Welcome to the Linking You Toolkit Beta
About The Project
Linking You was a project at the University of Lincoln funded by the JISC under the 2011 Infrastructure for Education and Research Programme. Its aim was to look at and make recommendations for improving the way that identifiers for .ac.uk domains are planned and managed in higher education institutions.
The Linking You Toolkit is a collection of the outcomes of this project, and is intended as a starting point for institutions looking to better understand and manage their use of identifiers on their .ac.uk website.
What does this Toolkit look at?
- Mapping the notion of resource identifiers to the physical world of space-time.
- A summary of our findings and recommendations for excellent identifier design.
- URI 101
- A crash course on what URIs are, how they hold the web together and how they relate to content.
- Institutional URIs
- How URIs on a .ac.uk website relate to specific parts of the institution's operations and structure.
- Recommendations for selecting and maintaining well structured domains and subdomains.
- Institutional URIs
- Our source data and findings on how institutions currently arrange their identifiers.
- Data Model
- Our recommended URI structure, with a look at how it fits into Linked Data.
Why is this important?
The web is now fundamental to the activity and idea of the university. This Toolkit provides a standard way of thinking about your institutional URI structure, making it easier for people (and their browsers) to both remember your web addresses and locate where they are in your web site. It also helps prepare your institution for the world of linked data by proposing a clear and concise model for your data, making smooth integration with other systems easier and faster. A good URI structure can be easily understood by both humans and machines.
This may seem like an obscure technical project to many people, but we think there will be a number of benefits, both internal and external, in having undertaken this work. We’ve situated this project within the wider context of the Learning Landscapes project at Lincoln and have tried to think of identifiers as expressing and sign-posting new forms of spatiality. Just as traditional space architects offer easy to understand blueprints so that people can imagine the space, Linking You has offered a blueprint for institutional identifers. We don't expect every institution to adopt the exact same syntax, but we do hope that it leads to a new shared vocabularly for institutional identifiers. The visual representations created during the project will be used at Lincoln to communicate proposed changes to the online research, teaching and learning environment. Furthermore, our work on the project will influence our provision of open data allowing for greater re-use and personalisation of information for students and staff. We hope the Toolkit provides similar benefits to you, too.
Although URIs are increasingly being obfuscated by developments in browser design, they are also increasingly being integrated into browser search functionality such that the benefits of providing clear, plain language URIs has never been greater. As well as providing subtle benefits to your website visitors (and your SEO), technical staff at your university should benefit from a consistent approach to URIs so that it is significantly easier for them to manage the relationships between resources, as well as making it simpler to produce documentation which refers to URIs that make sense. Alongside this, your University will be able to implement an efficient method of redirecting users to their intended destination when a resource has moved.
Institutions as a whole will benefit from thinking about a logical and human readable URI addressing system for online services. If implemented, they should experience:
- Better IT systems integration.
- Improved navigation of virtual spaces.
- Appropriate conventions for differing technology platforms i.e. mobile/desktop devices.
- Future proofing against non-sustainable URI management practices.
- Ability to ‘design with data’
- Improve discoverability of resources (and SEO)
We hope that you'll benefit from our project documentation, the comparative work we've done and our data modelling. Linking You was a small project that we hope will offer useful contributions to a wider conversation across the sector.