Much to Lose a Vowel?
may come as a surprise to many in
the University community that one
of the biggest obstacles to our continued
success is, apparently, a single vowel.
That's right folks, it's
the u' in upenn.edu that
is holding us back and keeps confusing
everyone. Branding isn't just
for cattle any more, and certain ad-wizards
have determined that if only our domain
name matched our t-shirts, this would
be a better educational institution.
Surely people are less likely to confuse
us with Penn State if we are PENN.EDU
rather than UPENN.EDU. That's
the power of consistent branding.
why should you care? While it's
patently silly, the change to penn.edu
doesn't seem particularly harmful.
What would have to change? E-mail
servers, web servers, stationery .
. . It still doesn't seem like
a big deal, right? There are committees
meeting to estimate the IT cost for
such a change. You can bet it won't
be cheap. IT staff will spend months
of man-hours just to make sure that
when this change is completed nothing
is worse than it was before. That's
tens of thousands of dollars in salaries
so that your IT staff can try to change
almost 20 years of UPENN heresy rather
than concentrating on your new projects
or fixing things which are broken.
why should you care? Your e-mail address
will change. Your research published
on the web and then referred to in
multitudinous external websites and
published papers will cease to be
available as published. Your business
cards and office publications will
be wrong, and worse, harmful to the
University's branding strategy.
trustees, students, faculty, and staff,
please let the administration know
that you're happy with U!
the Penn Board of Trustees meeting
last June, a trustee raised his hand
and asked this question. "If
Penn has been branding as Penn and
not UPenn for the last 20 years, and
the University owns both domain names,
why is the University's electronic
name upenn and not penn?" This
is a very logical question especially
from a person with an external view.
this question is asked again at the
trustee meeting this June, we intend
to be able to provide the trustees
with a well researched and thoughtful
answer based on facts and not emotion.
ISC team is working to identify the
technical options and, in consultation
with IT management in schools and
centers, will develop the pros and
cons of switching the University's
electronic address to penn.edu. If
the facts show that the costs of this
transition are not worth the benefits,
then the switch will not be made.
However, if the task force concludes
that there may be partial solutions
that would be worth considering in
terms of time, cost and benefit then
those alternatives will be identified.
such as this are not made on a whim.
They are only made after a careful
evaluation is done. And that is the
process on-going at this time. Since
the question on the table involves
technology, Information Services and
Computing has been asked to evaluate
the facts and implications of this
proposed change for Penn and offer
a recommendation to the President.
part of this process we are seeking
input from the various constituencies
at Penn who would be affected by this
change. The writer of this letter
should feel free to contact either
one of us directly if he or she would
like to discuss specific concerns.
Doyle, VP, Communications
is appreciated. --Eds.
Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 33, May 13, 2003