Monday, 27 March 2017

Prepare for the uReports upgrade
An upgrade of uReports is scheduled for the end of March 2017. The upgrade process will result in the deletion of all private reports unless you copy them to the Public Folder. Follow the instructions below to prepare for the upgrade.

To learn about the changes and new reporting opportunities, attend one of our 10 minute drop-in sessions. Just pop in, there's no need to book a place. The sessions will be held in the CiCS training room in the Computing Centre on Hounsfield Rd.

Sessions available:
29 March - 14:00-16:30
3 April - 10:00-13:00
4 April - 14:00-16:30

Copy reports

In preparation for this upgrade, it will be necessary for you to review any private reports stored in the ‘My Folders’ directory within your uReports account. To prevent any private reports from being deleted, follow the instructions below. If you have any questions contact 

1. Go to your personal area and tick the box next to the reports you wish to save.
2. Click the 'Copy' icon
3. Navigate to 'Public Folders - Reports to be saved'
4. Click the 'New Folder' icon, and create a folder to store your reports in. Give the folder your username.
5. Go into the folder you have just created and then click the 'Paste' icon The reports should now appear in this folder ready to be imported into the new system.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Google Keep joins G Suite

You may be familiar with Google Keep already. It was launched in 2013 as a quick and simple way to keep notes and to do lists on your phone or computer but has only just become an official member of the G Suite family. You can get to Google Keep through the Google Apps menu on the top right of the screen in Drive or Gmail. 

It has the usual features you would expect from a G Suite app, like being able to use it on your Android or iOS device and the ability to share notes and reminders with collaborators. Here’s a more in depth look at Keep’s best features. 

Google Docs integration


 Google Keep’s introduction to G Suite coincides with the launch of the new Google Docs integration feature. In the Tools menu in Docs, choose Keep notepad and your notes will open in a side panel. From here, you can drag and drop snippets of text, bullet points and images into the document. The reverse also works; highlight a paragraph or image, right click and select Save to Keep notepad. The new note will also include a link to the original document to make it easy to find later.

Keep on any device

Google Keep works well on any device and is available as an app on both Android and iOS. It’s especially useful for creating audio notes and reminders and saving images from your phone into your Keep notepad. As with on the browser version, you can quickly filter and search for notes by color and other attributes like lists with images, audio notes with reminders or just see shared notes. 

Keep extension for Chrome

There’s also a Google Keep extension available for Chrome. This is handy because it allows you to save useful websites and images from webpages directly to Keep without having to open the app. To get the extension, open the Chrome browser, hover over Chrome in the top right corner and select Preferences, then Extensions and search for Keep. (If it says that your account can’t be signed in to the extension, check that you’re not already signed into Chrome with your personal Google account.)

Google Keep is a great way to organise your work and personal notes, tasks and reminders. Look for it in the G Suite apps menu on the top right corner of Drive or Gmail and give it a go.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Celebrating women in IT this International Women’s Day

In CiCS we have women doing amazing work across all areas of the department. Here we profile just a few of those women. Finding out more about how they got into IT and their advice for other women pursuing a career in IT.

Abbie McGregor
Faculty IT Manager

I stumbled into a career in IT! I moved to London in 1998 and got a clerical job in a Chartered Surveyors. I hated it as it was incredibly boring. After a few months I was moaning about it to my brother who worked for an IT consultancy in Manchester. He said they had a London office that needed a good office manager. So I had an interview over the phone and got the job! It was a really small office so I ended up doing everything including being talked through fixing computers over the phone. After a year, a job came up at London School of Economics - Desktop Support Team Leader. I put in an application thinking I'd never even get an interview but I did get an interview and I managed to persuade them that they needed someone with good customer service skills rather than good IT skills. They bought it and the rest is history. I learned everything I know about IT support on the job. When I moved back to Sheffield I worked as a Network Manager in 2 schools then took a break to have kids and came back to CiCS in 2012.

So I never really had a burning desire to work in IT but once I did, I realised that I was quite good at it. I've always really seen myself more as a Customer Service Manager with good IT skills and backup from teams of skilled people.

My advice to women wanting to pursue a career in IT is don't be put off by all the men and be confident in your ability.

Helen Parkes 
Senior Oracle Analyst / programmer 

I first encountered computing in 1970 in lower sixth form maths when the teacher arranged for us to do some simple programming on Birmingham University's mainframe.

I started working in IT soon after university around 1980 as a systems analyst when the jobs of systems analyst and programmer were usually separate.  Punch cards were still used and PCs, relational databases and the internet were some years away.  The first PC I used was standalone and had a single floppy disc drive.

I've been in IT ever since (though it was called data processing before IT).  My job has evolved as technology has changed and I've been an analyst/programmer for about 25 years.

I didn't exactly choose to work in IT, it just happened.  The logic and problem solving suits the way my brain works!  I enjoy the contact with users too, and seeing how the various systems and information work together.

As for advice for women considering a career in IT,  I'd say that there is a whole range of IT work, it is not all geeks coding (even if that describes me).

Eleanor Shakeshaft 
Digital Content Officer 

I graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2014 and accepted the first job I was offered doing marketing and events for a high school near my hometown in Cheshire. Prior to this I didn't really know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew I enjoyed creating digital content and had an interest in marketing as well as technology and IT. Working in the high school (and perhaps also missing student life a little bit) helped me to realise that I'd like to work in higher education, so at the end of 2014 I started applying for jobs related to marketing and digital content at universities all over the UK. The second interview I got was for the position of Digital Content Officer in CiCS at The University of Sheffield and I thought the position sounded perfect, so I was delighted when I got the phone call offering me the position! Although I felt a little bit apprehensive about packing up and moving to a city that I'd never been to before, I was excited for the adventure and knew that I'd enjoy the job. So I'm glad I took the risk.

I enjoy working in IT not just because of my interest in technology, but also because I know how much excellent IT services matter to higher education, teaching and learning, and it's only going to become more important in the future.

My advice to women thinking of a career in IT or wanting to progress their career in IT is to not be afraid of taking risks and to encourage themselves to break out of their comfort zone. If you see a job you like but aren't sure if you'll get it, just apply for it anyway! I think a lot of women have trouble recognising their own worth and talent. But an employer might just see your value and potential more than you can yourself.

There are more stories to follow, so check back soon. 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Research IT events

Along with various partners like Nvivo and Amazon, we are hosting a number of events where you get a chance to meet the research computing support team, research software engineers, you can talk about your research IT needs and get advice on best practices for your research. Whether you are interested in Qualitative Analysis, Data Analysis or High performance computing, there is an event to help you get the most out of research IT facilities.

Booking information to follow.

Upcoming events


Join us for the official launch of the Sheffield Advanced Research Computer (ShARC), and learn more about High Performance Computing (HPC) at our HPC@Sheffield event. This is an excellent event for people who are new to this area and want to find out more.

Find out how Sheffield researchers are currently using HPC and hear from industry experts about new HPC technologies.In our poster competition you’ll also have the chance to win prizes donated by Intel. The closing date is Friday 24 March. More information to follow.  

When: Tuesday 4 April

Where: Firth Hall


We’re hosting a day long event with the developers of NVivo, QSR international, to help with your Qualitative Analysis. 

You can attend a seminar on using NVivo, get expert advice on your current projects, and speak to QSR representatives about any questions you may have. If you’re new to NVivo you will have the chance to try the software. 

Take part in our poster competition and s
how us how you’re using NVivo in your research. First prize is £400 towards the academic conference registration of your choosing. The closing date is Tuesday 28 February, find out more information here

When: Tuesday 4 April

Where: ICOSS, 219 Portobello

Amazon workshop

Take part in an Amazon immersion event.

Set up a small HPC cluster in a hands on session using Amazon EC2 for research, and learn more administering research facilities on Amazon for the research community.

The second half of the day will comprise two breakout sessions:

1. Accessing EC2 a hands on session where researchers can set up machines on Amazon thre will also be an opportunity to set up a small HPC cluster on Amazon using Alces flight.

2. Administering research facilities on Amazon for the research community; using S3 storage, integrating local infrastructure with Amazon to cloud burst when resources are required on demand.

When: Thursday 20 April

Where: Venue and booking details to be confirmed.

More information to follow.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Team Drives are here

You may have noticed a new feature in your Google Drive called Team Drives. Team Drives are shared spaces where your team can store files and guarantee that every member has the most up-to-date information.  

The best feature of Team Drives is that if a document’s owner moves teams or leaves the University, the document doesn’t go with them so your team doesn’t lose access. 

Team Drives also make onboarding easy, because every person and Google Group added to a Team Drive gets instant access to that team’s documents.

To set up your Team Drive, click Team Drives under My Drive. Name your Team Drive, then click on to add members.

Manage access controls by clicking on the arrow next to your Team Drive’s name and click Manage members. You can give team members different levels of access, either for the whole drive or for individual docs.

Deleted files are also moved to the Team Drive bin, meaning they can be easily recovered. Files that haven’t been recovered are permanently deleted after 30 days.

Team Drive themes also let you customise the space to suit your team.

Thursday, 22 December 2016 security information

We have been informed that the online learning platform,, has recently been compromised by an unauthorised third party. The breach took place on a database that included information on learning data, such as contact information and courses viewed. None of the lost data has been made publicly available at this time.

While this is a service that we offer to all University staff and students, we do not store any passwords with and can assure you that this information has not been accessed. Whether you have used or not you do not need to take any action as a result of this incident.

You may receive or have already received an email notifying you of the security breach, this has been sent to all registered users, and does not mean that your data has been compromised. is contacting users as an ‘abundance of caution’ and as all University of Sheffield users’ passwords are unaffected, no action is required.

We take security of services we provide very seriously, and are working with to investigate and understand the incident.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Meet the new Google Sites

Google Sites has had an overhaul. The basic website building tool is now easier to use, with a new drag-and-drop interface. The complex features of the old Google Sites like gadgets, sidebars and complicated menu options have all disappeared. Instead, Sites now offers a straightforward single-column layout with a handful of themes, fonts and colour options that work seamlessly on any device. It takes the hard work out of designing a coherent website. 

Your current Google Site will remain the same unless you migrate it over to the new version. Migration tools to transition your classic site will be released in 2017.

Here’s some of the key features of the new Sites.

1. Responsive Design

The old Google Sites was pretty bad at displaying content on different devices. The new single-column, no-sidebar layout is designed to scale to any screen size and the two available menu options make navigation easy.

2. Google apps integration


The new Sites allows you to insert content from any of Google’s apps within your Drive account, including Docs, Sheets, Forms and Charts, into your site from within the editor. Youtube videos and Maps can also be embedded and easily resized and moved around the page without having to delve into the source code.

3. Real-time collaborative editing

Multiple people can now simultaneously edit a Google Site, seeing each other’s changes in real-time, just like Google Docs, without worrying about conflicts or locked pages.