Naming scheme for c=US
RFC 1218

Document Type RFC - Informational (April 1991; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 1255, RFC 1417
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                 The North American Directory Forum
Request for Comments: 1218                                    April 1991

                        A Naming Scheme for c=US

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard.  Distribution of this memo is


   This RFC is a near-verbatim copy of a document, known as NADF-123,
   which has been produced by the North American Directory Forum (NADF).
   The NADF is a collection of organizations which offer, or plan to
   offer, public Directory services in North America, based on the CCITT
   X.500 Recommendations.  As a part of its charter, the NADF must reach
   agreement as to how entries are named in the public portions of the
   North American Directory.  NADF-123 is a scheme proposed for this
   purpose.  The NADF is circulating NADF-123 widely, expressly for the
   purpose of gathering comments.  The next meeting of the NADF is in
   mid-July, and it is important for comments to be received prior to
   the meeting, so that the scheme may receive adequate review.

                         A Naming Scheme for c=US
                    The North American Directory Forum
                       Supercedes: NADF-103, NADF-71
                              March 21, 1991


   This is one of a series of documents produced for discussion within
   the North American Directory Forum.  Distribution, with attribution,
   is unlimited.  This document is being circulated for comment.  The
   deadline for comments is July 1, 1991.  Comments should be directed
   to the contact given on page 16.

1.  Introduction

   Computer networks form the infrastructure between the users they
   interconnect.  For example, the electronic mail service offered by
   computer networks provides a means for users to collaborate towards
   some common goal.  In the simplest cases, this collaboration may be
   solely for the dissemination of information.  In other cases, two

NADF                                                            [Page 1]
RFC 1218                A Naming Scheme for c=US              April 1991

   users may work on a joint research project, using electronic mail as
   their primary means of communication.

   However, networks themselves are built on an underlying naming and
   numbering infrastructure, usually in the form of names and addresses.
   For example, some authority must exist to assign network addresses to
   ensure that numbering collisions do not occur.  This is of paramount
   importance for an environment which consists of multiple service

2.  Approach

   It should be observed that there are several different naming
   universes that can be realized in the Directory Information Tree
   (DIT).  For example, geographical naming, community naming, political
   naming, organizational naming, and so on.  The choice of naming
   universe largely determines the difficulty in mapping a user's query
   into a series of Directory operations.  Although it is possible to
   simultaneously support multiple naming universes with the DIT, this
   is likely to be unnatural.  As such, this proposal focuses on a
   single naming universe.

   The naming universe in this proposal is based on civil authority.
   That is, it uses the existing civil naming infrastructure and
   suggests a (nearly) straight-forward mapping on the DIT.  There are
   four components to the naming architecture:

   (1)  civil naming and optimized civil naming, which reflects
        names assigned by civil authority;

   (2)  organizational naming, which reflects names assigned
        within organizations;

   (3)  ADDMD naming, which reflects names assigned to public
        providers within the Directory service; and,

   (4)  application naming, which reflects names assigned to OSI

   An important characteristic is that entries should be listed wherever
   searches for them are likely to occur.  This implies that a single
   object may be listed under several entries.

2.1.  Names and User-Friendliness

   It must be emphasized that there are three distinct concepts which
   are often confused when discussing a naming scheme:

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RFC 1218                A Naming Scheme for c=US              April 1991

   (1)  user-friendly naming: a property of a Directory which
        allows users to easily identity objects;

   (2)  user-friendly name: a technique for naming an object
        which exhibits "friendliness" according to an arbitrary
        set of user-criteria; and,

   (3)  Distinguished Name: the administratively assigned name
        for an entry in the OSI Directory.

   It must be emphasized that Distinguished Names are not necessarily
   user-friendly names, and further, that user-friendly naming in the
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