When communications are received or sent between individuals, groups, institutions, or organizations on local networks, the Internet, or the World Wide Web, it is not only helpful but important to know the location of the individual from whom the communication was sent and his or her institutional affiliation. Without this information, assumptions can be made as to the affiliation, authorization, and/or association that are incorrect and perhaps misleading.
In the electronic community, the method by which names are assigned within an electronic space (in connection with IP addresses) provides information regarding affiliation. (For example, use of the domain name “engin.umich.edu” designates a transaction to or from the Engineering College at the University of Michigan, an educational institution.) The name also provides information about affiliation and location of services associated with that address. It determines the routing of communications or of interactions with specific services through the name and IP address. This scheme for assigning names is called the domain name system (DNS).
Although an implied policy regarding domain names and selection of such has existed at U-M, there has been no formally agreed upon and approved policy. A formal policy is now necessary because
- Individual departments and units within the University are experiencing a need to offer and communicate about new or different services to the University community, as well as to wider and more diverse audiences beyond the University community.
- There has been an increasing number of requests for domain names that do not meet current DNS practices.
- There have been requests for domain names outside the umich.edu domain, although the services are affiliated with or supplied by the University of Michigan.
- There exist domain names at U-M that are inconsistent with current practice.
The University of Michigan has implemented this policy to
- Maintain consistency in the practice of selecting and naming the domains of services and organizations the University of Michigan;
- Provide clarity for users of the system.
- All services that are provided by members of the University of Michigan community as part of their official functions and as part of the mission of the institution will be registered within the umich.edu domain according to the “Implementation Requirements,” listed later in this policy.
- All services that are provided by either members or nonmembers of the University of Michigan community, but which are not part of their official functions as members of the community or as part of the mission of the institution, must be registered outside the umich.edu domain according to the “Implementation Requirements,” listed later in this policy.
- DNS Standards within the umich.edu Domain
- First-level subdomains in the umich.edu domain must be the names of schools, colleges, institutes, or units which are officially recognized by the U-M Regents through the assignment of an organizational code within the Standard Practice Guide of the University.
- First-level subdomains may also reflect generally accepted practices which are used by the Internet-at-large and provided by sites internationally, including www, gopher, and ftp (anonymous).
- Existing hosts or subdomains registered under umich.edu that do not conform to this policy will be reviewed to bring them into conformity with this policy, including the conditions for exceptions described below, or to grant them “grandfathered” status, if that is most appropriate.
- Exceptions for first-level subdomains within the umich.edu domain may be allowed only if all the following conditions are met:
- The proposed name will be used by many people from many different organizations either within or outside the University.
- The proposed name is the name of a service and not the name of a department or other organizational unit.
- The proposed name is for a University-wide service that is not easily identified with a single department or unit, or it is for a service that is being offered primarily to people or groups that are outside the University and who are not likely to be familiar with the details of the University’s internal organizational structure.
- The proposed name is not now, and is not likely to become, ambiguous if it is used as a first-level name without other department or unit qualification.
- The proposed name is not likely to be the subject of frequent changes that would be better dealt with at a more local level.
- The placement of the proposed name as a first-level name within umich.edu has the explicit approval of the unit administrator of the school, college, institute, or unit to which the name would otherwise be associated.
- All exceptions that are granted to the normal subdomain naming within the umich.edu domain will be assigned an alias to the domain that would otherwise normally apply to the request, if such a domain exists. This will allow users to use network tools to determine the unit to which a particular service is affiliated even though the affiliated unit does not appear in the exception name.
- DNS Standards outside the umich.edu Domain
Domain names outside umich.edu may be allowed—and may, in fact, be required—only if all the following conditions are present:
- The proposed name will be used by many people from many different organizations outside the University.
- The proposed name is not likely to be confused with the name of a U-M department or unit.
- The proposed name signifies an organization or venture, commercial or noncommercial, that is not explicitly part of the University.
- The proposed name has either primary or secondary name service provided by umich.edu hosts and has the name server listed by the umich.edu name.
- The placement of the proposed name outside the umich.edu has the explicit approval of the unit administrator of the school, college, institute, or unit to which the name would otherwise be associated.
- DNS Standards within the umich.edu Domain
- Responsibility for implementing this policy will rest with the DNS unit of the Information Technology Division (ITD). To contact the DNS unit, send an electronic mail message to email@example.com.
- Requests which are denied by the DNS unit may be appealed to the Chief Information Officer of the University of Michigan. In the case of a dispute over the rights to a particular name, the DNS unit shall have no responsibility other than to direct both parties to the Chief Information Officer.
- IP address—An address assigned to accomplish routing on the Internet.
- Domain Name System (DNS)—The method or scheme for assigning names within an IP address.
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