Whois and Network Information Lookup Service, Whois++
RFC 1834

Document Type RFC - Informational (August 1995; No errata)
Authors Joan Gargano  , Ken Weiss 
Last updated 2013-03-02
Stream IETF
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Network Working Group                                         J. Gargano
Request for Comments: 1834                                      K. Weiss
Category: Informational                  University of California, Davis
                                                             August 1995

              Whois and Network Information Lookup Service

Status of this Memo

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

I.  Introduction

   As currently defined, NICNAME/WHOIS [HARR85] service is a TCP
   transaction based query/response server, running on a few specific
   central machines, that provides netwide directory service to Internet
   users.  The Network Information Center (NIC) maintains the central
   NICNAME database and server, defined in RFC 954, providing online
   look-up of individuals, network organizations, key host machines, and
   other information of interest to users of the Internet.  The
   usefulness of this service has lead to the development of other
   distributed directory information servers and information retrieval
   tools and it is anticipated more will be created.  Many sites now
   maintain local directory servers with information about individuals,
   departments and services at that specific site.

   Typically these directory servers are network accessible.  Local
   development of these services has resulted in wide variations in the
   type of data stored, access methods, search schemes, and user
   interfaces.  The purpose of the Whois and Network Information Lookup
   Service Working Group (WNILS) is to expand and define the standard
   for WHOIS types of services, to resolve issues associated with the
   variations in access and provide a consistent and predictable service
   across the network.  This memo describes new features for WHOIS to
   meet these goals.

II.  Architecture

   The WHOIS service should be provided in a client/server model.  There
   are no restrictions on the design of the client, provided it is
   capable of passing queries to the server in the proper format, and
   capturing the server's response in some useful format.  Existing
   WHOIS specifications call for clients to display responses in human-
   readable form.  This more general proposal does not impose that

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RFC 1834                 Whois++ Lookup Service              August 1995


   This paper acknowledges the existence of many distributed information
   servers, and anticipates the creation of many more. To help users
   locate WHOIS servers, each server should have a nameserver entry in
   the form "whois.domain", i.e. whois.internic.net.

III.  Client Design and Behavior

   The client provides the user interface to the WHOIS system and a
   mechanism for query generation and display of the response.  The
   client is responsible for providing support for paging of long output
   from the server.  All clients must provide this service.  The server
   will not include any special characters, or make any efforts to
   control output to a screen.

   Special search criteria may be specified by the use of keywords or
   special characters, some of which are defined in RFC 954.  Clients
   should be designed to make support for quoted strings unnecessary.

IV.  Server Design and Behavior

   The server should return the same information in response to a given
   query consistently, regardless of the client software or the hardware
   used to originate the query. Queries should be evaluated on a case-
   insensitive basis. Spaces should not be considered in searches.  A
   search for "La Russo" should return both "LaRusso" and "La Russo" as

   There are three types of data records supported in this proposal:
   records for people, hosts, and domains.

   Individual records

   Name                    Name of the individual          required

   Organization            Name of the organization        required

   Organization-type       Type of organization            optional
                           (university, commercial research)

   Work-telephone          Work telephone number           optional

   Fax-telephone           Fax telephone number            optional

   Work-address            Work postal address             optional

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RFC 1834                 Whois++ Lookup Service              August 1995

   Title                   Working title or position       optional
                           within an organization

   Department              Department                      optional

   Email-address           Email address in RFC 822        optional
                           format for this individual

   Handle                  A unique identifier for this    required
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