I've used tinyurl.com and snurl.com for many years and have been happy with their service. But having just read Analysis: Which URL Shortening Service Should You Use?, I think I might rethink this.
First of all, if I still had responsibility for a site or responsibility for a brand, I'd register vanity URLs right away. Yes, some of these services will allow you to choose your own custom path. So if you're using Twitter and frequently using a service to shorten umn.edu/college/departmentname/programname, you could try to obtain UofM-program and always use that.
You can also track traffic from those shortened URLs. TinyURL does not offer this service, but others do. So even though tinyURL has been around since way back when, I think I'll be trying bit.ly now. It's still a memorable name and it offers additional services.
I'm sure that I have more than one pet peeve so I'm declaring this to be my first entry on the subject.
This is a sample of a URL that seems ridiculously long:
Is this problem created by FileNet?
I could see repeating onestop if they were trying to get ranked higher for that keyword by search engines, but that can't be their need. It looks like someone created at site and then needed to recreate the site so just put it all under a new directory.
I think there are many who forget that URLs frequently make it into print. And having this long a URL practically guarantees that it will break if sent via e-mail. (Not to mention that's it's hard to read out loud over the phone or to copy down.) I always skip the long URL and create a shorter one with tinyurl.com or similar service if I need to send someone the link. I dont' feel like I should suggest that solution for people creating University documents that refer to the URL.
Bonus pet peeve: underscores in filenames. You put these URLs in print and they get underlined and no one knows if you used spaces or underscores. I think both are poor form.
I have another example: I just had to fix a broken link and the only change was for the directory: jobs to employment. Why make such a change? People use the word jobs more often than employment don't they? Isn't it easier to type? And shorter and therefore less likely to break in an e-mail?