0 as an option for Windows 95. UMOL expects to use OnNet Explorer as the final option for the PC side, a proposal from FTP Inc. is currently under review.

The business plan for UMOL has been revised. A new marketing plan as well as a content plan are currently being developed.

UMOL core team: Carrie Edlund, Linda Green, Brian Vaughan, Ellen Vaughan (EV)



June 30 is still targeted as the completion date for DAC Reporting Rounds 1 and 2. The weekly load of both rounds is now being accomplished in about 23 hours -- a great improvement in the load time! Some funding has been requested from the PMLT for enhancements next year (including more predefined queries and EIS front-end screens for the Round 2 data). The GQL split model was recently implemented, and the online dictionary will be activated in the near future. Work on data training, GQL training, and front-end (EIS) training is also in progress. The DAC Reporting Group has just touched on the topic of various types of access to support the needs of other types of users (not from the development community) in the units: e.g., VCM needs of budget managers and alumni relations needs of the units. (PB)



The MESL implementation is part of our overall digital library development effort which is a collaborative undertaking of the Information Technology Division, the School of Information, and the University Library. This report focuses on the MESL effort in ITD. The URL is

Distribution: The deadline (mid-May) for content providers to deliver images and documentation to Michigan for authentication and distribution has been made only partially. Several museums are planning to deliver images and documentation by mid-June. A variety of problems were encountered and resolved by a cooperative effort between Michigan and the content providers. When we (MESL ITD Team) encounter a problem, the content provider is notified immediately. In most cases we also provide the content provider with the tools used to identify and evaluate the problem.

Web System: Some enhancements were made to the sorting algorithms on the development system to handle non-ascii characters in the database appropriately (e.g. to make "Dürer" appear between "Durant" and "Durrie").

Travel: Zoe Gurevich attended 5th International WWW Conference in Paris France, May 5- 10. John Weise attended the MESL consortium meeting in Washington D.C. May 13-15.

MESL ITD Team: Zoe Gurevich, Andrew Inman, Gail Lift, Sean Sweda, John Weise (JW)


The Core Journals project is a partnership with UMI deploying around 1000 core journal titles in all disciplines in image format, linking them with Wilson Indexes in MIRLYN and putting in place the necessary structure for printing, accounting, and billing.

On May 15th, charging for printing at the Dearborn Library was started. People wishing to print to that printer need to have their UMCE accounts set up to pay for this service with non Computing Allocation money.

May 1996 Core Journal statistics
Total Articles Requested2977
Total Successful Prints2869
Total Pages Printed20200
Average Article size (pages)7.04
Total Unsuccessful attempts108
Test printing (i.e. printer=none)2




The Financial Tables Change Group is currently working on adding source/use data to the financial dataset and on developing predefined queries designed to produce several reports currently available in hard copy: Organization Report, Statement of Account, Service Unit Billing, and Class Summary. A pilot payroll training session was conducted on 05/14/96 for the Payroll Subgroup, ITD administrative consultants, and Payroll Office staff who will be supporting the dataset. The payroll subgroup does not plan to meet again as a full group, although some members are working on a one-time forum to be held on July 10. Completion of all payroll dataset-related tasks is still targeted for June 30. The second data training session for the Official Third Week Count (O3WC) dataset to the Budget Administrators Group (BAG) and selected others on 05/20/96 went well. In June a telephone survey will be conducted to solicit feedback on the dataset and support structures from Wave 1 users. Users are reportedly finding O3WC an excellent resource. The split GQL diagram is now available now, and data is being loaded into the online dictionary. The Registrar's Office (RO) is working on predefined queries to replace paper reports sent to units each term. The O3WC subgroup has disbanded as an official group. Access may be broadened to the entire university as early as fall, 1996. Progress is being made on the dynamic student data training handout and data dictionary. Staff in the RO have been working diligently to complete validation testing with the assistance of LSA and Rackham. The Student Data Subgroup will soon begin work on indexing. Funding has been secured for finishing up this round of data early next fiscal year. Testing of the backloaded Human Resource data proceeds. The outlook for its usefulness is hopeful, even though identification and clean-up of old data is somewhat tedious. This effort will continue a few months into the next fiscal year. Performance seems to be improving with cost-based optimization, which is now being tested in the subgroup. CRAS training continues to be offered once a term. A goal of June 30 has been set for adding the online dictionary and split model functionality to the CRAS GQL diagram to match the other Data Access diagrams. The procurement subgroup has been meeting, but irregularly. Work continues on the data refresh, training, predefined queries, and tuning. All work is still slated for completion this fiscal year. The Data Availability Plan Committee continues to oversee the efforts of the subgroups as well as the integration of differently-funded datasets into the warehouse. At its May meeting, the group decided that it would go on hiatus until plans for the evolution of the U-M data warehouse become clearer (perhaps over the summer). Articles on the new and/or enhanced Data Access datasets to be made available by 06/30/96 are to be briefly reviewed in the July 8 issue of the ITDigest. A larger feature article will be included in the September 9 issue that focuses on the status of the entire data warehouse to date. In addition, a demonstration/presentation at the FORUM for Administrative Computing is being planned for September 19 at the Michigan Union. Work on the access/compliance application continues. This application may be scaled back in terms of tracking training, as PeopleSoft offers such an application in its Human Resource component (which is to be implemented early on in the PeopleSoft timeline) that may be usable for Data Access purposes also. If this is true, then the access/compliance application may still be rolled out by the end of this fiscal year. There will be no enhancements to the online data dictionary. ITD developers are working to load the dictionary data for each dataset currently in production and development and to include the online dictionary screen on all relevant GQL diagrams. This screen includes three canned queries and a help button which explains the contents and use of the online dictionary. Provisions are being made for migrating the dictionary data to the production server along with the data for each individual dataset to be moved to production. The ITD "TechDev" group continues to meet to share information, develop standards, and ensure consistency among the datasets. The administrative hotline is piloting new hours, due to demand (still 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, but without a break over lunch time). Dante Bailey has been hired by ITD specifically to do GQL work (installations, training, annual upgrade process, etc.). Internal ITD work is in progress on a plan for migrating users to SQL*Net V. 2.2, on testing GQL with NT, on a plan for an annual upgrade of GQL on campus, and on enabling user-controlled query termination, as well as on creating/updating user notes on installing GQL on Macintosh and Windows clients, using GQL with WIN95, using a GQL split model, and upgrading client machines to use SQL*Net V. 2.2. (PB)



GopherBlue Migration: A message has been sent to GopherBlue Information Providers announcing the migration. Staff are in the process of contacting Information Providers via phone to discuss migration needs and obtain technical and support information required to complete the migration. A Migration User Group meeting has been set for June 19th.

Rackham continues to work on their gopher to web conversion on their own with little help from our office at this time. (CE)

There were 37,844 GOpherBLUE client sessions over the period 04/21/95 to 05/20/95. Total gopher calls for the period were 448,065. Total Gopher file accesses for the period were 379,683. The most accessed Gopher resources were:

Ann Arbor Jobnet111,649(29.41%)
All Others122,890



WWW version of Wolverine Access: The MANDSRVP, COURSEAVAIL, DIVISIONLIST, and COURSELIST programs still need to be updated to convert to the SRVTAB process. The ADDRESS transaction still needs to be modified to include the correct mail address for billing address inquiries. The mainframe 'Bag' routines still need to be changed in production to permanently correct the NULL value problem. Little, if no, progress has been made on the system program documentation - additional staff resources are being arranged.

Student transcript: The server application programs, TSMSG and TSDATA, were moved to production on May 5, 1996. Phase 1.2 - (Add UMID security features) is scheduled to be moved to production the week of June 10 and Phase 1.3 - ( Add transcript and academic report print features - (SPRINT/RPPRINT)) needs to be completed by July 31.

ID Card process: The TENTSSN program has been moved to production. Work has started on the UNAMEUPD program.

Office of Financial Aid: OFA has also requested that some additional changes to both server (mainframe) and client (WA server) applications. Areas include student enrollment, aid year discrepancies among Web pages, and messages displayed to students. Requested changes for the mainframe applications are scheduled to be completed and tested the first week of June. The WA server application changes will be completed and tested by the end of June.

OFA has requested that clone databases be created for the SAM databases because SAM databases are brought down at 6:30 p.m. The DBA's have created the clone databases; OFA WA transactions need to be tested using these databases. (CE)


Performance reviews, business planning, and budget were the watchwords for May. But those are complete now, and we'll be diving back into development activities in June. We had 6 active projects w/active black borders during the course of the month:

Chemistry> Bret: Minor updates but still mostly dormant. We're keeping it open in anticipation of future activity.

MI Sea Grant> Sascha: Initial work completed - client (Millie Flory) very happy with Sascha's help/contributions. Sascha has since left us to join Disney Online in CA. Yet another defection to the left coast... Millie will have more work for us in the future, but plans are not set yet.

Pharmacy> Bret, Susan: Time has been submitted to PTS, and this project will be closed out.

Michigan State Strategic Initiative (MSSI)> Bret: We have had difficulty getting permission to necessary development areas. Bret is working with MSSI project staff to facilitate this.

U-M Library> Maureen: Initial design work for new Mirlyn home page complete and presented for client review (feedback was very positive).

U-M Online> Susan: Susan has spent most of her time this month organizing information and creating pages for this site, including interactive forms and graphic image maps. A table of contents is under development.

In addition, the following departments have contacted us for assistance:

Corporate and Foundation Relations - Carol assisted Jay Hartford with a presentation at the CFR retreat. He would like to build an intranet application to support CFR activities across campus, and would like our help with this project.

Psychology - Steve Burling is working with them to define a web-based application for their "subject pool" assignment. Carol attended an initial meeting. They're starting on process and data analysis tasks.

Purchasing - Met with Purchasing and the Fisher Scientific software company to discuss technical and security issues related to Purchasing's new requisition/ordering system which is under development.

Nephrology - Bret met with them and forwarded some information on web-based conferencing packages.

Middle Eastern Studies - they have a water usage simulation game they would like to migrate to the web. In its present form, it is too complex for a web-based implementation. The person who wrote a PC-based version is supposed to contact us so we can see how that version works.

UMMA - the museum is proposing a project to make their digitized collection available via the web, and has asked us to provide an estimate of cost for our assistance. We are investigating a Web interface to embARK that may be the answer.

The business plan for Web Services is essentially complete (pricing for Extended CGI services still needs to be established). It has been forwarded to Kitty for review.

Carol spoke at the Administrative Computing Forum on 5/23 (a packed house of more than 120 attended and feedback was very positive). We distributed our Web user survey, the results of which will help us determine how best to provide support services to our target audience.

Bret attended the JavaOne conference. A trip report will be forthcoming.(CK)


Via email exchanges with Sandy and Wendy Lougee, to be followed up by a meeting in early June, we have established a plan of approach for getting the Gateway project re-energized. Carol will be convening a meeting of significant information providers in June. A technical meeting to discuss the metadata collection and search capabilities will also be held.

Wendy completed the Gateway policy draft. Carol needs to edit the last section (Resources for Info Providers).

In addition, administrative work continues. This month, we linked 16 new resources to the Gateway pages and also added them to the searchable catalog. (CK)

Server Reliability: The and servers experienced no significant downtime during April 1996.

UM Online: Software development for the UM Online Subscriber catalog is complete. The system now supports addition of new subscribers into the catalog, and allows subscribers to search for other subscribers and modify their own entries. Susan Greider and Bret Prichard are working on sprucing up the visual appeal of the catalog pages.

Tools which allow the ITD Accounts Office to create and delete catalog entries for UM Online Subscribers have been written but are not yet deployed.

The Personal Home Page system for UM Online is not yet complete. An ftp server must be deployed, and documentation must be written. Additionally, a CGI program to generate a template home page for a Subscriber based on the contents of their catalog entry still needs to be developed.

Papers describing the UM Online authentication service and the UM Online Subscriber Catalog are now available on the web at the following URLs:

Gateway statistics for May are not yet available, however, we suspect a significant increase in utilization. (BV)

*** It was determined that the data file for March 96 was corrupted, information for March 96 is incorrect. (GG)
PB - Peggy Bennett
CE - Cheri Elert
GG - Gordon Good
NG - Neda Gholizadeh
CK - Carol Kamm
SO - Steve Olsen
BV - Brian Vaughan
EV - Ellen Vaughan
JW - John Weise
SC - Sandy Colombo

WEB Statistics
April '9617,703,051313,972,736,000717,833
March '9610,425,708190,923,997,222418,413 ***
February '9615,049,074261,847,066,608646,586
January '9618,732,664358,545,339,089665,008
December '9513,364,094258,992,419,569536,452
November '95 9,749,451164,247,027,634451,228
October '9510,669,671160,181,841,690460,183
September '95 8,132,234111,872,064,548357,320
August '95 8,240,662113,630,055,110306,982
July '9511,000,000* 174,360,700,000* n/a
June '95 4,903,622 92,222,208,007 n/a
May '95 2,035,988 45,060,880,744 85,068
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Last updated: Tuesday, 29-Apr-1997 08:22:37 EDT