Data Model

This is the HEI URI model we are recommending to the sector as a result of our analysis of existing institutional website structures and also our own informed opinions on URI structure.

As developers we are used to the concept of objects and key/values and this is reflected in the model's structure. We've gone for namespaced type/identifier object nodes, such as /event/openday/{identifier}, /about/campuses/{identifier}, and /academic_departments/{identifier}/courses.

The only contention we had on the model was whether or not to have courses as a top level object, or have them as a sub-object of student type (undergraduate/postgraduate/foundation). In the end we went with sub-objects as this seems to be a standard that other HEIs have agreed on because postgraduate courses are structured and administered in a different way to undergraduate courses. Despite this, individual courses should still always be forwarded to the /course/{id} resource, as a course in itself has no undergraduate or postgraduate status outside of the institution's own administrative structure.

institution.ac.uk

Easy conformance

There are a couple of easy steps that institutions can take to conform to the model above today.

  1. Add Apache/ISS/Nginx redirects to existing pages and advertise these redirects instead:
    e.g. Set up a redirect from /undergraduate/courses to /study/undergraduate/courses
  2. Add a CNAME record for www. to the DNS for the domain to add support for prefix less addresses:
    e.g. CNAME www.example.ac.uk.example.ac.uk.

    Then update Apache/IIS/Nginx to add an alias for the domain:
    e.g. (Apache):

    ServerName institution.ac.uk
    ServerAlias www.institution.ac.uk

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