A Short Primer on Domain Names
The domain name "unl.edu" is composed of two elements: first, the top-level domain, or "TLD," in our case edu, is governed by the U.S. Department of Commerce (only U.S. institutions may register .edu domains). In the case of edu, the Department has delegated governance for second-level domains to EDUCAUSE. EDUCAUSE assigns one, and only one, second-level address in the .edu TLD to each institution. In our case, EDUCAUSE has assigned unl.
The domain name, "unl.edu" is considered a core brand asset of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. It is associated with the brand and trade dress of the university as defined by the UNL Web Framework. The UNL Web Framework may only be used with unl.edu addresses. Websites hosted on UNL.edu addresses must use the UNL Web Framework, unless an exception is approved by the Web Developer Network (WDN) Shared Governance Board.
UNL Information Technology Services is responsible for governance of the unl.edu second-level domain, and assignment of any third-level domains, commonly referred to as "subdomains." ITS has delegated the approval of any subdomains of unl.edu to the WDN Shared Governance Board, which also refines and promulgates policy on subdomains. Any appeal which may result from denial of a subdomain request will be heard by the board at its next scheduled meeting.
The third-level "www" will only be issued for the root UNL website located at https://www.unl.edu. Subdirectories of the root www.unl.edu directory will not be created unless directly related to content at the root website.
Subdomain names are not automatically issued on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Existing subdomain names that conflict with this policy will be evaluated over time to ensure a consistent user experience.
Subdomain names under unl.edu are generally limited to:
- major academic and administrative units, departments and business units recognized as "organizations" within UNL administrative systems;
- faculty research labs, recognized student organizations;
- institution-wide services such as email, learning services and publishing services;
- programmatic sites administered by UNL, e.g. cropwatch.unl.edu;
- University-wide services such as email, learning services and publishing services;
- affiliate and/or campaign sites as approved by University Communication.
1.2 Affiliates, Inter-institutional Programs, Online Journals
In general, subdomain names for all computer systems, devices, and services at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are required to be assigned under the unl.edu domain name and published in the trade dress and web framework of the university. However, UNL recognizes that certain situations may call for using domain names other than unl.edu or branding other than the university's.
Affiliates of UNL with approved secondary logos may be granted a subdomain at UNL (for example, enthompson.unl.edu, innovate.unl.edu). Extending from their "approved secondary logo" status, these affiliates may use designs other than UNL's, at their own expense. Further, these collaborations may incur liability for accessibility compliance, security and other concerns.
Online journals and special publications (see https://prairieschooner.unl.edu, https://cather.unl.edu) may be granted subdomains and may, at their own expense, employ unique designs for these publications. Further, these collaborations may incur liability for accessibility compliance, security and other concerns. No publication website, however, will by itself represent a UNL organizational entity.
Inter-institutional academic and research collaborations may be granted a unl.edu subdomain if the collaboration's lead investigator (or co-investigator) is a UNL faculty or staff member, or the collaboration's primary mailing address is at UNL. Due to the sensitivities of employing primary 'Nebraska' branding on an inter-institutional effort, these collaborations may employ alternate branding at their own expense. Further, these collaborations may incur liability for accessibility compliance, security and other concerns. See 184.108.40.206 regarding subdomain redirects to external sites.
2. Guidelines and Priorities
Each college or major administrative unit choosing a subdomain should in most cases request the common abbreviation for the college or unit as used in conversation by the general university community. Departments or sub-units must have the approval of their college or major administrative unit prior to requesting a subdomain.
- 2.1.1 New sites Subdomain requests must include a URL of the site to which the subdomain is to be applied. The WDN Shared Governance Board will review sites for content, completeness and adherence to UNL web development standards prior to approving subdomain name requests or reassigning subdomains.
- 2.1.2 Existing use Once assigned, a domain name will not be reassigned to another unit without the approval of the current unit and adequate time to implement any necessary changes.
- 2.1.3 General campus services For any generalized subdomain (e.g. "podcasts.unl.edu") which does not include an ownership indicator other than that implied by "unl.edu," priority will be given to units with an institution-wide scope and intent. In such cases, the name will be reviewed for suitability and appropriateness for the service within the scope and mission of the university as a whole. The requesting unit's capability to adequately support the service for the entire university may also be considered.
- 2.1.4 Academic purpose Academic purposes will generally hold priority if conflicts are known or may be anticipated.
- 2.1.5 Interdepartmental projects A project or unit name or code may be assigned to a project group which spans multiple departments.
- 2.1.6 Campaign-related and special-use sites may be requested and will be evaluated on their merits. General phrases drawn from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln branding statement are reserved for university use.
- 2.1.7 Variations on existing subdomains Variants of existing domain names, such as adding a numeric suffix (e.g., unitname2.unl.edu) or a test domain (unitname-test.unl.edu) are generally not acceptable, as they do not conform to the specific-to-general logic of the domain-naming systems, and they work against high search rankings for websites (search engines reward aggregating high quality content in single sites).
- 2.1.8 Trademark conflicts All subdomain requests will be evaluated for potential conflicts with existing university trademark licensing. Conducting global searches for potential trademark conflicts is beyond the scope of this process; responsibility falls to the requesting entity.
- 2.1.9 Commercial names Commercial names or other organizational names where no official UNL sponsorship or high-level relationship applies, are not permitted on systems owned by or operated at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, without express prior approval. This includes systems purchased for the use of the UNL community, where the commercial name is a vendor to the UNL community.
- 220.127.116.11 Redirects External to UNL.edu Subdomains are not granted simply for redirection to sites outside of the UNL.edu domain.
- 18.104.22.168 Redirects Within UNL.edu Each academic department, unit, or program may request a subdomain redirect to a site located in a hierarchical URL.
2.2 Retiring a Subdomain
If a site is discontinued, or if a site moves to a new location (either internal to the UNL domain or to an external domain), the subdomain may remain for up to one year from the date that the site is discontinued or the new site becomes operational. In this case, the content of the retiring subdomain should be limited to a single page, with information about and link to the new site, if applicable.
2.3 Fourth level domains (sub-subdomains)
Where personnel are tasked with building computer systems and interfaces and a distinct server address is required in order to perform the job, a fourth-level domain may be issued, in the format servername.unit.unl.edu. Development servers such as these are the only circumstance in which a fourth-level domain will be issued.
Some services may be scoped only to a single administrative unit or department. In these cases a fourth-level domain will not be issued. University units/departments should instead use a directory within their subdomain, as in this example: a library of podcasts from the Department of Physics might be physics.unl.edu/podcasts.
3. How to request a unl.edu subdomain
Use the Subdomain Request Form. The request form includes:
- The desired domain name and present URL of the site
- A brief explanation of the purpose and audience of the site.
The domain name and supporting information will be reviewed and approved or denied in accordance with this Domain Name Policy.
Once the domain name has been approved, you can submit requests for domain name records ending in the approved subdomain.