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Guidance on how to apply for a website domain name

Updated: 2014
Approval: MSD IT Committee

Medical Sciences Division

The term www domain name refers to the first part of a web address prefaced by www and ending in ox.ac.uk, for example: www.[name].ox.ac.uk.

All departments and units with their own email domain (e.g. @[dept].ox.ac.uk) automatically qualify for a www domain name.

It is University policy that web pages for projects being carried out in the University should be within the web structure of the department responsible, but it is possible for a sub-unit or other organization to apply to IT Services for a www domain name. Requests for such names are referred to the Medical Sciences Division for approval.

This document outlines the criteria the Division will use in considering those requests and explains the process to apply for a domain name.

Aims

  • To avoid a proliferation of www domain names and maintain a cohesive image for the Division and University
  • To ensure that ‘generic’ domain names (e.g. www.neuroscience) represent cross-divisional activity
  • To ensure that www domain names are used for substantive web presences, in line with department or divisional communication and web strategies

Criteria

  • The requested name complies with the University’s DNS naming policy
  • The name is appropriate and accurately reflects the activity of the unit / website
  • The request is accompanied by written support from the Department Administrator / Head of Department
  • A clear business case is made for why a top level domain name is required to further the research / teaching / communication aims of the unit
  • Strategy and funding for development and long-term maintenance of the web presence can be demonstrated
  • Compliance with the University’s branding guidelines, accessibility requirements, cookie laws, data protection and information security policies can be demonstrated
  • The name will be applied to a distinct web presence - i.e. a website with its own top level navigation

Procedure

  1. The request must be submitted to domain registration at IT Services  (registration.manager@it.ox.ac.uk)
  2. A business case (covering the criteria above) and a copy of the letter or email of support from the Department Admin and Head of Department should be submitted to the Web Manager (anne.bowtell@medsci.ox.ac.uk)
  3. Requests will be considered at a fortnightly meeting with the Senior Assistant Registrar - applicants should be aware that a response may take three to four weeks.

Notes

  1. Further information can be found in IT Services’ DNS Naming Policy - http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/network/dns/policy.xml
  2. The University only allows five part domain names e.g. www.[name].ox.ac.uk. It isn’t possible to have a name such as www.[name].[dept].ox.ac.uk
  3. Alternatives which may suit a department’s strategy better, embed the unit’s site within the departmental web structure, and do not require central approval are:
    • [name].[dept].ox.ac.uk
      (no ‘www’)
      contact your local IT Services to set this up, you will need to give them the name of the server your website is hosted on
    • [name].medsci.ox.ac.uk
      (no ‘www’, uses ‘medsci’ and can be useful for cross-department initiatives)
      contact the Divisional Web Manager
    • www.[dept].ox.ac.uk/[name]
      (not always possible to configure but worth investigating as an option)
      contact the person in charge of the department site
  4. An .ox.ac.uk domain name may not be used for a site hosted on an external server except in very exceptional cases. Strict conditions must be met: http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/network/dns/dns-redirection.xml
  5. External domain names (such as www.[name].com or www.[name].org.uk) may be required and can be provided in exceptional circumstances. Please review the University’s Trademark and Domain Name Policy (http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/lso/faq/) and discuss this with your department administrator and IT Services.