URL naming policy

The primary objective of the following document is to ensure that web-based information is structured in a way that provides effective access to that information. This policy defines the framework upon which the University of Maine’s web-based infrastructure is built, and applies to URLs assigned within the www.umaine.edu and www2.umaine.edu domains.

Policy information
This policy is a living document and therefore the subject of revision at any time as determined by the Web Advisory Group. This policy applies to new requests only. Note that satisfying this policy’s criteria does not guarantee approval. Final approval will be determined by the Web Advisory Group, and exceptions to the criteria will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

External domain names
URLs should reside under www.umaine.edu or www2.umaine.edu.  No external domain names should host a UMaine site or redirect to a www.umaine.edu-based URL unless there is a valid marketing reason for doing so. In those rare cases, use of an external domain name must be approved by the Web Advisory Group.

Departmental/College URLs
Department and college URLs will exist under the main domains, e.g., www.umaine.edu/psychology or www.psychology.umaine.edu.

Organization/Center URLs
Organizations and centers that have been officially recognized by the university will exist under the main domains, e.g., www.umaine.edu/lasst. Others will exist under their individual department’s web space, e.g., www.umaine.edu/psychology/psychclub

Naming guidelines

  • URLs should be intuitive to end-users and describe a university-level department or service.
    • When a user visits www.umaine.edu/psychology, they should be looking at the University of Maine Psychology Department’s website, and not the Psychology Club’s website.
  • URLs should not be duplicated across domains, or across departmental or organizational URLs.
    • For example, if there is an existing URL for the Department of Psychology at www.umaine.edu/psychology, creating a similar URL for the Psychology Club at www.umaine.edu/psych or www2.umaine.edu/psychology is unnecessary and confusing to end-users.
  • Acronyms should be used as part of a URL only when the acronym in question is commonly used outside the university community to name an organization or department.
    • For example, www.umaine.edu/lasst makes sense, because the Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology uses the LASST acronym regularly in their marketing materials. But the School of Forest Resources does not benefit from having a website at www.umaine.edu/sfr, because SFR is not an acronym commonly used to describe the School of Forest Resources.
  • URLs should be comprised of letters, hyphens and numbers — no other characters, e.g., underscore, tilda, etc. URLs should be in lowercase.
    • For example, www.umaine.edu/psychology rather than www.umaine.edu/~psychology or www.umaine.edu/Psychology
  • URLs should be short and memorable.
    • For example, www.umaine.edu/psychology rather than www.departments.umaine.edu/las/psychology
  • URLs should not end in .htm or .html, with the exception of the standard home page file (index.html, default.html, or home.html are examples of acceptable URL endings).
    • For example, www.umaine.edu/prospective rather than www.umaine.edu/prospective/students.html