URL policy for web-based systems and services

What's related > Best practice for web pages: summary


The Head of Web Services, acting under the authority of the Library and Information Services Committee, may at any time make changes to this URL policy.


Operational but awaiting ratification by LISC.

Target audience

Web editors and their managers.


The LSE's presence on the web is representative of its diverse and federal composition. Myriad systems, services and resources are provided by LSE, its associates, and its affiliates via the web. Over the last decade, this has led to myriad URLs being established to address systems, services and resources without a policy to guide how they should be named and managed. This has adverse affects for users (eg whether a system, service or resource is indeed provided by LSE) and suppliers (eg having to create URLs without guidance as to how they should be named) and therefore undermines the LSE brand, creating inconsistencies in communications.

This policy clarifies how URLs are to be managed so as to standardise their creation and use for both users and suppliers.

Definition of terms

Resource - 'A source of information or expertise' (Merriam-Webster Online).

System - 'A group of devices or artificial objects or an organization forming a network especially for distributing something or serving a common purpose <a telephone system> <a heating system> <a highway system> <a data processing system>' (Merriam-Webster Online).

Service - 'A facility supplying some public demand' (Merriam-Webster Online). In this context, 'public' denotes any authorised 'users' distinct from suppliers of a service.

Facility - 'Something (as a hospital) that is built, installed, or established to serve a particular purpose' (Merriam-Webster Online).

LSE website - All systems, services, and resources accessible via the web under the domain www.lse.ac.uk.

URL - 'The address of a computer or a document on the internet that consists of a communications protocol followed by a colon and two slashes (as http://), the identifier of a computer (as www.m-w.com) and usually a path through a directory to a file - called also uniform resource locator, universal resource locator' (Merriam-Webster Online).

Short URL - A URL that is setup to alias the URL of a web-based system, services, or resource by summarising the path.

The policy

  1. By default, all web-based systems, services and resources composing the LSE website will be addressable under the primary domain for LSE, lse.ac.uk, using the prefix 'www' to denote the LSE website, ie via a path under this domain, eg http://www.lse.ac.uk/resources/calendar2004-2005/
  2. If appropriate, a primary domain other than that for LSE will be setup for web-based systems, services and resources to support branding, marketing, communication, usability and/ or accessibility objectives, eg http://www.urban-age.net/. This can apply whether or not the system, service or resource is considered part of the LSE website.
  3. If appropriate, a short URL will be set up under a primary domain (LSE or other) for web-based systems, services and resources to support branding, marketing, communication, usability and/ or accessibility objectives, eg http://www.lse.ac.uk/calendar
  4. Systems and services only will be addressable using an appropriately named sub-domain of the primary LSE domain, ie replacing the prefix 'www' in the primary LSE domain (www.lse.ac.uk), eg http://exchange.lse.ac.uk/. In this context, 'www' is the prefix used to denote the LSE website as a system and service.
  5. Prior to this policy, a number of sub-domains have been established which do not accord with this policy. For pragmatic purposes, these are henceforth assumed to be exceptions to the policy. Each is listed below to ensure that they are recorded and identified as permissible exceptions. Wherever feasible, the resources accessible via these domains will be brought into line with this policy. The exceptions are as follows:
    1. sticerd.lse.ac.uk
    2. cep.lse.ac.uk
    3. rlab.lse.ac.uk
    4. cee.lse.ac.uk
    5. darp.lse.ac.uk
    6. rlabdep.lse.ac.uk
    7. fmg.lse.ac.uk
    8. more...

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