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Common Indexing Protocol

Document Charter Common Indexing Protocol WG (find)
Title Common Indexing Protocol
Last updated 1999-08-17
State Approved
WG State Concluded
IESG Responsible AD (None)
Charter edit AD (None)
Send notices to (None)


On the Internet, several more or less localized directory services have
evolved over the last couple of years. Also 2 global directory services
have been deployed, X.500 and Whois++. To be able to find something or
someone, one needs to know what service to use, and what server to

One step towards the solution of this problem is to define one and only
one common indexing protocol which all directory services can use when
passing indexing information. When a user queries one server it should
be possible for that user to get a referral to another server and even
another service, if the two servers have exchanged index information.

For this to work, one common protocol must be developed. The idea is to
expand on the Centroid ideas used by Whois++, to allow it to be used
for other services than Whois++. At the very least, a localized service
should be able to be polled by an indexing server using the Common
Indexing Protocol (CIP). To be specific, three specifications are to be

o An interface spec, where one says how you present a query and what
the referrals you get back look like

o A server interface spec, where one says that the CIP will be able
to include information presented in this format

o An engine spec, which specifies that this is how one support the
functionality using Centroids a la Whois++.

The task for this working group is to create the Common Indexing
Protocol so it is (1) usable for other distributed directory services
such as X.500, (2) allows the use of non-distributed directory services
such as CCSO in the distributed directory service, and (3) addresses
needs such as replication to make the protocol itself more stable.

Just because the Common Indexing Protocol is already in use by Whois++,
but not published, the first task of this group is to publish version 1
of the Common Indexing Protocol as is. After that, the protocol must be
extended according to the specification below. This will result in
version 2 of the protocol.

Other topics to be addressed potentially include:

o Incremental updates of indices

o Support for the UTF-FSS encoding of UNICODE

o Guidelines for building an effective mesh of indexing servers

o Administrative protocols and procedures such as server registration

o Security between directory services

The working group will work in very close cooperation with the working
groups ASID and IDS in the IETF.

The working group will use the following Internet-Drafts as input:

o Architecture of the Whois++ Index Service, Chris Weider

o How to interact with a Whois++ mesh, Patrik Faltstrom