Rules for Oxford University Websites

Rules for University websites

Departments and Colleges are responsible for creating and maintaining their own pages. Please keep information updated.

Copyright laws apply to material on the WWW. Ensure that you have permission to use any material you publish from the copyright owner (which may or may not be the author or photographer concerned). Be aware that rights for web publication often need to be negotiated separately to rights for print publication. There may be a reproduction fee for use of text or photographs. Ensure that material is credited appropriately. See also the legal notice, and link to it from your own pages, unless you have your own bespoke legal notice.

When creating forms asking for personal information, bear in mind the restrictions and obligations imposed by the Data Protection Act. Please ensure that you explain the purposes for which the information is being collected (if it is not obvious) and include a link to this statement from your own pages wherever you are collecting data. If you intend to use the information collected from your site in ways other than those outlined in the Privacy Policy, you will have to use an individually tailored version of the policy on your site. Contact the Data Protection Office for help and further information: [email protected].

Website managers have a responsibility to ensure that all those authoring University website material keep such material up to date and that they do not put inappropriate material onto the Internet. Authors should always assume that any website content hosted on an Oxford University-owned server may become public, whether or not that is intended. Keeping material up to date and accessible is particularly important for those maintaining website information which is identified as part of the University's Freedom of Information Act Publication Scheme (currently this applies mainly to Central Administration websites, and departments will be informed if their site contains Publications Scheme information). Changes should not be made to the location of these pages without appropriate notification to those responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the Freedom of Information Publication Scheme. For more information about the University Publication Scheme and Freedom of Information Act, see Submit a freedom of information (FOI) request.

One person per department or college should have overall responsibility for the content of a website.

If information is time-critical, the time of validity should be clearly indicated (e.g. "Student fees and costs for 2013-2014").

Website managers have a responsibility to ensure that their sites are accessible to those with disabilities who may be using a range of assistive technologies (e.g. screen readers or screen magnifiers) to read web pages. It is important that information about courses and studying at the University is accessible to all. Also any course elements and material that are exclusively delivered online need to be made accessible, to ensure that the University is fully compliant with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA).

The University's Web Standard is WAI AA (for more information see the Accessibility Standard section). Help with achieving web accessibility for your site and details of the 2004 accessibility audit of the University website are available [see the Resources section on this site]. Fully comprehensive guidelines are available from W3C (

Attention should be given to metadata (information about a web page included within the head tags) for searching purposes. Ensure your title tags are in place, and are as descriptive as possible (e.g. Oxford University English Department: Prospectus). This text will be displayed when your document is found by external (e.g. Google) and internal (Oxford University) search engines.

Components of every top page

Departments should indicate that they are part of the University of Oxford with use of the University brand mark (see Branding toolkit). Colleges may wish to use their own crests, but should indicate clearly that they are colleges of the University of Oxford.

Please provide a link back to the University homepage. The brand mark can be used for this.

Please provide contact details, or a link to contact information, for your organisation, plus an email address for feedback to the webmaster.