Technical Blog

JISC RSC Scotland North & East

Got a new website to develop and looking for some design inspiration? You may find something over at Open Source Web Design. There’s currently over 2000 free templates available for download.

If you’re thinking of adapting one of the templates for Wordpress, WP Themer Kit provides bare bones layouts for download. There’s also a couple of video overviews on the website explaining how to use the kit.

The two Scottish Regional Support Centres in partnership with SLIC held an RFID Conference in Glasgow on Wednesday. Gaynor Backhouse from TechWatch, one of the speakers mentioned a report that I hadn’t come across before "RFID: Frequency, Standards, Adoption and Innovation (2006): Link.


TechWatch is a JISC service which looks at new and emerging technologies which may impact on the core business of Further and Higher Education in five to ten years’ time. Gaynor mentioned that they have a blog which they are officially launching in October. There’s some content up already: Link.

Part 4 of 4: Interview with Frances Neilson, Account Manager
for Scotland at JANET(UK)

JANET Collaborate is an online service which enables staff in UK further and education to find colleagues with similar interests and to share and collaborate on projects. It’s a prototype at the moment and JANET are keen to hear views on how they can enhance this service to meet your needs. Further information.


Part 3 of 4: Interview with Frances Neilson, Account Manager
for Scotland at JANET(UK)

Skype is a popular VoIP peer to peer communication tool but it has the potential to impact on network traffic and many institutions have banned its use. JANET are currently trialling JANET Talk, an alternative to Skype which will address some of Skype’s issues.

The first trial will begin in April 2008. If you missed the first call to participate in the trial there will be second call in May 2008. Watch this space! Further information.


Part 2 of 4: Interview with Frances Neilson, Account Manager
for Scotland at JANET(UK)

JANET txt, a short message service (SMS) is available to JANET connected organisations. The service is provided by PageOne. Further information about JANET txt can be found on the JANET website.

JANET held a UK Access Management Federation Briefing on the 14 February 2008 in Glasgow. The presentations are now available for download.

Confused about Federated Access Management? Your Regional Support Centre is here to help. If you’d like to discuss any issues relating to Federated Access Management please use the contact form or give us a call on 0131 559 4112. Here is a full list of UK federation members.

What is Federated Access Management?
Federated Access Management builds a trust relationship between Identity Providers (IdP) and Service Providers (SP). It devolves the responsibility for authentication to a user’s home institution, and establishes authorisation through the secure exchange of information (known as attributes) between the two parties. For the last two years JISC has devoted a significant part of its development funding to access management issues and has adopted Shibboleth - an architecture that enables organisations to build single sign-on environments that allow users to access web-based resources using a single login. If you’re interested in implementing Shibboleth, Andy Swiffin from the University of Dundee gave an excellent presentation on the implementation process at Dundee. Slide 21 onwards gets to the nuts and bolts of the process

Why do I need to bother?
The Athens service in its current form will not be funded by JISC after July 2008. Athens (run by Eduserv) will continue to be available to institutions beyond July 2008 on a subscription basis. Institutions will need to decide how they will access their internal and external electronic resources.

Additional Resources
The McShib Forum (next meeting 11 April 2008)
JISC Federated Access Management Website
The UK Access Management Federation Website


Frances Neilson, the Account Manager for Scotland at JANET(UK) popped over to the RSC last week to talk about JANET services. This is the first part of 4 videos.

Part 1: Introduction to JANET(UK)
Part 2: JANET txt overview
Part 3: JANET talk overview
Part 4: JANET collaborate overview

JANET is one of the world’s leading research and education networks, operated on behalf of the combined UK Higher and Further Education Funding Councils represented by JISC. JANET provides a highly reliable high-bandwidth network connectivity and a number of associated services to ensure UK research and education benefit from this infrastructure.If you would like to know more information about anything contained in the video clip please contact us.