Domain Name Policy

Introduction

Domain names identify Princeton University internet resources such as websites. They are unique identifiers consisting of a series of alphanumeric words separated by periods and are organized in subordinate levels or subdomains that descend from the right to the left with each level separated by a “dot.” In the example oit.princeton.edu, “princeton” is the second-level name and “oit” is the third-level name.

The internet-wide Domain Name System (“DNS”) defines the names. The Office of Information Technology is responsible for the University’s DNS technology; however, the selection and approval of names is delegated to other units of the University.

A fair and structured approach is needed to guide the selection and approval of domain names to avoid confusion and promote consistency. Furthermore, a structured approach will help ensure that websites are in compliance with University requirements and standards for security, accessibility and content.

The purpose of this policy is to outline the rules and process for requesting and using princeton.edu domain names.

1. Policy Statement

This policy establishes requirements and processes for requesting, obtaining and selecting domain names in order to protect Princeton University’s name, brand and reputation as well as establish a fair and equitable process to ensure that the University is a responsible curator of the domain name resource. This policy applies to third-level names of the princeton.edu domain that are used for publicly viewable information accessed on the web.

2. Who Is Affected By This Policy

All University faculty, staff, and students.

3. Definitions

Alias: A second domain name that essentially points to the first domain name. For example, wws.princeton.edu is an alias of spia.princeton.edu

Domain name: A unique name that identifies an internet resource such as a website. A domain name consists of a series of alphanumeric words separated by periods; for example, www.princeton.edu

DNS: Stands for the Internet Domain Name System (“DNS”). It is the international system for naming network resources and assigns alphanumeric names (ex. www.princeton.edu) to numeric IP addresses (ex. 104.18.5.101). Domain names are registered in DNS.

HTTP Redirect: Occurs when a web browser connects to a web server which then tells the browser it should go to a different place for the requested web page. Redirects can be based on any part of the domain name.

Subdirectory: The part of the domain name that comes after the “princeton.edu.” For example, “academics” in www.princeton.edu/academics

Third-level domain: The part of the domain name that comes before “princeton.edu.” For example, “oit” in oit.princeton.edu

Fourth-level domain: A name that is added before the third-level name. For example, “name” in, name.oit.princeton.edu

4. Roles and Responsibilities

PetitionerPrinceton University faculty or staff requesting a third-level domain name who requests a domain name under the direction of the Sponsor. The Petitioner and Sponsor may be the same individual.
SponsorPrinceton University academic dean, vice president, vice provost, or academic chair endorsing the third-level domain name request of the Petitioner.
ReviewersThe Office of Information Technology (“OIT”) and the Office of Communications (“OC”) reviewing third-level domain name requests.

5. Policy

A. Third-level Domain Names

Third-level domain names will be granted to the following Princeton University entities:

  1. academic schools, departments and programs
  2. academic councils, centers and institutes
  3. research projects
  4. corporate and foundation collaborations
  5. administrative units
  6. recognized student organizations and agencies
  7. enterprise services

Third-level domain requests from entities that do not fall in the above categories will be reviewed on an individual basis but will generally be denied.

The selection of a third-level domain name should be considered with the same seriousness as the naming and construction of a physical structure on campus, or the naming of an academic department or program.

Authorization to use a third-level domain name may be revoked if it conflicts with the request of a major new University unit or if the name is deemed too generic or broad for its current use, especially if it is more applicable to a larger university department or unit. Third-level domain names may also be revoked if they have not been used or if the website has not been updated for a period of three or more years.

B. Fourth-level Domain Names

Any entity who has an existing third-level domain may establish one or more fourth-level domains at the Sponsor’s authorization.

C. Subdirectories

Subdirectories of a third-level or fourth-level domain may be established at the Sponsor’s authorization.

D. Alias

Requests for aliases should follow the same procedures as requests for domain names. Aliases of a princeton.edu domain name that present the domain name as a .org, .com or other general top-level domain will be granted only in very limited circumstances.

E. HTTP Redirects

Any domain name to which a princeton.edu domain name is redirecting should adhere to University requirements and standards, including for security, accessibility and content.
 

6. Procedures

Requests for a third-level domain name can originate from any University faculty or staff member (the “Petitioner”) within an academic or administrative unit and must have the endorsement of a Sponsor.

Petitioners for a third-level domain names must complete and submit their request via the Request Approval for a Third-level Domain Name form which will be routed to Reviewers. The form will require acknowledgement that the domain will adhere to University requirements and standards for security, accessibility; as well as the Acceptable Use Policy.

The Petitioner will receive an email acknowledging their request and an anticipated response time of 6-10 working days.

The Reviewers will review the request in terms of intended purpose, scope and duration, and may consult with other relevant University offices before making a decision. The review process will include screening for current and potential future conflicts.

The Petitioner may appeal the decision one time by forwarding their request, along with any relevant supporting information, to the Office of Information Technology. The appeal will then be forwarded to an appeals committee consisting of one representative from the Office of Communications and one representative from the Office of Information Technology. After the committee has considered the appeal and rendered a decision, the Office of Information Technology will notify the petitioner of the decision.

7. Guidelines

A. Third-level Domain Names

Third-level domain names should clearly identify the requesting entity and avoid generic terms or acronyms that could apply to other campus entities or services. They should use a full name or an acceptable abbreviation. Below are examples of acceptable third-level domain names:
 

  1. academic schools, departments, and program
    Examples: english.princeton.edu and chemistry.princeton.edu
     
  2. academic councils, centers, and institutes
    Examples: humanities.princeton.edu and acee.princeton.edu
     
  3. research projects
    Examples: netzeroamerica.princeton.edu and bridgingdivides.princeton.edu
    (See About Research Projects below for details.)
     
  4. corporate and foundation collaborations
    Examples: ludwigcancer.princeton.edu and icorps.princeton.edu
     
  5. administrative units
    Examples: communications.princeton.edu and hr.princeton.edu
     
  6. recognized student organizations and agencies
    Students may ask a department or unit to sponsor a third-level domain name, but the domain name request must come from a faculty or staff petitioner and be endorsed by an appropriate Sponsor.
    Examples: usg.princeton.edu and gsg.princeton.edu
     
  7. enterprise technology services
    Central university-wide computing services will be assigned a third-level domain name describing the service that they provide. Valid university-wide computing services are those services that are clearly recognizable as university computing services from outside of the university community.
    Example: directory.princeton.edu

    In limited cases more than one name may be granted. Ex. engineering.princeton.edu and seas.princeton.edu

B. About Research Projects

In most cases research projects should receive fourth-level domains within their respective academic department’s third-level domain name.

If the research project is a joint or interdisciplinary project, it should generally receive a fourth-level domain within the primary academic department’s third-level domain name. In some cases, a descriptive third-level domain may be pending approved.

If a research project is not affiliated with an academic unit, a name may be added to the third-level “project” name as in projectname.project.princeton.edu with “projectname” being unique to the project. No Sponsor approval is needed for this.

C. Fourth-level Domain Names

Websites used by faculty, researchers and other scholars of the University will use the fourth-level naming convention of name.scholar.princeton.edu with “name” being unique to the individual.

Websites for student groups, officially recognized by the University, will use the fourth-level naming convention of name.group.princeton.edu or name.club.princeton.edu.

The fourth-level domain should be carefully considered when putting the content into a subdirectory may be more appropriate.

8. Related Documents and Forms

9. Related Policies

10. Update Log

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Policy Title: Policy on the use of princeton.edu domain names 

Responsible Executive(s): Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, Daren Hubbard

Vice President for Communications & Government Affairs, Gadi Dechter 

Responsible Office(s): Office of the Vice President for Information Technology 

Office of the Vice President for Communications and Government Affairs 

Contact(s): Michael Hotchkiss, Office of Communications 

Jill Moraca, Office of Information Technology 

Effective Date: May 10, 2023

First version: May 10, 2023 

Last Update: n/a