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Guidelines for requesting domain names within cam.ac.uk

The allocation and management of names within the cam.ac.uk domain is governed by strict guidelines overseen by the Information Services Committee (ISC). Applications for new top level names under cam.ac.uk should be made to Institution Strategy in University Information Services (UIS) (email to ).

Domain names at the "top" level (i.e. directly under cam.ac.uk) are normally allocated to University-wide facilities (like the email system, hermes.cam.ac.uk and the student information system, camsis.cam.ac.uk) and to institutions of the University (faculties, departments and colleges). Proof of the existence of the new facility or institution is required; usually a formal announcement in the University Reporter is sufficient. Where a domain name is being sought for a University-wide strategic initiative (like the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, conservation.cam.ac.uk and Cambridge Neuroscience, neuroscience.cam.ac.uk), formal approval by the Research Policy Committee (email Gill.Rands@admin.cam.ac.uk) is required.

The setting up of a domain name is a serious undertaking as an institution is normally expected to use the name in all networking contexts for all relevant equipment and services, not just as a URL for a website. Choice of name is important, not least because a subsequent decision to change can lead to a time consuming and complicated exercise; proposals for new names are put to a panel with experience of the sort of clashes and confusion which have occurred in the past (usually when acronyms or overly generic names are used). An example of the problems caused by acronyms can be seen in the case of the Centres for Business Research and Brain Repair: brc.cam.ac.uk and cbr.cam.ac.uk respectively, while these are unique and obvious within their local contexts there is significant scope for confusion at University level and externally.

When a name has been agreed, a formal application is signed by the appropriate Head of Institution and returned to the Director of UIS, with a copy to Institution Strategy. Once allocated, a name cannot readily be changed. There are a few exceptions to the guidelines where names have been set up for specific purposes after formal application to the ISC. An example is 800.cam.ac.uk which was granted for the University's Octocentenary celebrations.

A special domain group.cam.ac.uk is available for use by cross-disciplinary research groups where it would be inappropriate for any particular institution to "own" the name. Examples include:

  • catalog.group.cam.ac.uk
  • citmg.group.cam.ac.uk
  • compbio.group.cam.ac.uk
  • emarkets.group.cam.ac.uk
  • finance.group.cam.ac.uk
  • jsss.group.cam.ac.uk
  • postconflict.group.cam.ac.uk
  • victorians.group.cam.ac.uk

Note that these group names are *not* available for a research group within a single department. Such a group is expected to use a name within the appropriate institution's domain. Application for a group name should be made in the first instance to Institution Strategy () as for top level names.

Allocation of a domain name and its subsequent use with a website and for email addresses places an onus on the responsible institution to maintain content and currency actively. Planning should be in hand for names that are associated with initiatives and institutions that have finite lifetimes. Institution Strategy should be informed when a name is no longer required; redirections should be used for a period of time and unmaintained content labelled as such. The UIS may suppress domain names that are obsolete and/or are in danger of damaging the University's reputation.

Last updated: August 2015 by