The domain name system (DNS) is an Internet-wide distributed database of names primarily associated with Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. It is also a tool for locating services since many services are known by their domain name. For example, the hostname "www" has come to be well known as the name of a system which provides web (HTTP) service, and the domain name "www.uiowa.edu" is thus known as the primary web server address for The University of Iowa.
- The IP address is a 32-bit number, commonly represented as four 8-bit numbers separated by dots, used to identify a host on the Internet. The IP address is used by the network to route messages from one host to another. An example IP address on our campus network is 188.8.131.52
- Domain Name System (DNS) is the method or scheme for associating names with an IP address and other data. The domain name system is not an authentication system, or an authorization system. The use of DNS or IP addressing as the basis for authentication or authorization is discouraged. The practice of basing authentication or authorization on IP ranges is also discouraged. (This is commonly referred to as IP filtering.)
- DNS is also not a "white pages" directory. It contains information about computers and in some cases the services they provide. It does not reliably provide information about people.
Although an implied policy regarding the assignment of domain names has existed at the University of Iowa, there has been no formally agreed upon and approved policy. A formal policy is now necessary because:
- Individual departments and units within the University need to offer and communicate new or unique services to the Internet.
- There are an increasing number of requests for domain names that do not meet current DNS conventions.
- There have been requests for ITS TNS to register domain names outside the uiowa.edu domain.
- Domain names exist at the University of Iowa that are inconsistent with current naming conventions.
- The principal domain name for the University of Iowa is "uiowa.edu". All services that are provided by members of the University of Iowa community as part of their official functions and as part of the mission of the institution will be registered within the uiowa.edu domain according to the Implementation Requirements attached to this policy.
- All services that are provided by either members or nonmembers of the University of Iowa community, but that are not part of their official functions as members of the community or as part of the mission of the institution, must be registered outside the uiowa.edu domain according to the Implementation Requirements listed in this policy.
- Services provided by University affiliates (e.g., UI Foundation) may be registered under the uiowa.edu domain, or may be registered outside of the uiowa.edu domain.
- Services provided by University auxiliary units (UI Bookstore, UI Press, etc.) must be registered under the uiowa.edu domain.
- Names outside of the uiowa.edu domain may be allowed if associated with the support of University-related organizations. For example, the University could provide DNS and web service for a pro bono basis scholarly journal, edited by a University faculty member.
- All services listed outside the uiowa.edu domain must obtain their own IP address space. The network administrator must contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss associated domain name service and IP routing issues before requesting the domain name or configuring services related to the domain name or IP address space, unless otherwise arranged (such as per(5) above).
- Existing hostnames or subdomains registered under uiowa.edu that do not conform to this policy will be reviewed to bring them into conformity with this policy, including the conditions for exceptions described below, or to grant them "grandfathered" status, if that is most appropriate.
- All exceptions that are granted to the normal subdomain naming within the uiowa.edu domain will be assigned an alias to the domain that would otherwise normally apply to the request, if such a domain exists. This will allow users to use network tools to determine the unit to which a particular service is affiliated even though the affiliated unit does not appear in the exception name.
- Responsibility for implementing this policy will rest with the Telecommunication and Network Services (TNS) unit of Information Technology Services (ITS). To contact the TNS unit about domain name administration issues, send an electronic mail message to email@example.com.
- Requests which are denied by the TNS unit may be appealed to the Campus CIO (Chief Information Officer).
- If the justification for a non-standard domain name changes, the assignment of the name will be reviewed. For example, if grant funding ends and a center is no longer officially recognized, the domain name assignment will be reviewed.
- If the domain name does not respond to network inquiry for two months, the assignment of the name may be terminated. Notice to the name owner will be given first, if possible.
DNS Standards Within the uiowa.edu Domain
The format of DNS service entries is "hostname.department.uiowa.edu", where:
- The naming structure is intended to follow the organizational affiliation.
- Department subdomains in the uiowa.edu domain must be the names of schools, colleges, or organizational units that are officially recognized by the University of Iowa. The subdomain name is determined by ITS and the department or college. For example, nursing.uiowa.edu.
- The unit responsible for the computer may select the hostname component of the domain name.
- The hostname component of the domain name may reflect generally accepted practices, used by the Internet-at-large and provided by sites internationally, including www and ftp. For example, the "www" in www.site.uiowa.edu
- The hostname component of the domain name may reflect the name of the service program or may follow a naming scheme within the department. For example, the "gateway" in gateway.lib.uiowa.edu.
- Length limit for hostname and department subdomain names is 63 characters each.
- Server and computer hostnames should not be trademarked or copyrighted terms.
- Server and computer hostnames must not be distasteful, obscene, or used to misrepresent their purpose.
- Exceptions for hostnames within the uiowa.edu domain (e.g., wsui.uiowa.edu) may be allowed only if all of the following conditions are met:
- The proposed name is for a consortium of many different organizations either within or outside the University.
- The proposed name is the name of a service or service unit, center, or institute and not the name of a department or other organizational unit.
- The proposed name is for a University-wide service that is not easily identified with a single department or unit, or it is for a service that is being offered primarily to people or groups that are outside the University and who are not likely to be familiar with the details of the University’s internal organizational structure.
- The proposed name is not now, and is not likely to become, ambiguous if it is used as a hostname without other department or unit qualification.
- The proposed name is not likely to change.
- The placement of the proposed name as a hostname within uiowa.edu has the explicit approval of the unit administrator of the school, college, institute, or unit with which the name would otherwise be associated.
DNS Requirements - Outside the uiowa.edu Domain
Domain names outside uiowa.edu may be allowed and may be required if all the following conditions are met. The proposed name should have either primary or secondary name service provided by uiowa.edu hosts.
The proposed name will be used by many people from many different organizations outside the University.
The proposed name is not likely to be confused with the name of a University of Iowa department or unit.
The proposed name signifies an organization or venture, commercial or noncommercial, that is not explicitly part of the University.
The proposed name is for a project with external funding.
The placement of the proposed name outside the uiowa.edu has the explicit approval of the university central administration or dean, director, or departmental executive officer of the college, center, institute, or equivalent unit to which the name would otherwise be associated.
Related Policies, References and Attachments:
This collection of University of Iowa Information Technology policies and procedures contain acceptable use, security, networking, administrative, and academic policies that have been developed to supplement and clarify University of Iowa policy.
They are incorporated into the University of Operations Manual http://opsmanual.uiowa.edu by reference, per the Policy on Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources (opsmanual.uiowa.edu/community-policies/acceptable-use-information-technology-resources)
- University of Iowa Policy on Web Publishing (under development)
- Attachment 1: Implementation Requirements