January 2010


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Zachary Johnson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
UofMN CSS Web Development <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 27 Jan 2010 14:52:29 -0600
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Andre, I'm going to have to wholeheartedly (but respectfully) disagree 
with you on some points here.

We *want* to be able to search department websites separately via a 
search engine.  We also want to be able to search the entire U 
collectively.  Sub-domains help us do both.

There could be 10 departments who want to promote content about H1N1... 
if boynton grabs umn.edu/h1n1 first... what are all those other 
departments to do?  boynton.umn.edu/h1n1, medical.umn.edu/h1n1, 
cla.umn.edu/h1n1 is a nice solution to the problem.

I've never heard of anybody being scared of a subdomain because of spam?

Sub-domains are a fundamental component of DNS, the Internet, and the 
World Wide Web.  They're no more out of vogue than the dot-com is.  To 
quote a good point you made recently, Andre: people find stuff by 
searching.  They might not even care what the URL is.  And people can 
find what they need just as easily if the URL is umn.edu/foo or 
foo.umn.edu.  Splitting up websites into separate subdomains of UMN.EDU 
makes sense from a network infrastructure and information management 
viewpoint, I believe.  We're bound to run into problems using third 
party tools if all of our websites run as subfolders of www.umn.edu. 
There's a lot of web technology that assumes different sites are on 
different domains.

The U has far, far too many websites for us all to be subfolders of 


Andre Leroux wrote:
> I'm **strongly** all for umn.edu/something
> otherwise known as subfolders instead of subdomains.
> Reasoning:
> 1. Eliminates the problem of setting up a redirect from 
> http://www.department.umn.edu to http://department.umn.edu
> 2. I believe search engines treat subdomains as separate sites - anyone 
> know?
> 3. A manual search of "h1n1 site:www.umn.edu" may not return results 
> from "h1n1 site:www.research.umn.edu"
> 4. In print/verbal promotion it is easier to remember/promote 
> "umn.edu/h1n1" then "www.boyton.umn.edu/h1n1"
> 5. Subfolders mimic a user's desktop organizational experience. 
> Everything is contained it it's respective compartments.
> 6. People are being trained not to trust and question sub domains 
> because of spam issues.
> 7. Subfolders create a stronger sense of unity and connection in the 
> university environment. All housed within "umn.edu"
> 8. Personal: I think sub-domains are passee and prohibit the user from 
> quickly eliminating part of the url and treating it as a bread crumb/ 
> university wide navigation tool.
> Andre
> Peter Wiringa wrote:
>> On 1/26/10 4:26 PM, Kristofer Layon wrote:
>>> I have some clients' sites on www1, but could happily move them. I can't
>>> think of an argument for keeping them there; I'm sure most clients would
>>> gladly go to a /name.umn.edu/ domain instead of their current
>>> /www1.umn.edu/name/.
>>> (though I'm sure, now that I said this, someone would surprise me…)
>> Actually, I'd be curious to hear what others have experienced in this 
>> area. We [very] rarely run into a situation with a central (TC or 
>> systemwide) initiative where we can't obtain a name we're hoping for, 
>> that really does seem to apply to our situation, because it's already 
>> in use by a unit for what may be a very narrow purpose.
>> It seems like it's in the best interests of some groups to identify 
>> with with their ancestors, i.e. the department that offers that basket 
>> weaving course might have more clout if their association with their 
>> college is clear, and their college might have more clout if the fact 
>> they're a part of the U is clear (I believe there's data to support 
>> the unit to the U as a whole portion, going back to the brand policy). 
>> This could be done on the site and also through the hostname.
>> Just an example: maps.umn.edu. The interactive side (and eventually 
>> the static pages) of the TC campus maps are under 
>> campusmaps.umn.edu/tc. We had to avoid www1 for technical 
>> considerations, but maps.umn.edu was already taken. Not trying to 
>> sound greedy here, and I imagine you (Kris) and some others have come 
>> across similar situations, but it seems to me like this is a clear 
>> example of something where a much broader audience could be served in 
>> the maps.umn.edu space. Be thankful for redirects, I suppose 
>> (umn.edu/maps does something useful).
>> Not that campusmaps.umn.edu is bad name.
>> We've been talking a lot about the architecture of the U lately, and I 
>> think it would be helpful for us to understand where all the other 
>> units and developers/ecomm folks are coming from. Five models come to 
>> mind when you drop down a level, under a college or VP or vice 
>> chancellor, for instance.
>>    umn.edu/unit/something
>>    umn.edu/something
>>    unit.umn.edu/something
>>    something.unit.umn.edu
>>    something.umn.edu
>> The something.umn.edu does make sense for functions of units that 
>> serve campuswide or systemwide purposes, regardless of where they are 
>> in the org chart (i.e. onestop.umn.edu, which serves a huge audience 
>> and has a cool name).
>> What makes sense to everyone? And why? Is the idea of different 
>> hostnames for everything driven more by the client or by the developer?

Zachary Johnson * Web Manager
Student Unions & Activities
(612) 624 - 7270