About DASH Domains

What is DASH Domains?

DASH Domains is an opportunity for faculty and graduate students to “roll up their sleeves” and get started creating, making and experimenting with things for the web. DASH Domains provides web hosting for some popular platforms such as WordPress, Omeka, and Scalar, as well as a range of other applications that may be interesting for teaching, research, or creative projects. DASH Domains is an initiative with a twofold mission: 1) to build faculty and grad students’ skills and awareness about the process of making things for the web, and 2) to provide web hosting for DASH-related projects.

DASH Domains involves a partnership between LATIS and the University Libraries.

About support: we are not able to provide the same level of support as we would for central technologies such as Canvas. In part this is because DASH projects are meant to be more experimental and iterative. Part of the fun is learning about setting up and using the tools. We also do not have the capacity to provide substantial support for DASH projects. More on support below.

Why is this important?

DASH is the intersection of arts, sciences, and humanities disciplines and the use of digital technologies for scholarly, pedagogical, and artistic projects. DASH projects are usually delivered through the world wide web and can include data and text mining, data visualization, GIS and spatial research, digital storytelling, rich media, and interactive displays. As a result, a wide variety of software and web development skills may be necessary to bring a DASH project to fruition.

With a DASH Domains account you can create your web presence and develop your digital identity. By creating websites and experimenting with different applications you create meaning in new ways, engage new audiences, and position yourself within the digital ecosystem. And you maintain control over the information you create. It’s yours to share, and if you choose, yours to delete. 

LATIS and the University Libraries makes DASH Domains available through Reclaim Hosting, which also provides documentation on getting started.

Who is eligible for DASH Domains accounts?

Faculty and graduate students working on DASH teaching, research, and art projects are eligible for a DASH Domains account. 

Undergraduates may be given access to DASH Domains project applications (such as a specific WordPress or Omeka installations) through course assignments. Those sites are hosted by faculty and instructors. Undergraduates may also obtain accounts for thesis and capstone projects. 

University staff are eligible for accounts, with preference for staff who develop or support DASH projects.

When is it appropriate to create an account?

Faculty and graduate students who wish to create websites, blogs, online exhibits, embed maps may want an account. DASH Domains is ideally suited for sharing research and other projects of interest to a variety of audiences. Class projects designed to be presented on the web and engage communities and the general public have also been hosted through DASH Domains. DASH content can be developed and presented outside of the password-protected spaces of Canvas and other centrally supported technologies.

When it’s probably not appropriate

If content will be developed over several years and needs to persist, DASH Domains might not be the best solution unless there is a plan in place to eventually migrate content. If the content is not meant to be shared publicly, DASH Domains may also not be appropriate. 

Because of space limitations, the availability of centrally supported platforms, and other factors, some types of sites are not appropriate for DASH domains. Consider instead centrally supported technologies such as Drupal or Google Sites. 

  • Projects that require lots of space
  • Content maintained for a long time period
  • Administrative websites (i.e., departments, centers, labs)
  • Content not shared publicly
  • Sites developed by professional designers

A variety of easy to use tools are also available to U of M users for easy and simple website creation. These tools should be considered first for simple content management needs, especially in regards to departmental, course management, and personal websites.

If you’re not sure whether you should request a domain, email us (dashdomains@umn.edu).

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