Web Publishing Guidelines

Introduction

This page is provided as a summary of the rules and conditions you should be aware of when publishing content on the University web servers.

The list is not exhaustive, and if there is any doubt you should consult the relevant official document - for which the link is provided.

This information is not intended to restrict your use of the facilities, rather to ensure that the terms of use are clear and easy to understand.

Applicable Documents

Content

Related: Rules of Use - G7: Unacceptable use

The content of your site is your sole responsibility. The University reserves the right to remove material which breaches copyright, is offensive, obscene, defamatory, inaccurate, or otherwise brings the University into disrepute. The University will take immediate action if problems of this nature are brought to its attention.

Advertising / Financial Gain

Related: Conditions of Use - Advertising
Related: Computer User's Agreement - A4: Financial Gain

You may not use your web space for financial gain. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • advertising items for profit
  • displaying advertisements for external companies or products

Where you have received sponsorship for an academic related activity (for example your dissertation project, your society, or your expedition) it is acceptable to provide acknowledgement of this ... provided that it does not cross the line between reasonable acknowledgement and outright advertising.

Use of the University Corporate Visual Identity

Related: Conditions of Use - Corporate Visual Identity
Related: Policy and Regulations Governing the Use of the University Logo

You may not use any element of the University CVI without prior permission from the Publications Team. This includes use of the University Lion and Shield.

Just because your site is published on a University server does not mean that you have any implied permission to reproduce these graphics, or any other elements from the central University design.

Forums, Galleries and Other Software

Faculty / School publishing

Related: Rules of Use - G5: Other Software

Pre-fabricated web applications are a popular way of rapidly building interactive websites. However, they are also highly susceptible to security exploitation due to their mass adoption.

Prior to installing any such software, you must obtain written approval by contacting it.servicedesk@ncl.ac.uk with details of the application you wish to install, and your reasons for doing so.

When submitting your request, you must be able demonstrate commitment of appropriate staff resource for the full lifetime of your website to ensure that the installation is properly maintained and managed. There must be adequate ongoing support and responsibility in order for us to be satisfied that the integrity of the server will be maintained.

Your request will be considered on the following criteria:

  1. Has the product a good security track record: are problems announced in a timely manner; patches released as soon as possible and with clear version information?
  2. Is the proposed allocation of staff resource likely to be adequate to keep the software up-to-date with regards security updates over the full lifecycle of the website?
Personal publishing

Related: Computer User's Agreement
Related: Rules of Use - G5: Other Software

We allow scripting and database access which opens up a range of possibilities for your website. One of these is the installation of open source software such as bulletin boards and photo galleries. By its nature, such software is always vulnerable to external hackers who will seek to exploit known weaknesses to compromise both your site and the machine on which it is hosted.

For this reason, we strongly urge users not to install such software onto their University web space. Where issues arise with such installations, we reserve the right to take action as described below in order to preserve the integrity and quality of the service.

There are a number of (generally) free externally provided services which provide this functionality without the associated risks:

Forums: Yahoo Groups

Photo Galleries: Flickr

Configuration Changes

We occasionally receive enquiries regarding the configuration of the server. We maintain the most functional configuration whilst maintaining a secure environment for web publishing. Any settings which are disabled will have been disabled for a good reason.

We are unlikely to accept requests for changes to the configuration of any part of our servers unless there is a good academic reason for us doing so, and provided such a change will not compromise the integrity of the service.

File Permissions

A commonly misunderstood area of web publishing is the setting of file permissions.

Your files must have a certain set of permissions to allow the web server to publish them for the outside world to see.

You should be aware, however, that setting excessive permissions on your files and folders can cause critical security holes which could be easily exploited by someone with malicious intent.

Please follow the instructions on setting permissions to ensure that you have set up your site correctly and securely.

Use for Production Services (i.e. Teaching)

We provide the personal web publishing service for the benefit of all members of the University. This service runs alongside the web publishing facilities for official schools, departments and research groups. For obvious reasons, the service for official sites takes precedence over that for personal sites and we cannot guarantee that the level of availability will be as high. We will always aim to have both services available.

If you require some of your content for 'essential' use, then it should be published as part of the relevant official website.

Withdrawal of Services

Related: Computer User's Agreement

The information provided here is intended to help us provide a reliable, useful service for all members of the University. If we become aware of users violating these guidelines, we reserve the right to take steps against those responsible, this may include (but is not limited to):

  • Request for removal of offending items
  • Indefinite suspension of web site
  • Suspension of web publishing account

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