Planning Kit for a Quality Site for Small and Medium Sized Museums

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Registering the Domain

There are various options for registering the domain.

First of all, find out whether your site must be hosted on a principle domain (for instance the appropriate soprintendenza). In this case, registration will be via the relevant CED.

Otherwise the site can be registered with a first level domain following the instructions given by the provider chosen.

Apart from the domain name (for example .it in Italy) you can register using various extensions that lead back to the main domain. Domain extensions were originally meant to identify the goals of the domain owner:

  • commercial (.com),
  • information (.info),
  • charity/non-profit making (.org),
  • environment/technology (.net) .

Nowadays however, the explosion of the Internet market has eliminated these distinctions and both public and private users have started to register domains with all extensions, (e.g.,, etc.) in order to protect and cover their interests in all possible fields. These three domains can now be used for any purpose.

In order to ensure recognisability, a naming system ensuring unequivocal membership to a specific cultural domain will soon have to be instituted. To this end, we could imagine adopting a specific top level domain (tdl) such as “museum”, or even activating a second level domain within the top-level domain “eu”. The tld “eu” is still in stages of completion and it would be possible to activate a second level domain within it. This second level domain name would explicitly state the common cultural and European values and could be “arts” or “cult”.

National governments and domain administrators have reserved certain sub-domains for specific functions. This is the case of restricted second level domains such as “.gov” (“.gouv” in France) which are active within the EU in many member states. In Italy the body responsible for administering the country code “.it” had, until some months ago, reserved specific sub-domains including “arts”. Now, however, these domain names are freely available without restrictions.

In Italia l’ente responsabile della gestione del codice di nazione (country code) “.it” aveva riservato, sino ad alcuni mesi or sono, specifici subdomini tra i quali “arts”, oggi disponibili senza regole.

In web administration, activating a category reserved “tdl” is subject to control that the site belongs to the correct category. This is a recent praxis involves lengthy phases of proposal, approval and administration of the technical problems of domains. Time involved, together with technical complexity involved in running a domain mean that, for the moment, it is not practical to activate a “tdl”.


  • do regular back-up copies of the site on CD-ROM or DVD. These copies should be numbered and dated (for example: version 1, 04-02-01). In the long run, this means the history and evolution of the site can be traced;
  • use the “file re-naming” technique. Every time a page is modified and put back on-line, the old page will be renamed. To the old name will be added the date of the change. The page will then be saved in a special directory. This allows all versions of the page to be saved. For example: filename.html is the on-line version. Filename04-02-05 is the renamed version, saved in a special archive.

© Minerva Project 2005-02, last revision 2006-03-23, edited by WP5, Committee for the development of a prototype of public cultural websites.
URL: www.minervaeurope/structure/workinggroups/userneeds/prototipo/progproto/accessibilita/dominio_e.html