SMU OIT to implement user preferences for bulk e-mail lists

Originally published Aug. 20, 2013.

SMU bulk e-mail list usage, 2010-12
This graphic shows the increase in campus bulk e-mail messages over the past three years, 2010 to 2012 (via SMU Office of Information Technology).

SMU’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) has responded to requests from the Student Senate and the faculty-led Information Technology Advisory Council (ITAC) to let users take more control of their campus e-mail subscriptions.

The President’s Executive Council reviewed a revised University bulk e-mail policy that allowed individuals to opt out of certain types of information. This policy was approved in August 2012. Implementation of the new subscription management solution will begin Monday, Sept. 9, 2013.

As part of its implementation plan, OIT has developed a portal,, that will allow each user to manage all nonessential e-mail preferences with a single login.

The new service helps the University to achieve two goals:

  • Ensure that essential messages are delivered to faculty, staff and students, while also enabling those recipients to opt out of nonessential messages they do not wish to receive.
  • Improve the effectiveness of essential communications by empowering recipients to limit nonessential messages to their own areas of interest.

University bulk e-mail lists sent out more than 3,200 messages in the 2012-13 academic year. The volume of e-mail has decreased the effectiveness of these lists in communicating critical information to appropriate audiences, according to the OIT. The new system will group SMU e-mail lists as follows:

Essential Lists

Current e-mail lists for faculty, staff, undergraduates and graduate students will be maintained, and membership to these lists will continue to be mandatory (users may not opt out of receiving messages). However, only essential messages related to safety and health, and those related to personnel and academic business, will be delivered. In addition, the ability to send to these lists will be restricted to a select group of accounts.

Managed Lists

New lists will be created for the communication needs of departments, programs and schools. Initially, these lists will be populated with all campus e-mail addresses. However, individuals will be able to unsubscribe from a managed list through an automatically generated link in each e-mail message, or to adjust their subscription preferences through These preferences can be changed at any time.

Departments are encouraged to review their current communication plans and strategies to help encourage individuals to remain subscribed to their lists. These strategies may include increased use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook to distribute updated or time-limited information.

For more information, contact Rachel Mulry in the Office of Information Technology.

> Find more information at SMU OIT’s Bulk Lists information page

Spring forward: Daylight Saving Time 2013 begins Sunday, March 11

Stock photo of a clock face with hands approaching 12U.S. Daylight Saving Time is here again: The time shift begins this Sunday, March 10, 2013, at 2 a.m. Don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour, and check your computer and other electronic devices to be sure they’re displaying the correct time.

Get computer help from the Office of Information Technology

SMU explores the legacy of Aaron Swartz and ‘guerilla open access’

Aaron Swartz
The late Aaron Swartz, co-founder of Reddit and a leader in the open access movement, is the subject of a panel discussion, “Jailbreaking Information,” hosted by SMU’s Central University Libraries. Photo credit: Sage Ross.

Computer programmer and political activist Aaron Swartz posted his Guerilla Open Access Manifesto on the nonprofit Internet Archive in 2008. On Jan. 11, 2013, at age 26, the Reddit co-founder took his own life, apparently despondent over his imminent federal prosecution and the threat of up to 50 years in prison.

Almost two years to the day before his suicide, Swartz had been arrested and charged with two counts of wire fraud and 11 violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for hacking MIT’s computer network and downloading nearly 5 million articles from the JSTOR digital library.

Yet he was no ordinary accused thief. A Fellow in Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and a longtime friend of its director, Lawrence Lessig, Swartz was also a well-known and well-liked figure in the open access movement – a worldwide effort to provide free and unrestricted access, via internet, to scientific and scholarly research.

> Find a timeline of the open access movement at the Earlham College website

SMU’s Central University Libraries has organized a panel discussion of Swartz’s legacy and how his actions could impact millions of students, teachers, researchers and publishers around the globe. “Jailbreaking Information: The Legacy of Hacktivist Aaron Swartz” begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7, 2013 in the Science Information Center Mezzanine, Fondren Library Center.

Nathan Huntoon, director of the Innovation Gymnasium in the Lyle School of Engineering, will moderate a panel of SMU experts including:

> Read more from the SMU Central University Libraries news blog

Fall back this Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012

Stock photo of clock with second handThe cool fall evenings are about to begin much earlier: Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. this Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012.

Don’t forget to set your clocks one hour earlier in observance of Standard Time. In addition, check your home and office computers and other electronic devices to be sure they’re displaying the correct time.

SMU Digital Repository ready for faculty submissions

SMU Digital Repository logoSMU’s Central University Libraries, Office of Research and Graduate Studies, and Office of Information Technology have combined resources to create the SMU Digital Repository, an online archive for collecting and sharing the scholarly work of SMU faculty, staff and students.

The repository is the product of a strategic partnership headed by CUL Dean and Director Gillian McCombs, Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies Jim Quick, and Chief Information Officer Joe Gargiulo.

Using the Digital Commons software platform created by Berkeley Electronic Press, the SMU Digital Repository provides open access to research documents, articles, preprints, working papers, conference agendas and papers, and scholarly image collections created by SMU faculty, students, and academic staff.

The Digital Commons software also allows the publishing of open-access or subscription-based journals, and includes journal management software to customize workflows.

In the early stages of building the repository, “we’re focused on getting faculty members comfortable with the interface and with the idea of storing their work online,” says Josh Lupkin, faculty liaison for the Digital Repository. “Professors are used to communicating with colleagues in particular ways and publishing in venues specific to their fields. We’re not competing with those, but offering them another way to showcase their work and to make it more visible and accessible.”

Repository staff members are available to address any questions regarding storage, Lupkin says. For example, “some faculty members may have concerns about uploading papers to the Repository, because of publishing agreements. In those cases, we may be able to store an abstract with descriptive keywords and an outside link to the full publication.

“Above all else, this is a service to faculty that will afford them and their departments the benefits of increased relevance in Google and other searches.”

Details about the Digital Repository, including information about submitting materials, can be found at Digital Repository team members are also available to present information sessions tailored to individual schools, departments and centers.

The University’s Norwick Center for Digital Services (nCDS) works with faculty and academic units to identify, manage, upload and present a wide range of text, image, video, audio, database, and other files that showcase SMU’s research and scholarly achievements. The Scholarly Digitization Program – offered by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies – funds digitization of materials through the nCDS for University faculty and staff members who would like to contribute nondigital materials to the Repository but lack the technology or funds required to digitize them. Up to $25,000 per semester is available, and applicants can apply for up to $5,000 of funding per project. The funding application form is available online.

The Repository is working with the Office of Engaged Learning to create a space for approved student work, Lupkin says. Papers from the first three students to complete Engaged Learning projects will be uploaded by May 2012. “The Repository will also give graduate students a forum for getting their work out into the world, after consultation with faculty advisors,” he adds. “It’s all about making connections.”

The Repository can even provide an online home for conferences hosted by a University center or department, Lupkin says. “This could mean anything from storing programs, papers and abstracts to presenting audio or video of individual sessions,” he says. “We can tailor the experience depending on the host entity’s needs.”

For more information, contact Josh Lupkin or Rob Walker at

> Visit the SMU Digital Repository
> Create an SMU Digital Repository account
> Learn more from the SMU Digital Repository FAQ
Learn how to submit materials to the SMU Digital Repository

SMU Libraries hosts annual cookout April 14-15

Stock photo of hot dogs on a grillSMU’s Central University Libraries celebrates 2010 National Library Week with its 3rd annual cookout, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. April 14-15.

Dean Gillian McCombs and libraries staff members will be grilling in the courtyard of Fondren Library Center, serving free hot dogs, fresh popcorn and cold drinks. The crew also offers customized bookbag tags and demonstrations of the new SMU Libraries discovery service.

In addition, SMU’s Office of Information Technology will be on hand to serve up cookies and other giveaways.

> Watch a brief history of SMU’s libraries from National Library Week 2008
> Visit Central University Libraries online

OIT: Defend your computer against virus activity

SMU’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) reports a recent uptick in campus computers infected by viruses spread manually when users click on fake anti-malware alerts. Rachel Mulry, assistant director of the OIT service desk, sent information and instructions in the following e-mail, sent Feb. 19, 2010, to guard against the malicious code:

Fake virus alertOver the past several weeks, the Help Desk has received a growing number of reports of employee computers infected with a FakeAlert or “AntiMalware” Trojan virus. If you are on a website and a message pops up indicating that your computer is infected with a virus or spyware, DO NOT click on the link. Typically this type of virus code is manually spread and comes from a malicious or compromised website, a chat session, or is embedded in an email link.

The first part of the code simply launches the pop-up window. Once you click on that pop-up window to “scan your computer,” you authorize the installation of the full virus code. Following the infection, you will see a series of pop-up windows, have difficulty browsing the internet or your web browser will be redirected to questionable websites.

If a security alert, similar to the one pictured in this message, appears on your virus alert, please do the following:

  1. Do NOT click on any links or on any area of the pop up window.
  2. Shut down your computer immediately.
  3. Disable System Restore.
  4. Double-click on Microsoft Forefront.
  5. Click the Arrow next to the Scan option.
  6. Select full scan.
  7. During the full scan, Forefront should detect and remove any traces of the virus code from your computer.
  8. Enable System Restore.
  9. Once complete, restart your computer normally.

If your computer is infected or you have any further questions, please contact the IT Help Desk at 214-768-4357.

Visit the Office of Information Technology website at

Weekly events highlight Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Infected laptopOctober is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and SMU’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) will celebrate with several events designed to inform and engage the University community.

Awareness Month begins with a kickoff event 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Crossing.

Events will culminate with OIT’s first annual Technology Fair 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 30 in the lower level of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Representatives from Apple, Dell, Verizon and other vendors will be on hand.

The fair will also include brief sessions on security, software and applications such as Locker and Office, as well as a Blackboard Help Desk and a Cell Phone First Aid table. The festivities include table giveaways and a drawing for a USB hub.

In addition, OIT will host weekly brown-bag sessions on issues such as malware, desktop security and identify theft. The complete schedule:

  • Oct. 2: Identity Theft
    Noon-1 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum
  • Oct. 8: Yours, Mine, and Ours – Protecting Personal Information
    Noon-1 p.m., HR Training Room, 208 Expressway Tower, East Campus
  • Oct. 16: Passwords Are Like Underwear
    Noon-1 p.m., 112 Laura Lee Blanton Student Services Building
  • Oct. 23: Phishing, Spyware, and Worms, Oh My!
    Noon-1 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum
  • Oct. 30: Desktop Security
    Noon-1 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum (during the Tech Fair)

Visit the Office of Information Technology online
Learn about National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
More about malware from Wikipedia