CAHNR URLs, aliases and short URLs

Program, office and department sites

All websites for programs, offices and departments are given up to three addresses based on the official full name or official abbreviation. For example, the Department of Animal Science’s addresses are

  • AnimalScience.uconn.edu
  • ANSC.uconn.edu
  • cahnr.uconn.edu/ANSC


Pages for events and sub-units

Websites for events or for sub-units (labs, for example) of an administrative unit are appended to the program, office or department address or the college address. For example,

  • ipm.uconn.edu/InvasivePlantConference
  • cag.uconn.edu/cornucopia
  • cahnr.uconn.edu/MorillAct

 

Aliases

Generally speaking, an alias is a friendly name for your site, like MySite.uconn.edu or cag.uconn.edu/MySite. Aliases are designed to create short, memorable and predictable ways to access a website. Some site owners want to use broad terms or buzzwords as URLS. In assigning URLS in CAHNR, words that do not correspond directly to the names of programs, offices or departments (for example, stem.uconn.edu) are treated as shared property. If these terms are put into use as aliases, they are used for portal pages for the topic, linking to all appropriate pages in the CAHNR domain.

 

Exceptions

Sometimes, such as when there is a departmental name change, we may need to use pre-existing aliases (and old urls as aliases) for a period of time. These special cases will have a lifespan of one year (or longer if absolutely necessary). This way, links from other sites to yours won’t break and you will have a year to execute a transition plan sites to have links to your site updated (we can help you with this).

 

Short URLs for short-term or promotional materials

In some cases, having a short or easy to memorize URL for specific pages makes sense, but doesn't fit the guidelines above. For this, we recommend using UConn’s URL shortener (s.uconn.edu) to obtain a URL of the form s.uconn.edu/whateverYouWant that points to any URL you like.

A short URL is not an alias. An alias is a nickname you can use in all cases. For example, nre.uconn.edu/undergrad/forms is the same file as cag.uconn.edu/undergrad/forms.

The URL shortener does not provide an alias. Instead it provides a redirect. A redirect is actually the URL of a new page with a special type of link that immediately upon being loaded takes the user to another page. For example, if you use the shortener to make s.uconn.edu/ansc point to animalscience.uconn.edu, then as soon as somebody types in s.uconn.edu/ansc, the new page loads and tells the browswer to open animalscience.uconn.edu.

 

Frequently asked questions: Aliases

Why does having lots of aliases hurt?

Each alias is a different name for the same thing. For site owners, it gets confusing. On the technical side, it becomes difficult to implement, monitor and maintain certain features when everything can have multiple names.

For users, lots of aliases can be confusing because as they click through a site, they switch between those aliases. At worst they may see this as unprofessional or even as a security concern, thinking they are being redirected to various servers.

 

Why can’t I have whatever alias I want?

For users, having a convention for site names means urls are more predictable and makes it more likely that people can easily find our sites. For administrators, it is difficult to decide who is entitled to the use of a broad, high-level aliases. For example, in a meeting today someone may make a great case for owning stem.uconn.edu, but in a month someone else might have an even better claim on this vague address. For these broad terms, first come, first served isn’t in the overall best interest of our visitors to our sites or our College.

 

If I can only have one alias, can’t I just switch to this one?

Your alias is your brand. Over time a lot is invested in that brand and it gains value. Dropping an alias or changing it throws out that whole investment. Changing your brand means changes will need to be made in print materials, email signatures, promotional items, links from UConn services, links from external websites, earned reputation with Google’s search algorithms, user bookmarks, user memorization and user recognition.

Changing URLs should be a last resort.

 

Why not just add a new alias and keep old ones?

As long as your old alias still works, some users, UConn employees and other sites will likely keep linking to the old alias. Looking at this from the branding perspective again, it is much better for your program if everywhere your brand appears it is the same.

The work of server administrators is made very difficult by the proliferation of names. It is very difficult to find particular files on a College server holding twenty years’ worth of files.