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Manifest Group and Folder Naming Advice and Philosophy

A quick guide to why folders (stems) in Manifest are named as they are, and advice on naming groups and folders.

We also recommend checking out Manifest - Best Practices before making any folder or group

Jump to: Folders - Groups - Character In Names


In Manifest, groups are located in folders (also known as a "Naming Stem" in Grouper -- the underlying software -- documentation). The only technical meaning of a folder is a place to put a group. Folder structures do not directly relate to permissions and do not create relationships between groups (if you are admin for a folder, you can have a group in it that you cannot see or manage).

Folders have a name (Department of Computer Sciences), an ID ( and an ID Path ( The full ID Path uniquely identifies the folder.

At UW-Madison, we desire to have the folder structures in Manifest describe -- as best they can -- the general organization of the University of Wisconsin and who is responsible for a group, making it easier to find a group or it's owning organization. Of course, UW-Madison is a large and complicated organization and has many parts with complicated relationships, so this is not always simple.

As such, two main root folders exist for groups to live in:

uw:domain or uw:dom
The structure of DNS on campus gives relatively easy insight into to whom a set of groups belong, and by using DNS names we can reduce confusion and disagreement about what the name of a stem should be. For example, (Department of Computer Sciences) or (Center for High Throughput Computing).
Groups that cross department/division boundaries that define organizationally interesting cohorts. For example, uw:org:morgridge_institute (Morgridge Institute for Research) or uw:org:whs (Wisconsin Historical Society).

There are no hard-and-fast rules for what belongs where, and luckily no technical penalty for something being in the "wrong" place, other than perhaps confusing ourselves in the future.

It is desirable to reduce confusion and understand organizational relationships that we try to reduce the number of top level stems to make browsing more understandable. For example, conceptually separate items make sense to separate ( doesn't have to be part of, but we don't want to proliferate stems that are logically part of another (we wouldn't want to create uw:org:comp_sci_firewall_acls, but perhaps uw:org:cs_building_network_admin does make sense, as DoIT and Computer Sciences staff both have roles.)


Like folders, group names (CSL Staff) and IDs (csl) and full ID Path ( are arbitrary and serve only to uniquely identify the group, and really only need to be meaningful to you. However, other people may see your group name without easy visibility to the folder it is in, so giving it a name that helps reduce confusion is the neighborly thing to do (CS Affiliates instead of simply Affiliates).

Characters In Names and IDs

While all characters are allowed in group names and IDs (including spaces, special characters, quotes and accented characters), using characters other than letters, numbers, underscore, period, and hyphen in IDs can cause problems with some applications (notably WiscWeb) or make for confusing communication about group names. It is recommended that IDs be relatively short (but understandable) for ease of use.

Names are intended for human consumption and are shown in the UI and some other interfaces. Names do not need to match the ID, but care should be taken to try to make them not confusing.

Need Help? Have Questions?

Middleware and Manifest Support are available to help you.

If you realize you accidentally placed a group in the wrong location, or named a group in a way you regret, contact support for help moving and renaming!

(Adapted from UW-Madison Stem and Group Naming Standards in the Internet2 Spaces Wiki. NB it was created for another purpose and is not literally accurate.)

Keywordsmanifest stem folder group naming standard advice   Doc ID84828
OwnerMST SupportGroupIdentity and Access Management
Created2018-08-10 16:48:05Updated2022-05-25 15:15:04
SitesIdentity and Access Management
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