Retired-Policy on the use of address space

I. Title

A. Name: Policy on the use of address space

B. Number: 20081204-upenn-namespace

C. Author: M. Muth, (ISC)

D. Status: [ ] proposed [ ] under review [ ] approved [ ] rejected [ X ] obsolete [X] retired

E. Date proposed: [2007-9-19]

F. Date revised: N/A

G. Date approved: [2008-12-04]

H. Effective date: [2008-12-16]

Information Systems and Computing has custodial responsibility and accountability for the University of Pennsylvania's forwarding service which is integral to the operation of the Penn-wide address space for services such as email.

This policy specifies the naming requirements for the creation/changing of new/existing names within the email address space.


The purpose of this policy is to provide naming requirements and limitations that will provide a scalable solution to requests for email addresses. This policy will enable the schools, departments, and university-wide computing services to have global and local name identity. While it may seem reasonable to grant the creation of any email address request, a structured approach to naming conventions will provide a less ambiguous solution in reducing confusion and/or contention for Penn-wide email addresses. Additionally, the turn around time for address requests will be expedited due to this process of standardization.

If addresses are not handled in compliance with this policy, email addresses will be ambiguous, potentially resulting in inconvenience to end users, misdirected email, and contention for ownership of email addresses.

Domain name

A unique name in the hierarchical Domain Name System (DNS). A domain name may be used as the owner of DNS resource records. Depending on its resource records, a domain name may serve a variety of purposes such as a hostname, an alias, or a subhierarchy used to group together other related domain names.


The set of all unique usernames that could be assigned on PennNames-compliant systems or services.


A PennKey is an individual's user name in the PennKey Authentication System. A PennKey is based on a PennName, a unique identifier that is the basis for user names in an increasing number of University systems. A PennKey must be registered and associated with a password before the holder can access any services that use PennKey authentication.


A PennName is a username which is unique to each individual at Penn. It may be used on multiple systems at Penn for that individual's accounts. Association between an individual and the individual's PennName is maintained using the PennNames service (see References, below). A PennName may also be a reserved name which is not explicitly tied to a particular individual. These are often used for mailing lists, aliases, or accounts not tied to a particular person ("role" accounts).


PennNames is a service to support migration to and maintenance of a common University namespace. It consists of a database, a set of system administrator tools, and basic policies.

PennName sponsor

This is a school, center or service that uses PennNames to register its use of a PennName for a service or system. A particular PennName may have multiple sponsors if an individual has (or had) access to multiple systems or services at Penn (see References, below), or if multiple systems have role accounts or mailing lists by the same name.

Third-level domain name

A domain name consisting of three labels, such as or

This policy covers naming that falls within the email address space.

  1. may be assigned only for individuals' associated PennKeys.
  2. For non-individuals, may be assigned if it is descriptive, clear, and unambiguous across Penn (e.g.,, unless it is better described in a third-level domain (e.g. Requesters are urged strongly to consider that the namespace is finite, and to use addresses within a third-level domain wherever possible (see Recommendations, below).
  3. For any other cases, may be configured only to auto-respond with a message indicating possible ways to disambiguate the destination address. For example, would result in a response indicating addresses for contacting the current sponsors of that reserved name in PennNames.
  4. If it falls within the PennNames namespace, the name must be registered in PennNames.
  1. The selection of any address should be done carefully in order to offer the best possible description of the recipient. Abbreviated names should be as close to the description of the department, service, or organization as possible, in order to avoid ambiguity.
  2. In order to avoid ambiguity and reduce namespace contention, use of is strongly preferred over for non-individuals (e.g. rather than

A. Verification: Verification of this policy will occur when ISC support staff process creation or change requests or during the course of troubleshooting.

B. Notification: Notification of compliance issues will be made to PennNames sponsors, domain name holders, associated LSPs and computing directors.

C. Remedy: New address creation or change requests must fall within policy. Non-compliant addresses created prior to this policy should be resolved as soon as possible.

D. Financial Implications: The requesters of addresses bear the costs associated with address creation and modification requests. For name assignment under Statement of Policy #1, the cost is included as part of the fee for the associated service. For all other cases, there will be a charge for one hour of consulting work at published Labor Rates (see References, below).

E. Responsibility: Responsibility for complying with this policy lies with PennName sponsors, domain name holders, and ISC.

F. Time Frame: New requests that fall within policy compliance can be granted within 3 business days, but typically 1 business day for addresses assigned under Statement of Policy #1. Expedited requests can be handled within 1 business day, at 1.5 times the standard Labor Rate (see Financial Implications and References). Requests that involve appeals to this policy can take substantially longer.

G. Enforcement: Failure to comply with policy and with the appeals process will lead to denial of an address creation or change request.

H. Appeals: Appeals to this policy should be initially reviewed within the school or department, then sent to ISC Networking, where they will be reviewed internally. Disputes that cannot be settled will be forwarded to the Network Policy Committee for a recommended resolution. Requests should be in writing, and accompanied with an approval of a department head, or designee. The request should contain the details regarding how the domain is to be used as part of the requester's mission. The review process will take approximately 5 business days, depending on the type of request. The requestor will be notified in writing of the recommended resolution and the reasons. If either of the parties reject the NPC's recommendation, they should take the issue up with the heads of their respective schools or centers. The Vice President of Information Systems & Computing should be consulted if further resolution is required.

Policy Status
Status Date Approval
Retired 01/01/2022 ISC CIO - Tom Murphy