Who at Princeton has a web site?

I was curious how many students at Princeton had posted a web site and, if so, what those sites were about. Check out the Princeton Undergraduate Personal Web Site Surfer to stumble upon some cool pages.

Student Web Sites Are Interesting

Every student at Princeton University has the opportunity to set up a static web site at the www.princeton.edu/~netid/, where “netid” is their student computer username. In fact, the page you’re reading is hosted on one such site (my netid is saha).

A few weeks ago in February 2013, I found myself with a file containing College Facebook data for every undergraduate currently attending the university. With this large list of NetIDs, I was curious how many students at Princeton had posted a web site and, if so, what those sites were about. Visiting student web sites are a cool way to learn about myriad student activities and interests across academic departments.

The Scripts

I wrote a few Python scripts to ping every netid-based url at princeton.edu, record the HTTP response status, and for those returning a response code of 200, ensure that the content was more than just the default directory listing.

The Fun Stuff

The final list contained 383 netids whose web sites seemed to contain interesting information. I then wrote Princeton Undergraduate Personal Web Site Surfer to randomly present only those webpages that were detected to contain interesting content as of March 2013.

I wondered about the breakdown of web sites posted by class:

And here’s the number of web sites by major:

It’s expected that Computer Science is near the top of the list, but I was surprised to see Politics, History, and English close behind. In the coming years I bet we’ll see more students setting up web sites.

GitHub

The main scripts are available in a GitHub repository.

Notes

Thanks to everyone who wrote in:

  1. Margaret Fortney ‘13 and Peter Johnsen ‘15 add that COS 109 – “Computers in Our World” – would explain the prevalence of web sites among non-COS students. The course is commonly taken to fulfill the quantitative reasoning distribution requirement and features a project where students build personal web sites.
  2. Margaret recommends this article for students looking to set up their own ~netid web site.

Other ⋅ March 2013