Role and Functional Email Addresses

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'Role' or 'Functional' email addresses (sometimes called 'generic email addresses') are used when there is a desire to decouple a business function from the name of a particular person performing that function.

There are a number of circumstances where this may be desirable:

  • a generic departmental contact address, suitable for long-term publication;
  • contact address for organisation of a particular event;
  • where a number of people will need to access email relating to the purpose of the address.

Requests for role or functional addresses can be made through the IT Services Helpdesk.  They will normally be created in the form of a new separate Exchange mailbox, to which authorised users will be delegated permission to connect and handle mail delivered to it.

The requester will need to supply:

  1. Details of the function for which this mailbox is required;
  2. The name and usernumber of the person who will be responsible for this email account;
  3. The names and usernumbers of additional people who will need to be able to access the mailbox for this account;
  4. A suggested address for the mailbox, which will be in the mail domain.

After checking the details given in the request, the proposed name will then be forwarded for approval from IT Services.  There may be subsequent negotiations with the requester regarding the suggested address before an agreed address is finally approved.  This process is necessary to ensure that address allocations are sensible, clear, unique, not likely to be misunderstood, and scoped appropriately to the function for which it has been requested.  The application will then be processed, and the account created and permissions assigned.

No role or functional address should be published in any literature or on any website until it has been approved by IT Services.  Prior publication of an address will not be a consideration when deciding on the appropriateness of an address request.

Hints For Selecting Suitable Addresses

While it is impossible to give comprehensive guidance, and each application is considered on a case-by-case basis, the following hints should help a requester select a more suitable email address for a role or functional mailbox.

  1. Addresses must not consist of very generic words.  For example, neither "conference" nor " would not be approved.
  2. Single word addresses are usually not specific or clear enough, or do not provide for future expansion.  Try combining a noun with a verb or adjective, so choose "chemeng-admissions" rather than "chemeng", or "stratosphere-event" instead of "stratosphere".
  3. For time-related events, indicating the year can be helpful.  For example, "aic-conf2009".
  4. If the address relates to a departmental function, the department should be indicated using a familiar abbreviation or term.
  5. Words in the email address should generally be separated by a hyphen "-" (preferably), or a period ".".  Addresses with underscores generally will not be approved.