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The following page is a three column layout with a header that contains a quicklinks jump menu and the search CSUN function. Page sections are identified with headers. The footer contains update, contact and emergency information.

University Web Management

Universal Resource Locators (URL)


1. URL Syntax (General)

1.1 Web Site Name:
A single name should be designated for use as the web site’s primary name, and this name should be used for all branding purposes. In some cases, the web site name may not appear immediately adjacent to the web server host name. (See section 2 for best practices for naming this component of the URL; section 3 for placement of the web site name within the URL.)

1.2 Web Server host name:
To the extent possible, the web server host name should be “www.csun.edu”.  In limited cases, a different host name may be required.

1.3 Protocol:
For simplicity, the protocol should always be set to “http.”  The website should, however, be configured to redirect the user to the “https” protocol based upon security needs to ensure compliance with University policy with regard to electronic distribution of information. (See University Policy #500-15 entitled Electronic Distribution of University Information via the Internet.)

2. Web Site Names

2.1 Web site names should be meaningful and familiar to users.

2.2 Web site names should be context-appropriate and based on natural language.

2.3 Web site names should be easy to type, read, and remember.

2.4 Web site names should consist of only the following characters: alphanumeric (a-z, A-Z, 0-9), periods (.), and hyphens (-).

2.5 The use of the following characters – even if technically functional – is not recommended: tilde (~), underscore (_), space ( ), ampersand (&) and any character that requires special encoding (such as currency symbols, characters with diacritics, and commercial, technical and scientific symbols).

2.6 The use of articles such as “the” should be avoided in the names of web sites.

2.7 To eliminate the use of tildes in personal web site names, each member of the CSUN community should be assigned a web site name based upon their campus email account ID.  For those with multiple email aliases, multiple web site aliases can be provided (e.g., John.Smith.213, JohnSmith, johnsmith, jsmith, or jqs34223).  To avoid duplicate name assignment, current rules for disambiguation should be applied. (See section 3.2 for placement of personal web site names in URLs.)

2.8 Requirements for primary names are as follows:

2.8.1 If the name is an acronym, use all capital letters (e.g., HHD).

2.8.2 If the name combines two words, use “Initial Caps” (aka CamelCase) style between the words to assist readability (e.g., AcademicAffairs).

2.9 Additional variant forms of the web site name should be provided via aliases, where applicable, to allow the greatest number of users to find the site using alternative, familiar terms.  These should include:

2.9.1 One form that is comprised of only lowercase letters (e.g., hhd, academicaffairs). ( Ideally, the web server should be configured to recognize all case variations as equivalent to corresponding lowercase forms.)

2.9.2 For two-word names, one form with a period to assist readability in print media (e.g., Academic.Affairs).

3. Placement of Web Site Names within URLS

3.1 Organizational Units:  Colleges, divisions, units, academic and administrative departments will be assigned a URL where the web site name immediately follows the host name (e.g., www.csun.edu/english)

3.2 Personal URLs:

3.2.1 Personal web sites will be assigned a URL where the web site name immediately follows the namespace /people.
(e.g., http://www.csun.edu/people/Mary.Doe.213)

3.2.2 Faculty web sites will also be available under the namespace /faculty.
(e.g., http://www.csun.edu/faculty/HarryJones ).  The /faculty namespace should also be associated with a web page that provides an index of all associated faculty to help a user easily locate a faculty member’s web site.

4. Additional Best Practices:

In addition to URL naming conventions, web sites should follow current best practices:

4.1 The home page of the web site is to be named “index.html”. ( An equivalent file name can be provided, e.g., index.php, index.pl, and index.cgi.)

4.2 The home page must use the <title> element and description <meta> element as described in the CSUN Best Practices for Web Accessibility document (http://www.csun.edu/accessibility/bestpractices/meta.html)

4.3 The home page must include a keywords <meta> element that contains the primary name and each variant form of the name for the web site, to facilitate in search and retrieval via various indexing methods.

5. Suggested Implementation Milestones

5.1 Develop a business process to request new web site names, and identify a unit that has purview over web site naming.

5.2 Generate a list of current and proposed primary names and variant forms for all existing websites, modeled on the structure of Appendix A. Construction of Web Site Names for URLs

Below are some examples of web site names for colleges, divisions, and units within a fictitious “Anonymous U.”  The primary names would be selected based on familiar terms already in use and therefore part of the college or unit’s “branding,” or as part of an effort to establish a new branding.  The variant forms are derived from the primary names.  All web site names appear immediately adjacent to the web server name, for example --


  1. Unit Name

    Primary  Name

    Variant Forms of Name

    College of Agriculture and Natural Resources



    College of Architecture and Planning



    College of Arts and Humanities



    College of Social Sciences



    College of Life Sciences



    College of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering



    Division of Administrative Affairs



    Office of the Registrar



    Facilities Management



    Office of Student Life



    Alumni Association



    Department of Intercollegiate Athletics



5.3 Review the list obtained from section 5.2 and the current list of website names.  Identify duplicate names and determine an appropriate resolution in naming.

5.4 Develop an implementation plan for the new naming scheme.  This plan would consist of:

    5.4.1 an education campaign to inform users of the new naming convention and business process for web site naming;

    5.4.2 a documentation effort to update existing documentation to reflect the new naming scheme;

    5.4.3 a process by which the addition of new users to the system would automatically define URLs for personal websites;

    5.4.4 the development of appropriate web pages for the namespaces  recommended by section 3.2;

    5.4.5 a process by which the new URLs would be activated and by which obsolete URLs would result in an appropriate error message;

    5.4.6 the modification of the web server environment to eliminate the ability to perform user-based lookups utilizing the tilde (~) notation