Attachment I

 

Texas State Domain Names FAQ

 

What is the Domain Name System, or DNS?

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical naming system for computers, services, and other resources connected to the Internet. Its primary function is translating the natural language domain names of resources (meaningful to humans) into their numerical Internet Protocol (IP) addresses (meaningful to the networking equipment that drives the Internet) for the purpose of locating and addressing those resources worldwide.

 

Examples of DNS names include:  finearts.txstate.edu, library.txstate.edu, and www.txstate.edu

 

What is a top level folder (also known as a top-level directory)?

Top-level folders are directories in the web server’s file system, reflected "one slash" to the right of www.txstate.edu. Example: ‘ucollege’ in www.txstate.edu/ucollege.

 

How do I request a domain name or top-level directory?

To request a domain name or top-level directory, please contact the Information Technology Assistance Center (ITAC@txstate.edu or 245-ITAC) or Gato Web Content Management Support (gato@txstate.edu or 245-5566).

 

What is Texas State's policy on Domain Names and Top Level folders?

Texas State website addresses generally follow one of these two formats:

www.organizational-unit.txstate.edu or www.txstate.edu/organizational-unit

 

Examples include: finearts.txstate.edu, library.txstate.edu and www.txstate.edu/ucollege. 

 

Many web sites at txstate.edu fall under a college or division that already has space set aside for the web sites of its components. This space translates into a folder or directory on a web server. In the above example, <organizational unit> represents the directory on a web server that contains subdirectories for departments, projects, and other sites within that organizational unit.

 

This URL structure normally works out fine for both website administrators and site visitors. For various reasons, some sites wind up with overly-long URLs or may desire a more concise way to identify their sites. Information Technology will work with the site administrator to address these concerns as they arise, in a manner consistent with the university’s domain name policy.

 

Why does Texas State need a policy on Domain Names?

When communications are transmitted 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 and organizational affiliation of the parties to the communication. Without this information, misleading or incorrect assumptions can be made as to the affiliation, authorization, or association of the parties.

 

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 “library.txstate.edu” designates a transaction with a university library, specifically the library at Texas State University-San Marcos, an accredited educational institution. The name not only provides information about affiliation and location of services associated with that address, but determines the routing of communications through the translation of names into numeric IP addresses. This scheme for assigning names is called the domain name system (DNS).

 

A formal policy is necessary because:

·         The university needs a consistent methodology for assigning domain names to avoid and resolve potential conflicts over domain names and URLs, to keep its online resources easy to find and navigate, and to ensure optimal performance of its websites and online services

·         Domain names must be consistent with the university’s branding strategy and marketing goals and must not be disparaging or harmful to the university’s image or reputation

·         Texas State must assure compliance with the standards and rules promulgated by:

o    ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) – responsible for global coordination of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers and addressing protocols

o    EDUCAUSE – the official Registrar of the .edu Internet domain

 

Why can't I have whatever DNS name I want for my site?

In times past, some individuals requested “catchy” or "vanity" DNS names for their sites. Others were fixated on obtaining the shortest possible DNS name in the hope that it would be easier for users to remember. These approaches resulted in names and naming schemes with no consistency and unnecessary internal competition and “turf battles” over names. Visitors were often frustrated by the inconsistency, the lack of structure, and the lack of context relative to the university as a whole. This policy leverages functional and organizational affiliation to bring consistency and structure to DNS names and reduce the likelihood of conflicts over names. This policy also recognizes that contemporary Internet users rarely go directly to a resource by typing in the URL from memory. Instead, users go directly to the site via a previously saved bookmark or link from a search engine results page.  

 

I noticed a DNS name being used that doesn't follow the naming guidelines. Why is this?

Texas State grandfathered a number of DNS names created before this policy was enacted. Also, the policy identifies specific criteria and circumstances under which exceptions may be warranted. Examples of such exceptions include: CatsWeb.txstate.edu, Tracs.txstate.edu, BobcatMail.txstate.edu, eCommons.txstate.edu, and thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu. See Section 03. of the policy for the criteria applied in determining if an exception is warranted.

 

Can I have .com name?

Generally speaking, the answer is no if the site is hosted on a computer with a Texas State IP address.  However, if your site is hosted outside of Texas State’s IP address space, you may be able to obtain a .com DNS name. Commercial ISPs usually have policies and procedures for these requests. Contact them for more information. Because the university cannot coordinate changes to network services in outside domains, there is no guarantee that outside domain name services will function properly when used to identify a host computer in the Texas State domain. To prevent network routing problems, every case must be reviewed individually by Information Technology prior to its activation. Please contact the Information Technology Assistance Center (ITAC@txstate.edu or 245-ITAC) before registering such a site.

 

Can my DNS name point to an external host such as a ".com" host?

No, except in unusual circumstances as defined in the Texas State policy and only if you assume responsibility for all communication with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Note that many ISPs do not offer this as a service. Be sure to consult with them first and understand any policies they may impose on hosting DNS names.

 

You will need to make arrangements for the remote configuration of the DNS name. Technology Resources can only create the name in its DNS server and "point" it to the outside Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP administrators must configure their web server so that the name correctly addresses your site. Please contact the Information Technology Assistance Center (ITAC@txstate.edu or 245-ITAC) before registering such a site.

 

Why can’t I get another .edu name for my web site?

Names in the .edu domain are issued and carefully administered by EDUCAUSE, the registrar of the .edu domain (see http://www.educause.edu/edudomain/policy.asp ).  Each institution is allowed only one .edu domain name (ours is ‘txstate’). Institutions that do not already hold a name in the .edu domain are eligible to receive one if they are post-secondary institutions and are institutionally accredited, i.e., the entire institution and not just particular programs, by agencies on the U.S. Department of Education's list of Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies (see recognized accrediting bodies). These include both Regional Institutional Accrediting Agencies and National Institutional and Specialized Accrediting Bodies. Institutional accreditation is required for .edu eligibility; program accreditation is not sufficient.