Internet Nomenclator Project
RFC 2258

Document Type RFC - Informational (January 1998; No errata)
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                         J. Ordille
Request for Comments: 2258                Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies
Category: Informational                                     January 1998

                      Internet Nomenclator Project

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 (1998).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   The goal of the Internet Nomenclator Project is to integrate the
   hundreds of publicly available CCSO servers from around the world.
   Each CCSO server has a database schema that is tailored to the needs
   of the organization that owns it.  The project is integrating the
   different database schema into one query service.  The Internet
   Nomenclator Project will provide fast cross-server searches for
   locating people on the Internet.  It augments existing CCSO services
   by supplying schema integration, more extensive indexing, and two
   kinds of caching -- all this in a system that scales as the number of
   CCSO servers grows.  One of the best things about the system is that
   administrators can incorporate their CCSO servers into Nomenclator
   without changing the servers. All Nomenclator needs is basic
   information about the server.

   This document provides an overview of the Nomenclator system,
   describes how to register a CCSO server in the Internet Nomenclator
   Project, and how to use the Nomenclator search engine to find people
   on the Internet.

Ordille                      Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 2258              Internet Nomenclator Project          January 1998

1.  Introduction

   Hundreds of organizations provide directory information through the
   CCSO name service protocol [3]. Although the organizations provide a
   wealth of information about people, finding any one person can be
   difficult because each organization's server is independent.  The
   different servers have different database schemas (attribute names
   and data formats).  The 300+ CCSO servers have more than 900
   different attributes to describe information about people. Very few
   common attributes exist.  Only name and email occur in more than 90%
   of the servers [4].  No special support exists for cross-server
   searches, so searching can be slow and expensive.

   The goal of the Internet Nomenclator Project is to provide fast,
   integrated access to the information in the CCSO servers.  The
   project is the first large-scale use of the  Nomenclator system.
   Nomenclator is a more general system than a white pages directory
   service.  It is a scalable, extensible information system for the
   Internet.

   Nomenclator answers descriptive (i.e. relational) queries.  Users can
   locate information about people, organizations, hosts, services,
   publications, and other objects by describing their attributes.
   Nomenclator achieves fast descriptive query processing through an
   active catalog, and extensive meta-data and data caching.  The active
   catalog constrains the search space for a query by returning a list
   of data repositories where the answer to the query is likely to be
   found.  Meta-data and data caching keep frequently used query
   processing resources close to the user, thus reducing communication
   and processing costs.

   Through the Internet Nomenclator Project, users can query any CCSO
   server, regardless of its attribute names or data formats, by
   specifying the query to Nomenclator (see Figure 1).  Nomenclator
   provides a world view of the data in the different servers.  Users
   express their queries in this world view.  Nomenclator returns the
   answer immediately if it has been cached by a previous query. If not,
   Nomenclator uses its active catalog to constrain the query to the
   subset of relevant CCSO servers.  The speed of the query is
   increased, because only relevant servers are contacted. Nomenclator
   translates the global query into local queries for each relevant CCSO
   server.  It then translates the responses into the format of the
   world view.

Ordille                      Informational                      [Page 2]
RFC 2258              Internet Nomenclator Project          January 1998

   --------------------------------------------------------------------

                     +-------------+             +-------------+
                     |             |             |             |
         World View  |             | Local View  |             |
         Query       |             | Query       |  Relevant   |
         ----------->|             |------------>|             |
                     | Nomenclator |             |  CCSO       |
                     |             |             |             |
         <-----------|             |<------------|  Server     |
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