The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the Funding Bodies HEFCE, SHEFC, HEFCW and DENI have just published their Five Year Strategy, 1996 - 2001. JISC facilitates the cost effective exploitation of information systems within Higher Education (HE). It does this in partnership with the institutions, and other bodies such as the Research Councils, by providing a pervasive network infrastructure and central information service, and by exercising vision and leadership in identifying opportunities and promoting innovation throughout the sector. AGOCG is a key organisation in the delivery of that second role.
Awareness, training and support of the community is a critical role for JISC and its services and organisations if the community is to feel at ease with the technology and to make appropriate use of the right tools at the right time. AGOCG has seen this as its main role within its area of interest since it was first set up.
The SIMA project funded through the JISC New Technologies Initiative has provided guidance to the community in areas recognised by the Strategy as being of potential importance for HE. These include video conferencing which the Strategy highlights as a technology which is ready for wide acceptance and use in the community in teaching, research and in the general business of the institutions, such as meetings. The role of AGOCG in making the community aware of such new technologies and providing timely and focused reports will continue to be important. One area being currently addressed is the role of virtual environments within HE. The funding to AGOCG through the JISC Technology Applications Programme provides the resources to examine some of the issues relating to that area of technology.
The identification, introduction and use of appropriate standards is seen as being vital by JISC. AGOCG will continue to provide advice and information on developments in both de facto and de jure standards within its area of interest.
AGOCG has provided useful links across the community and across initiatives due to the importance of graphics and visual information. Although the new structure of JISC means that AGOCG will change reporting channels within the JISC structure, it is expected that AGOCG will continue to play an important role within JISC.
The JISC Strategy is available at:
Copies of the Strategy and a summary can be obtained from the JISC Secretariat:
Tel: +44 117 931 7403