[Micronet] IT Policy shell game and the importance of redirects

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[Micronet] IT Policy shell game and the importance of redirects

Robert McNicholas
In my department, we try to keep our users informed on campus policies by linking to relevant documents from our site.  Unfortunately, the IT Policy website seems to be some sort of moving target.

We have links to http://itpolicy.berkeley.edu/usepolicy.html which now give a "server not found" error.

We have links to http://cio.berkeley.edu/policy/ which give a "URL not found" error.

Doesn't anyone set up redirects anymore?  These are critical documents and it is pretty ridiculous that these URLs keep changing with every staff reorganization.

With a little Googling I have found some documents on http://security.berkeley.edu/policy and http://technology.berkeley.edu/policy (thankfully, the latter does redirect to the correct place on security.b.e), but I shouldn't have to keep searching for them!

If the person responsible for the new location is listening...please, please, please preserve your URLs if/when you reorganize your website.

Ideally the old URLs would be recreated and start redirecting the proper locations as well.  I suspect we are not the only department on campus that is still linking to these now non-existent URLs.

Thanks,

-Rob
Dept. of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences


 
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Re: [Micronet] IT Policy shell game and the importance of redirects

Tom Holub
On 8/10/12 10:51 AM, Robert McNicholas wrote:

> In my department, we try to keep our users informed on campus policies
> by linking to relevant documents from our site.  Unfortunately, the IT
> Policy website seems to be some sort of moving target.
>
> We have links to *http://itpolicy.berkeley.edu/usepolicy.html *which now
> give a "server not found" error.
>
> We have links to *http://cio.berkeley.edu/policy/* which give a "URL not
> found" error.
>
> Doesn't anyone set up redirects anymore?  These are critical documents
> and it is pretty ridiculous that these URLs keep changing with every
> staff reorganization.

This is a pet peeve of mine.  Jakob Nielsen had a good article on it way
back in 1998: <http://www.useit.com/alertbox/980614.html>, and the W3C
has a recommendation on it as well:
<http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/URI.html>.

The point is that sites which are linking to you are doing you a favor;
they're sending you users.  And when you break their links, you reduce
the credibility of *their* site, not just your own.

The two things you can do are:

* Choose URLs which are simple and symbolically relevant to the content.
 Don't use URLs which expose your current web site implementation (such
as "usepolicy.html" above; anything with a file extension is a mistake).

* Provide redirects indefinitely.  Really, kids, it's not that hard.  A
content map is a part of any reasonable web project; it's easy to
generate a list of redirects from a content map.

--
Tom Holub ([hidden email], 510-642-9069)
Director of Computing, College of Letters & Science
101.D Durant Hall
<http://LSCR.berkeley.edu/>

 
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Re: [Micronet] IT Policy shell game and the importance of redirects

Graham Patterson
  We have a large, structured redirects file. It's essential, since
/camps may have to point to summer or winter or a holding place just to
cite a simple example. We also track redirect requests and have a
specific set of people to make the changes. Sometimes we have been asked
for redirect combinations that just won't work 8-)

We mostly do redirects at the Apache level, though quick ones are done
in Drupal, if appropriate, and then propagated to Apache. I wonder if
the move to content management systems on hosted environments is
isolating the server management into system and application zones more
than before?

It is a lot of work to review web links and documents, even with link
checkers. I would love to see a single root for campus data, since even
a search does not always find what you want, but I don't know how it
could be managed - it would have to be near-perfect to be really useful.

Graham

On 8/10/12 11:10 AM, Tom Holub wrote:

> On 8/10/12 10:51 AM, Robert McNicholas wrote:
>> In my department, we try to keep our users informed on campus policies
>> by linking to relevant documents from our site.  Unfortunately, the IT
>> Policy website seems to be some sort of moving target.
>>
>> We have links to *http://itpolicy.berkeley.edu/usepolicy.html *which now
>> give a "server not found" error.
>>
>> We have links to *http://cio.berkeley.edu/policy/* which give a "URL not
>> found" error.
>>
>> Doesn't anyone set up redirects anymore?  These are critical documents
>> and it is pretty ridiculous that these URLs keep changing with every
>> staff reorganization.
>
> This is a pet peeve of mine.  Jakob Nielsen had a good article on it way
> back in 1998: <http://www.useit.com/alertbox/980614.html>, and the W3C
> has a recommendation on it as well:
> <http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/URI.html>.
>
> The point is that sites which are linking to you are doing you a favor;
> they're sending you users.  And when you break their links, you reduce
> the credibility of *their* site, not just your own.
>
> The two things you can do are:
>
> * Choose URLs which are simple and symbolically relevant to the content.
>   Don't use URLs which expose your current web site implementation (such
> as "usepolicy.html" above; anything with a file extension is a mistake).
>
> * Provide redirects indefinitely.  Really, kids, it's not that hard.  A
> content map is a part of any reasonable web project; it's easy to
> generate a list of redirects from a content map.
>

--
Graham Patterson, Systems Administrator
Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley   510-643-2222
"...past the iguana, the tyrannosaurus, the mastodon, the mathematical
puzzles, and the meteorite..." - directions to my office.

 
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Re: [Micronet] IT Policy shell game and the importance of redirects

Lisa Ho
In reply to this post by Robert McNicholas
Robert, Tom, Graham, All,

We're working on redirects for those old sites that predated us, and we'll keep your input in mind if we plan any site changes.

Thanks for the feedback. 

Lisa
-- 
Lisa Ho
IT Policy Manager
510.642.2422


From: Robert McNicholas <[hidden email]>
Date: Friday, August 10, 2012 10:51 AM
To: <[hidden email]>
Subject: [Micronet] IT Policy shell game and the importance of redirects

In my department, we try to keep our users informed on campus policies by linking to relevant documents from our site.  Unfortunately, the IT Policy website seems to be some sort of moving target.

We have links to http://itpolicy.berkeley.edu/usepolicy.html which now give a "server not found" error.

We have links to http://cio.berkeley.edu/policy/ which give a "URL not found" error.

Doesn't anyone set up redirects anymore?  These are critical documents and it is pretty ridiculous that these URLs keep changing with every staff reorganization.

With a little Googling I have found some documents on http://security.berkeley.edu/policy and http://technology.berkeley.edu/policy (thankfully, the latter does redirect to the correct place on security.b.e), but I shouldn't have to keep searching for them!

If the person responsible for the new location is listening...please, please, please preserve your URLs if/when you reorganize your website.

Ideally the old URLs would be recreated and start redirecting the proper locations as well.  I suspect we are not the only department on campus that is still linking to these now non-existent URLs.

Thanks,

-Rob
Dept. of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences

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