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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) and set out in the Domain name policy. Applications for new top level names under cam.ac.uk should be made through the Relationship Manager for the institution(s), or for multi-institutional and University-wide requests to Institution Strategy in University Information Services (UIS) (email to institution-strategy@uis.cam.ac.uk).

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. The Research Policy Committee provides approval for top-level domain names for a small number of cross-School initiatives that have been awarded under the Strategic Research Initiatives scheme. Other cross-disciplinary initiatives are encouraged to use the 'group.cam' option highlighted below.

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 technical expertise and 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 the institution’s Relationship Manager or 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 the institution's Relationship Manager or Institution Strategy (institution-strategy@uis.cam.ac.uk) 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.

The institution's Relationship Manager or 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.

For further information, please refer to the Domain name policy.

 

Last updated: September 2019 by institution-strategy@uis.cam.ac.uk

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