A Dictionary Server Protocol
RFC 2229

Document Type RFC - Informational (October 1997; Errata)
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Network Working Group                                           R. Faith
Request for Comments: 2229                U. North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Category: Informational                                        B. Martin
                                                     Miranda Productions
                                                            October 1997

                      A Dictionary Server Protocol

Status of this Memo

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

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1997).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   The Dictionary Server Protocol (DICT) is a TCP transaction based
   query/response protocol that allows a client to access dictionary
   definitions from a set of natural language dictionary databases.

Table of Contents

   1.      Introduction .........................................    2
   1.1.    Requirements .........................................    3
   2.      Protocol Overview ....................................    3
   2.1.    Link Level ...........................................    3
   2.2.    Lexical Tokens .......................................    3
   2.3.    Commands .............................................    4
   2.4.    Responses ............................................    5
   2.4.1.  Status Responses .....................................    5
   2.4.2.  General Status Responses .............................    6
   2.4.3.  Text Responses .......................................    6
   3.      Command and Response Details .........................    7
   3.1.    Initial Connection ...................................    7
   3.2.    The DEFINE Command ...................................    9
   3.3.    The MATCH Command ....................................   10
   3.4.    A Note on Virtual Databases ..........................   12
   3.5.    The SHOW Command .....................................   13
   3.5.1.  SHOW DB ..............................................   13
   3.5.2.  SHOW STRAT ...........................................   13
   3.5.3.  SHOW INFO ............................................   14
   3.5.4.  SHOW SERVER ..........................................   14
   3.6.    The CLIENT Command ...................................   15

Faith & Martin               Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 2229              A Dictionary Server Protocol          October 1997

   3.7.    The STATUS Command ...................................   15
   3.8.    The HELP Command .....................................   15
   3.9.    The QUIT Command .....................................   16
   3.10.   The OPTION Command ...................................   16
   3.10.1. OPTION MIME ..........................................   16
   3.11.   The AUTH Command .....................................   18
   3.12.   The SASLAUTH Command .................................   18
   4.      Command Pipelining ...................................   20
   5.      URL Specification ....................................   20
   6.      Extensions ...........................................   22
   6.1.    Experimental Command Syntax ..........................   22
   6.2.    Experimental Commands and Pipelining .................   22
   7.      Summary of Response Codes ............................   23
   8.      Sample Conversations .................................   23
   8.1.    Sample 1 - HELP, DEFINE, and QUIT commands ...........   24
   8.2.    Sample 2 - SHOW commands, MATCH command ..............   25
   8.3.    Sample 3 - Server downtime ...........................   26
   8.4.    Sample 4 - Authentication ............................   26
   9.      Security Considerations ..............................   26
   10.     References ...........................................   27
   11.     Acknowledgements .....................................   29
   12.     Authors' Addresses ...................................   29
   13.     Full Copyright Statement .............................   30

1.  Introduction

   For many years, the Internet community has relied on the "webster"
   protocol for access to natural language definitions.  The webster
   protocol supports access to a single dictionary and (optionally) to a
   single thesaurus.  In recent years, the number of publicly available
   webster servers on the Internet has dramatically decreased.

   Fortunately, several freely-distributable dictionaries and lexicons
   have recently become available on the Internet.  However, these
   freely-distributable databases are not accessible via a uniform
   interface, and are not accessible from a single site.  They are often
   small and incomplete individually, but would collectively provide an
   interesting and useful database of English words.  Examples include
   the Jargon file [JARGON], the WordNet database [WORDNET], MICRA's
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