This document provides information on URL standards within the University’s Intranet environment.
The format and structure of the URLs used are important for our website users and search engines, therefore Open University URLs should follow a consistent, predictable, format (as far as possible).
To the broad majority of users acronyms are meaningless. A user-centred approach should be taken and acronyms expanded where possible.
Abbreviations or acronyms should only be used if:
Content that is intended for an internal audience should not be hosted on an external URL , the reasons being is that this can cause confusion (especially if staff have to log in) and mislead staff into thinking the site is an external resource which is open to all. Additionally, content hosted on external URLs will not be indexed in Intranet search, so staff may have difficulty locating the site.
Currently (and this is likely to change in the future) there are different URL stems for the different hosting platforms within our intranet environment, these are:
The second part of the URL is generally where the site is located within our information architecture (IA) which allows us to organise and manage our sites and information efficiently.
To discuss any non-standard Intranet URL requirements contact Digital Services.
For a publicity URL, where a more friendly or shorter URL is required (e.g. for posters or printed materials), contact Digital Services about the URL shortening service (still to be determined).
Redirects are not normally provided for Intranet sites as these can generally be accessed via the main OU Life A to Z or search, exceptions can be made, contact Digital Services for further advice.
The Intranet Manager is responsible for managing the allocation of URLs on a business as usual basis.
The Domain Working Group are responsible for managing the allocation of URL stems on open.ac.uk, openuniv.sharepoint.com (and others). The Domain Working Group has representation from Digital Services, LTI and Information Technology. The decisions that are made by this working group are based on their awareness of University-wide plans.
Digital Services maintain a list of all current Intranet URLs in support of the Working Group and auditing requirements.
Any department, faculty, unit, institute or other grouping within the University that wishes to request a new URL stem for website content, should do so through the website request process (internal only), or via contacting Digital Services if there are any queries.
Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis according to the following general criteria:
Units wishing to use particularly generic terms in their URL must submit their requests with a clear explanation and justification no less than 2 weeks in advance of any scheduled publication date.
The following summarises conditions that may result in withdrawal of an .open.ac.uk URL stem:
Not following the above rules and conditions.
Failure to maintain an accessible and functional website (e.g. obsolete and de-commissioned URLs where a code 404 page is consistently appearing).
Failing to comply with University Digital Standards, including accessibility.
Changing the status of the organisation or project that the URL stem represents.