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Deployment of the Internet White Pages Service
RFC 2148

Document type: RFC - Best Current Practice (September 1997)
Also Known As BCP 15
Document stream: IETF
Last updated: 2013-03-02
Other versions: plain text, pdf, html

IETF State: (None)
Consensus: Unknown
Document shepherd: No shepherd assigned

IESG State: RFC 2148 (Best Current Practice)
Responsible AD: (None)
Send notices to: No addresses provided

Network Working Group                                   H. Alvestrand
Request for Comments: 2148                                    UNINETT
BCP: 15                                                       P. Jurg
Category: Best Current Practice                               SURFnet
                                                       September 1997

             Deployment of the Internet White Pages Service

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet Best Current Practices for the
   Internet Community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

1.  Summary and recommendations

   This document makes the following recommendations for organizations
   on the Internet:

     (1)   An organization SHOULD publish public E-mail addresses and
           other public address information about Internet users
           within their site.

     (2)   Most countries have laws concerning publication of
           information about persons. Above and beyond these, the
           organization SHOULD follow the recommendations of [1].

     (3)   The currently preferable way for publishing the information
           is by using X.500 as its data structure and naming scheme
           (defined in [4] and discussed in [3], but some countries
           use a refinement nationally, like [15] for the US). The
           organization MAY additionally publish it using additional
           data structures such as whois++.

     (4)   The organization SHOULD make the published information
           available to LDAP clients, by allowing LDAP servers access
           to their data".

     (5)   The organization SHOULD NOT attempt to charge for simple
           access to the data.

   In addition, it makes the following recommendations for various and
   sundry other parties:

     (1)   E-mail vendors SHOULD include LDAP lookup functionality
           into their products, either as built-in functionality or by
           providing translation facilities.

Alvestrand & Jurg        Best Current Practice                  [Page 1]
RFC 2148              Internet White Pages Service        September 1997

     (2)   Internet Service providers SHOULD help smaller
           organizations follow this recommendation, either by providing
           services for hosting their data, by helping them find other
           parties to do so, or by helping them bring their own service
           on-line.

     (3)   All interested parties SHOULD make sure there exists a core
           X.500 name space in the world, and that all names in this
           name space are resolvable. (National name spaces may
           elobarate on the core name space).

   The rest of this document is justification and details for this
   recommendation.

   The words "SHOULD", "MUST" and "MAY", when written in UPPER CASE,
   have the meaning defined in RFC 2119 [17]

2.  Introduction

   The Internet is used for information exchange and communication
   between its users. It can only be effective as such if users are able
   to find each other's addresses. Therefore the Internet benefits from
   an adequate White Pages Service, i.e., a directory service offering
   (Internet) address information related to people and organizations.

   This document describes the way in which the Internet White Pages
   Service (from now on abbreviated as IWPS) is best exploited using
   today's experience, today's protocols, today's products and today's
   procedures.

   Experience [2] has shown that a White Pages Service based on self-
   registration of users or on centralized servers tends to gather data
   in a haphazard fashion, and, moreover, collects data that ages
   rapidly and is not kept up to date.

   The most vital attempts to establish the IWPS are based on models
   with distributed (local) databases each holding a manageable part of
   the IWPS information. Such a part mostly consists of all relevant
   IWPS information from within a particular organization or from within
   an Internet service provider and its users. On top of the databases
   there is a directory services protocol that connects them and
   provides user access. Today X.500 is the most popular directory
   services protocol on the Internet, connecting the address information
   of about 1,5 million individuals and 3,000 organizations. Whois++ is
   the second popular protocol. X.500 and Whois++ may also be used to
   interconnect other information than only IWPS information, but here
   we only discuss the IWPS features.

Alvestrand & Jurg        Best Current Practice                  [Page 2]
RFC 2148              Internet White Pages Service        September 1997

   Note: there are other, not interconnected, address databases on the

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