Part 8 - Information Resources Management
Chapter 16 - Internet Domain And Web Hosting
- Purpose. This chapter establishes the policy and procedures for Web hosting and the development of Indian Health Service (IHS) Web sites to ensure compliance with required standards. It also establishes the responsibilities for approving, acquiring, and registering Internet domain names that represent the IHS.
- Background. The Federal Government must ensure that official public Web sites are clearly branded and identified as such because of the proliferation of Web sites that closely resemble Government Web sites or appear to provide official Government information. These unofficial Web sites can mislead the public into believing and acting on erroneous information. Visitors looking for official Government information must be confident they are getting Government information. Accordingly, the IHS wants to ensure that the public is aware of its presence and can be confident in the reliability of information identified as originating from the IHS. Using domain names that are exclusive to the Government is one way to communicate to citizens that Federal public Web sites are legitimate. Use of the .gov domain assures the public that Web sites using this domain are official Government Web sites.
The Interagency Committee on Government Information made recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regarding domain names as required by the E-Government Act of 2002, Public Law (P.L.) 107-347, 44 United States Code (U.S.C) Chapter 36. As a result, the OMB issued OMB Memorandum M-05-04, “Policies for Federal Agency Public Web Sites,” on December 17, 2004, requiring the use of approved government domain names (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/memoranda/fy2005/m05-04.pdf). Specifically, Memorandum M-05-04 requires Federal Agencies to only use (.gov), (.mil), or (Fed.us) domains unless the Agency head explicitly determines another domain is necessary for the proper performance. This requirement recognizes proper performance includes an obligation for clear and unambiguous public notification of the Agency’s involvement in or sponsorship of its information dissemination products, including public Web sites. It also recognizes in certain limited circumstances other domains may be necessary for the proper performance of an Agency function.
- Scope. This chapter applies to all IHS organizational components, including, but not limited to, Headquarters, Area Offices, and Service Units conducting business for and on behalf of the IHS through contractual relationships when using IHS information technology resources.
- Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), “Policy for Internet Domain Names,” WEB-2005-01, June 13, 2005
- E-Government Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-347), 44 U.S.C. Chapter 36
- IHS Web Programming Standards and Guidelines
- Office of Management and Budget Memorandum M-05-04, "Policies for Federal Agency Public Web Sites," December 17, 2004
- Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 794d), as amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-220), August 7, 1998
- CIO Chief Information Officer
- DNS Domain Name System
- GSA General Services Administration
- HHS Department of Health and Human Services
- IHS Indian Health Service
- IT Information Technology
- OIT Office of Information Technology
- OMB Office of Management and Budget
- URL Uniform Resource Locator
- Accessibility. Accessibility is a general term used to describe the degree to which a product (e.g., device, service, environment) is accessible by as many people as possible. Accessibility can be viewed as the “ability to access” the functionality, and possible benefit, of some system or entity. Accessibility is often used to focus on people with disabilities and their right of access to entities, often through the use of assistive technology. Several definitions of accessibility refer directly to access-based individual rights laws and regulations. Products or services designed to meet these regulations are often termed “Easy Access” or “Accessible.”
- Linking Policy. A policy stating what determines who or what IHS.gov links to, what it means when we link to a site, and information on why we don’t link to certain sites.
- Domain Names. On the Web, the domain name is the part of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that tells a domain name server using the Domain Name System (DNS) how to process a request for a Web page. The domain name is mapped to an Internet Protocol address (which represents a physical point on the Internet). To more clearly explain domain names the following example is offered:
.gov = Top-level, or first-level domain name
.hhs.gov = Second-level domain name
topic.hhs.gov = Third-level domain name
topic.opdiv.hhs.gov = Fourth-level domain name
/advisory/boards.htm = subdirectory and file (web page) not part of the domain name
- IHS-Owned Domain Names. Domain names registered under the IHS are considered owned by the IHS, including those registered by contractors and paid for with IHS funds.
- IHS-Sponsored Domain Names. Domain names that are hosted, maintained, or subsidized by the IHS are considered sponsored or operated on behalf of the IHS.
- Web site. A Web site is a collection of Web files on a particular subject that includes a beginning file called a home page.
- Policy. It is IHS policy that:
- Web Site Servers. The Content Manager of any IHS organizational Web site not housed on Office of Information Technology (OIT) Web servers must transfer their site to the OIT server and must submit a Web Site Request Form requesting the assistance of the HHS Web Management Team to do so. (The form is located at: http://www.ihs.gov/GeneralWeb/HelpCenter/DevComm/index.cfm.)
- Web Hosting. All Web sites pertaining to IHS functions, facilities, Areas, groups, programs, etc., will:
- be developed, housed, and supported on the OIT Web servers;
- be hosted from a single location to create an environment that gives said authority figures access to and the ability to pull sites from the live Web server that are incompliant; and
- abide by Federal, HHS, and IHS Web site standards.
- Domain Names. The IHS shall follow the standard Internet naming convention for Federal Agencies using .gov. The official domain name for the IHS is IHS.GOV.
- The use of .com, .org, .edu, .net, .biz, .tv, or other domains is prohibited.
- All IHS Web sites must comply with applicable Federal, HHS, and IHS Web security and accessibility laws, regulations, and policies.
- No personal surnames shall be used in domain names.
- All .gov domain name registration fees charged by the General Services Administration (GSA) will be paid by the office of the HHS Chief Information Officer (CIO). The HHS CIO may request that an Operating Division pays for their respective domain name fees.
- The IHS Director, Public Affairs Officer, and CIO have the authority to order the immediate shutdown of any IHS Web site using a domain name not in compliance with this policy or order the retirement of any approved domain name and any IHS-Owned domain name that has previously been granted a waiver when it is in the best interest of the IHS to do so.
- The Program or Project Managers requesting domain names shall be Federal employees responsible for programs or projects that use Web sites to provide information to the public constituents.
- Contractors and other non-Government employees may not have authoritative DNS rights to any HHS- or IHS-Owned domain name.
- Chief Information Officer. The CIO is responsible for authorizing IHS domain names. The Deputy CIO may be designated by the CIO to authorize IHS domain names (by memorandum), after the Director, GSA, is notified and approves. The CIO is also responsible for:
- submitting domain name waiver requests in writing to the HHS Web Management Team electronically via the HHS Web Request System (http://www.hhs.gov/web/requests/);
- submitting reports all IHS-Owned and sponsored first-level and second-level domain names to the HHS Web Management Team when requested;
- designating the IHS Web Manager as the Administrative Contact for IHS- or HHS-owned or sponsored domain names;
- requiring the immediate shutdown of any IHS Web site using a domain name not in compliance with this policy; and
- notifying the HHS Web Management Team of any domain shutdowns, retirements, or decommissioning at the time action is taken.
- Chief Information Officer and Public Affairs Officer. The CIO is jointly responsible with the IHS Public Affairs Officer for:
- requiring retirement or decommissioning of any IHS-owned domain name when it is in the best interest of the IHS to do so;
- written approval of all IHS requests for domain name policy waivers;
- ensuring that domain name requests conform to the HHS guidelines specified in “Policy for Internet Domain Names,” WEB-2005-01, dated June 13, 2005; and
- ensuring that newly submitted domain names reflect favorably on the Department and the IHS.
- Public Affairs Officer. The Public Affairs Officer is responsible for:
- written approval of all IHS domain name policy waiver requests, ensuring that the waiver request conforms to the “Policy for Internet Domain Names,” WEB-2005-01, dated June 13, 2005;
- ensuring that newly submitted domain name requests reflect favorably on the Department and the IHS; and
- requiring the retirement or decommissioning of any IHS-owned domain name when it is in the best interest of the Department and the IHS to do so.
- IHS Web Manager. The Web Manager is responsible for receiving, tracking, reviewing, and approving requests for Internet domain name assignment and the administration of all IHS-owned domain names. The Web Manager will assist with all site moves to ensure applicable policies are met.
- Site Managers. Site managers of Web sites not currently housed on the IHS OIT Web servers will contact and work with the IHS Web Manager to transfer their site(s) to the OIT Web servers.
- Program or Project Managers. All Program or Project Managers must keep the IHS Web Manager and the CIO:
- informed of domain naming issues and
- informed of project contact names, ensuring that contractors and others do not use non-(.gov) domains for any sponsored Web site without a waiver from the Secretary, HHS.
- Administrative Contacts for HHS Non-Government Domain Names. The administrative contacts for all (.gov) and other HHS domain names shall be Federal employees. All administrative contacts shall report non-(.gov) domain name registration information to the IHS Web Manager and CIO.
- Domain Name Approvals Required
- HHS.GOV. The domain name, "hhs.gov" is registered with the GSA for the exclusive use of the HHS. Any subsequent levels of domain names using hhs.gov require HHS approval.
- IHS.GOV. The domain name, "IHS.gov" is registered with the GSA for the exclusive use of the IHS.
- Within the ihs.gov domain, approval of subsequent level domain names (for example, topic.ihs.gov) rests with the IHS Web Manager.
- Waiver requests may be granted for a topical site domain name needed to represent an IHS initiative, program, or significant body of information that crosses IHS organizations/programs; for example, fatherhood.ihs.gov.
- In addition, the IHS Web Manager grants approvals when it is necessary for multiple programs to tap into one application.
- IHS.GOV Subdirectories. Web sites will typically be established as a subdirectory of ihs.gov, for example, www.ihs.gov/PublicInfo/PublicAffairs/Director/index.asp.
- Decommissioned Web Site Domain Names.
- Domain names of decommissioned IHS.gov Web sites are retained by the IHS until the beginning of the next fiscal year following the decommissioning or longer if the IHS Web Manager recommends reserving the domain name for future use.
- Decommissioned Web sites with active domain names must provide an accessible redirect message that explains that the Web site is no longer available and if appropriate, directs the user to the most relevant existing content.
- Government Web sites in non-governmental domains, (such as alzheimers.org) when replaced by a .gov domain or decommissioned, shall be retained until such time as any potential inappropriate use by other parties will not reflect unfavorably on the Department or the IHS.
- Domain Name Registrar and Reporting Requirements. The IHS Web Manager is the Agency’s designated Administrative Contact for the ihs.gov domain name with the GSA.gov Registrar. The IHS Web Manager will:
- report all IHS-sponsored domain names to the HHS Web Manager upon request (generally, not expected to be requested more than once per year);
- maintain a master list of all IHS-sponsored domain names and domain name waiver requests; and
- register designated, business-specific Federal employee(s) who have been listed as the technical and/or billing contacts.
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