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Student Club/Society : Secondary Guidelines

These secondary guidelines provide general orientation in the IT Services web page system and other facilities. There is no obligation to comply with these suggestions but note that a file recovery fee will be chargeable if files are lost for any reason other than failure of IT Services systems, also that file recovery is not necessarily possible when files have only been in the system for a short time.

1. Account Management

When you use the IT Services self-registration facilities on you must give the society's account name and password when prompted.

If you have previously used a Webauth authenticated service in the same browser session you will be connected under the previous account name. To get round this, either close all sessions using the same browser then start a fresh session, or you could open a completely different browser program when using your Society account.

You need to manage the account as follows:

  • Forwarding: when the account ownership changes the new owner should check for any unwanted forwarding setting and set a new one if required. Follow Set or update Nexus mailbox settings on the self-registration page, then select Email forwarding address settings.

2. Web site

  • Loading files using secure FTP. Connect to host and give the society's Single Sign-On username and password. The public_html directory is the home directory for your web site. The file for the home page should be called index.html or index.shtml (alternatives such as default or home are not recognised automatically).
  • You are strongly advised to keep a private copy of your web pages. If the live site is your only copy, you may lose files if an updating error is made or if you hit your disk quota limit.
  • Web quota. Go to to see your usage, soft quota and hard quota values. You will be unable to load files to your web space if usage exceeds hard quota, or if it has exceeded soft quota for more than 7 days. Note that when you are in this situation, an attempt to replace an existing file in situ will leave the file empty on the live web site. It is therefore very important to keep a backup copy of the entire site in case any files need to be retrieved. The units are KiB (kibibyte = 1024 bytes). To get your quota values in MiB, add 1023 then divide by 1024 and discard the remainder.
  • When prompted for your username and password, give the society account details. If you are not prompted and the quota information is not from the society account, then your browser has remembered a previously-used account name. You can either close all copies of that browser then restart it, or use a different browser.

3. Email address

  • Only the official email address should be advertised for email or shown on outgoing messages. Alternative versions may stop working when central email systems are updated.

4. Mailing lists

  • Please obtain a mailing list for any routine mailings to your membership.
  • Distribution lists (where each message carries the address of every recipient) are inefficient as well as being inconvenient for the recipient. There are also privacy issues which may breach the Data Protection Act.
  • If the Single Sign-On account is only used to support the mailing list, please ensure that any email it receives is monitored, or forwarded to an address which is monitored regularly (more than once a month). Email to the society's central email account will be your only warning that account or password renewal is required.
  • Management of the mailing list is tied to the Single Sign-On username, so the list will automatically be transferred when there is a change of committee, but it will be deleted if the account lapses.
  • Any general mailing list should have the society's username as list name. Any other lists should have names starting with the username. This helps IT Services to deal with any queries from future committees.
  • Please see information about managing Sympa mailing lists

5. Account Expiry

  • When the username lapses, it will not be possible to view or update the web pages, to read email delivered to the account, or to use the interactive account. Email to the Society account should be monitored regularly and you should be sure to make contact with IT Services Registration if you receive a warning of username expiry. The warning will allow you one month to re-register.  It may be convenient to set forwarding to a personal account which is monitored regularly, but care should be taken to update the forwarding when there is a change of committee.

6. Knowledge and Training

The Regulations of the Rules Committee now require that the IT Officer and Webmaster for a Society account (and anyone else registered to use it) shall have an appropriate level of IT knowledge, to be supplemented by IT Services training facilities if necessary.

Account users should familiarise themselves with the information indicated in the following subsections.

6.1. Email

  • Nexus web interface: whether or not you normally use the Nexus web interface, you should familiarise yourself with its facilities for setting the forwarding of messages to another account and for setting a vacation auto-reply during periods when nobody will be available to answer messages. If the account will not be used directly for email, forwarding should be set to an active account (usually the IT Officer's) to ensure that any administrative messages, such as warning of account expiry, are received. Check that these options are set appropriately when a new committee first takes over the account.
  • Netiquette: remember that the ICTC Regulations apply to Society accounts, and Network Etiquette should be followed as for personal accounts.

6.2. Web site

  • Specific Rules: on your webpage, do not include the name of the University in the title of your Society, or use the University crest, unless you have obtained the relevant permission. Do not imply that the University will take legal or financial responsibility for Society activities.
  • Advanced features: you are not expected to learn more advanced web page features such as CGI programming. If you have the relevant knowledge and want to use advanced facilities, give thought to possible maintenance problems in future years.
  • Production: for creating web pages, you should have knowledge at least to the level of the IT Services training course Web publishing: Essentials of creating web pages. If you do not have experience of producing web pages, you should attend this course. Additionally, Dreamweaver: Introduction will be relevant if you intend to use this software. IT Services also provides more advanced courses in Dreamweaver if you wish to build more sophisticated web pages.
  • Accessibility: it is desirable for the Webmaster to be aware of the issues covered in Web publishing: Essentials of creating web pages regarding design factors relevant to disabled users.
  • Publishing: to make your web pages available, see section 3 of the IT Services General Guide To Personal and Societies Web Space at Oxford. Check your space usage from time to time as explained under Secondary Guidelines above.

6.3. Linux account

The linux account provides Unix processing capability and secure storage of 500Mb. This could be used to save backups of Society records, such as membership data, even if the normal processing is with Windows utilities such as Excel. This may be particularly useful at Committee handover time. Account users are not expected to have any in-depth Unix knowledge. Direct use of Unix facilities may cause long-term problems if the next Committee does not have the relevant specialised knowledge. Files can be uploaded and downloaded using a secure FTP (sftp) program such as SSH Secure File Transfer Client.

6.4. Data Protection Act

As non-commercial organisations, Societies will not usually need to register under the Data Protection Act 1998. However, anyone handling information about living people, for example membership lists, is a Data Controller for purposes of the Act and does need to comply with the Data Protection Principles. See the official Government web site if you think you may need to register. A summary of the principles is in the Regulations and Notes of Guidance issued by the Proctors and Assessor. It is important that your data is secure (backed-up) and kept private - if you have your own computer, ensure that all valid usernames (such as Administrator) have a private password. Physical backup media must be locked away. If a public computer is used, programs must be closed properly and any data placed on the hard disk must be deleted (and the Recycle Bin or equivalent emptied) before you leave the computer.


Written by IT Services. Latest revision 11 December 2017