User support is very important to the successful integration of Access Grid technologies into e-Social Science research. The National Centre for e-Social Science (NCeSS) will assume a central support role in the UK. The strategy is to establish a central, co-ordinating Hub and a set of research-based Nodes across the UK. The purpose of the Hub is to raise awareness, facilitate Grid applications and to provide a 'one-stop shop' offering a comprehensive advice and support service to Nodes and Users. By maintaining a repository of online resources and acting as the central resource base for all e-Social Science activities (including the ESRC Research Methods initiatives), the Hub will be the key source of advice to the ESRC on the future strategic direction of UK e-Social Science.
For specific support on Access Grid, UK users should contact the Access
Grid Support Centre (AGSC) based in Manchester, which provides advice on
topics from installation to use. The AGSC runs various services to enhance
the experience of using Access Grid, as well as offering workshops, support,
and Quality Assurance tests that all contribute to ensuring that the high
quality of Access Grid is maintained.
For technical support in using and establishing computational Grids,
the UK e-Science Grid Support Centre
exists to provide documentation, software and installation guides.
Support needs of Users will vary depending on their position on the learning curve and their anticipated role in the application of Access Grid technologies. Personal contact with experienced Access Grid staff will become essential, but much can be learned from the variety of online resources that already exist (e.g. the Access Grid Documentation Project). Further materials will be available with the development of the ESRC's support strategy for e-Social Science. The tutorial you are currently reading contributes to the support being offered.