Network Working Group                      Ned Freed, Innosoft
Internet Draft                                 Jon Postel, ISI

                         IANA Charset
                   Registration Procedures

                          July 1997

                     Status of this Memo

This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are
working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force
(IETF), its areas, and its working groups. Note that other
groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-

Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six
months. Internet-Drafts may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted
by other documents at any time.  It is not appropriate to use
Internet-Drafts as reference material or to cite them other
than as a "working draft" or "work in progress".

To learn the current status of any Internet-Draft, please
check the 1id-abstracts.txt listing contained in the
Internet-Drafts Shadow Directories on (US East
Coast), (Europe), (US West Coast),
or (Pacific Rim).

1.  Abstract

MIME [RFC-2045, RFC-2046, RFC-2047] and various other modern
Internet protocols are capable of using many different
charsets. This in turn means that the ability to label
different charsets is essential. This registration procedure
exists solely to associate a specific name or names with a
given charset and to give an indication of whether or not a
given charset can be used in MIME text objects. In particular,
the general applicability and appropriateness of a given
registered charset is a protocol issue, not a registration
issue, and is not dealt with by this registration procedure.

Internet Draft       Charset Registration            July 1997

2.  Definitions and Notation

The following sections define various terms used in this

2.1.  Requirements Notation

This document occasionally uses terms that appear in capital
letters. When the terms "MUST", "SHOULD", "MUST NOT", "SHOULD
NOT", and "MAY" appear capitalized, they are being used to
indicate particular requirements of this specification. A
discussion of the meanings of these terms appears in [RFC-

2.2.  Character

A single graphic symbol.

2.3.  Charset

The term "charset" (referred to as a "character set" in
previous versions of this document) is used here to refer to a
method of converting a sequence of octets into a sequence of
characters. This conversion may also optionally produce
additional control information such as directionality

Note that unconditional and unambiguous conversion in the
other direction is not required, in that not all characters
may be representable by a given charset and a charset may
provide more than one sequence of octets to represent a
particular sequence of characters.

This definition is intended to allow charsets to be defined in
a variety of different ways, from simple single-table mappings
such as US-ASCII to complex table switching methods such as
those that use ISO 2022's techniques, to be used as charsets.
However, the definition associated with a charset name must
fully specify the mapping to be performed.  In particular, use
of external profiling information to determine the exact
mapping is not permitted.

                     Expires January 1998             [Page 2]

Internet Draft       Charset Registration            July 1997

HISTORICAL NOTE: The term "character set" was originally used
in MIME to describe such straightforward schemes as US-ASCII
and ISO-8859-1 which consist of a small set of characters and
a simple one-to-one mapping from single octets to single
characters. Multi-octet character encoding schemes and
switching techniques make the situation much more complex. As
such, the definition of this term was revised to emphasize
both the conversion aspect of the process, and the term itself
has been changed to "charset" to emphasize that it is not,
after all, just a set of characters. A discussion of these
issues as well as specification of standard terminology for
use in the IETF appears in RFC 2130.

2.4.  Coded Character Set

A Coded Character Set (CCS) is a mapping from a set of
abstract characters to a set of integers. Examples of coded
character sets are ISO 10646 [ISO-10646], US-ASCII [US-ASCII],
and the ISO-8859 series [ISO-8859].

2.5.  Character Encoding Scheme

A Character Encoding Scheme (CES) is a mapping from a Coded
Character Set or several coded character sets to a set of
octets. A given CES is typically associated with a single CCS;
for example, UTF-8 applies only to ISO 10646.

3.  Registration Requirements

Registered charsets are expected to conform to a number of
requirements as described below.

3.1.  Required Characteristics

Registered charsets MUST conform to the definition of a
"charset" given above.  In addition, charsets intended for use
in MIME content types under the "text" top-level type must
conform to the restrictions on that type described in RFC
2045. All registered charsets MUST note whether or not they
are suitable for use in MIME.

                     Expires January 1998             [Page 3]

Internet Draft       Charset Registration            July 1997

All charsets which are constructed as a composition of a CCS
and a CES MUST either include the CCS and CES they are based
on in their registration or else cite a definition of their
CCS and CES that appears elsewhere.

All registered charsets MUST be specified in an openly
available specification.  Registration of charsets whose
specifications aren't readily available is forbidden.

3.2.  New Charsets

This registration mechanism is not intended to be a vehicle
for the definition of entirely new charsets. This is due to
the fact that the registration process does NOT contain
adequate review mechanisims for such undertakings.

As such, only charsets defined by other processes and
standards bodies, or specific profiles of such charsets, are
eligible for registration.

3.3.  Naming Requirements

One or more names MUST be assigned to all registered charsets.
Multiple names for the same charset are permitted, but if
multiple names are assigned a single primary name for the
charset MUST be identified. All other names are considered to
be aliases for the primary name and use of the primary name is
preferred over use of any of the aliases.

Each assigned name MUST uniquely identify a single charset.
All charset names MUST be suitable for use as the value of a
MIME content type charset parameter and hence MUST conform to
MIME parameter value syntax. This applies even if the specific
charset being registered is not suitable for use with the
"text" media type.

                     Expires January 1998             [Page 4]

Internet Draft       Charset Registration            July 1997

3.4.  Functionality Requirement

Charsets must function as actual charsets: Registration of
things that are better thought of as a transfer encoding, as a
media type, or as a collection of separate entities of another
type, is not allowed.  For example, although HTML could
theoretically be thought of as a charset, it is really better
thought of as a media type and as such it cannot be registered
as a charset.

3.5.  Usage and Implementation Requirements

Use of a large number of charsets in a given protocol may
hamper interoperability. However, the use of a large number of
undocumented and/or unlabelled charsets hampers
interoperability even more.

A charset should therefore be registered ONLY if it adds
significant functionality that is valuable to a large
community, OR if it documents existing practice in a large
community. Note that charsets registered for the second reason
should be explicitly marked as being of limited or specialized
use and should only be used in Internet messages with prior
bilateral agreement.

3.6.  Publication Requirements

Charset registrations can be published in RFCs, however, RFC
publication is not required to register a new charset.

The registration of a charset does not imply endorsement,
approval, or recommendation by the IANA, IESG, or IETF, or
even certification that the specification is adequate. It is
expected that applicability statements for particular
applications will be published from time to time that
recommend implementation of, and support for, charsets that
have proven particularly useful in those contexts.

3.7.  MIBenum Requirements

Each registered charset MUST also be assigned a unique
enumerated integer value. These "MIBenum" values are defined

                     Expires January 1998             [Page 5]

Internet Draft       Charset Registration            July 1997

by and used in the Printer MIB [RFC-1759].

A MIBenum value for each charset will be assigned by IANA at
the time of registration.

4.  Registration Procedure

The following procedure has been implemented by the IANA for
review and approval of new charsets.  This is not a formal
standards process, but rather an administrative procedure
intended to allow community comment and sanity checking
without excessive time delay.

4.1.  Present the Charset to the Community

Send the proposed charset registration to the "ietf-" mailing list.  This mailing list has been
established for the sole purpose of reviewing proposed charset
registrations. Proposed charsets are not formally registered
and must not be used; the "x-" prefix specified in RFC 2045
can be used until registration is complete.

The intent of the public posting is to solicit comments and
feedback on the definition of the charset and the name chosen
for it over a two week period.

4.2.  Charset Reviewer

When the two week period has passed and the registration
proposer is convinced that consensus has been achieved, the
registration application should be submitted to IANA and the
charset reviewer. The charset reviewer, who is appointed by
the IETF Applications Area Director(s), either approves the
request for registration or rejects it.  Rejection may occur
because of significant objections raised on the list or
objections raised externally.  If the charset reviewer
considers the registration sufficiently important and
controversial, a last call for comments may be issued to the
full IETF. The charset reviewer may also recommend standards
track processing (before or after registration) when that
appears appropriate and the level of specification of the
charset is adequate.

                     Expires January 1998             [Page 6]

Internet Draft       Charset Registration            July 1997

Decisions made by the reviewer must be posted to the ietf-
charsets mailing list within 14 days. Decisions made by the
reviewer may be appealed to the IESG.

4.3.  IANA Registration

Provided that the charset registration has either passed
review or has been successfully appealed to the IESG, the IANA
will register the charset, assign a MIBenum value, and make
its registration available to the community.

5.  Location of Registered Charset List

Charset registrations will be posted in the anonymous FTP file
and all registered charsets will be listed in the periodically
issued "Assigned Numbers" RFC [currently RFC-1700].  The
description of the charset may also be published as an
Informational RFC by sending it to ""
(please follow the instructions to RFC authors [RFC-1543]).

6.  Registration Template

  Subject: Registration of new charset

  Charset name(s):

  (All names must be suitable for use as the value of a
  MIME content-type parameter.)

  Published specification(s):

  (A specification for the charset must be
  openly available that accurately describes what
  is being registered. If a charset is defined as
  a composition of a CCS and a CES then these defintions
  must either be included or referenced.)

  Person & email address to contact for further information:

                     Expires January 1998             [Page 7]

Internet Draft       Charset Registration            July 1997

7.  Security Considerations

This registration procedure is not known to raise any sort of
security considerations that are appreciably different from
those already existing in the protocols that employ registered

8.  References

     International Standard -- Information Processing --
     Character Code Structure and Extension Techniques,
     ISO/IEC 2022:1994, 4th ed.

     International Standard -- Information Processing -- 8-bit
     Single-Byte Coded Graphic Character Sets
     - Part 1: Latin Alphabet No. 1, ISO 8859-1:1987, 1st ed.
     - Part 2: Latin Alphabet No. 2, ISO 8859-2:1987, 1st ed.
     - Part 3: Latin Alphabet No. 3, ISO 8859-3:1988, 1st ed.
     - Part 4: Latin Alphabet No. 4, ISO 8859-4:1988, 1st ed.
     - Part 5: Latin/Cyrillic Alphabet, ISO 8859-5:1988, 1st
     - Part 6: Latin/Arabic Alphabet, ISO 8859-6:1987, 1st ed.
     - Part 7: Latin/Greek Alphabet, ISO 8859-7:1987, 1st ed.
     - Part 8: Latin/Hebrew Alphabet, ISO 8859-8:1988, 1st ed.
     - Part 9: Latin Alphabet No. 5, ISO/IEC 8859-9:1989, 1st
     International Standard -- Information Technology -- 8-bit
     Single-Byte Coded Graphic Character Sets
     - Part 10: Latin Alphabet No. 6, ISO/IEC 8859-10:1992,
     1st ed.

     ISO/IEC 10646-1:1993(E),  "Information technology --
     Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set (UCS) --
     Part 1: Architecture and Basic Multilingual Plane",
     JTC1/SC2, 1993.

                     Expires January 1998             [Page 8]

Internet Draft       Charset Registration            July 1997

     Postel, J., "Media Type Registration Procedure", RFC
     1590, USC/Information Sciences Institute, March 1994.

     Reynolds, J. and Postel, J., "Assigned Numbers", STD 2,
     RFC 1700, USC/Information Sciences Institute, October

     Smith, R., Wright, F., Hastings, T., Zilles, S.,
     Gyllenskog, J., "Printer MIB", RFC 1759, March 1995.

     Freed, N. and Borenstein, N., "Multipurpose Internet Mail
     Extensions (MIME) Part One: Format of Internet Message
     Bodies", RFC 2045, Bellcore, Innosoft, November 1996.

     Freed, N. and Borenstein, N., "Multipurpose Internet Mail
     Extensions (MIME) Part Two: Media Types", RFC 2046,
     Bellcore, Innosoft, November 1996.

     Moore, K., "Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME)
     Part Three: Representation of Non-Ascii Text in Internet
     Message Headers", RFC 2047, University of Tennessee,
     November 1996.

     Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
     Requirement Levels", RFC 2119, March 1997.

     Weider, C., Preston, C., Simonsen, K., Alvestrand, H.,
     Atkinson, R., Crispin, M., Svanberg, P., "Report from the
     IAB Character Set Workshop", RFC 2130, April 1997.

                     Expires January 1998             [Page 9]

Internet Draft       Charset Registration            July 1997

     Coded Character Set -- 7-Bit American Standard Code for
     Information Interchange, ANSI X3.4-1986.

9.  Authors' Addresses

Ned Freed
Innosoft International, Inc.
1050 Lakes Drive
West Covina, CA 91790
 tel: +1 626 919 3600           fax: +1 626 919 3614

Jon Postel
USC/Information Sciences Institute
4676 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA  90292
 tel: +1 310 822 1511           fax: +1 310 823 6714
 email: Postel@ISI.EDU

         Appendix A -- IANA and RFC Editor To-Do List

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:  This appendix is intended to communicate
various editorial and procedural tasks the IANA and the RFC
Editor should undertake prior to publication of this document
as an RFC.  This appendix should NOT appear in the actual RFC
version of this document!

This document refers to the media types mailing list ietf-  This alias needs to be established and
should initially point to

                     Expires January 1998            [Page 10]