An Extensible Message Format for Message Disposition Notifications
RFC 2298

Document Type RFC - Proposed Standard (March 1998; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 3798
Last updated 2013-03-02
Stream IETF
Formats plain text pdf html bibtex
Stream WG state (None)
Document shepherd No shepherd assigned
IESG IESG state RFC 2298 (Proposed Standard)
Consensus Boilerplate Unknown
Telechat date
Responsible AD (None)
Send notices to (None)
Network Working Group                                          R. Fajman
Request for Comments: 2298                 National Institutes of Health
Category: Standards Track                                     March 1998

                      An Extensible Message Format
                 for Message Disposition Notifications

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   This memo defines a MIME content-type that may be used by a mail user
   agent (UA) or electronic mail gateway to report the disposition of a
   message after it has been sucessfully delivered to a recipient.  This
   content-type is intended to be machine-processable.  Additional
   message headers are also defined to permit Message Disposition
   Notifications (MDNs) to be requested by the sender of a message.  The
   purpose is to extend Internet Mail to support functionality often
   found in other messaging systems, such as X.400 and the proprietary
   "LAN-based" systems, and often referred to as "read receipts,"
   "acknowledgements," or "receipt notifications."  The intention is to
   do this while respecting the privacy concerns that have often been
   expressed when such functions have been discussed in the past.

   Because many messages are sent between the Internet and other
   messaging systems (such as X.400 or the proprietary "LAN-based"
   systems), the MDN protocol is designed to be useful in a multi-
   protocol messaging environment.  To this end, the protocol described
   in this memo provides for the carriage of "foreign" addresses, in
   addition to those normally used in Internet Mail.  Additional
   attributes may also be defined to support "tunneling" of foreign
   notifications through Internet Mail.

Fajman                      Standards Track                     [Page 1]
RFC 2298           Message Disposition Notifications          March 1998

Table of Contents

   1.   Introduction ............................................  2
   2.   Requesting Message Disposition Notifications ............  3
   3.   Format of a Message Disposition Notification ............  7
   4.   Timeline of events ...................................... 17
   5.   Conformance and Usage Requirements ...................... 18
   6.   Security Considerations ................................. 19
   7.   Collected Grammar ....................................... 20
   8.   Guidelines for Gatewaying MDNs .......................... 22
   9.   Example ................................................. 24
   10.  IANA Registration Forms ................................. 25
   11.  Acknowledgments ......................................... 26
   12.  References .............................................. 26
   13.  Author's Address ........................................ 27
   14.  Copyright ............................................... 28

1.  Introduction

   This memo defines a MIME content-type [5] for message disposition
   notifications (MDNs).  An MDN can be used to notify the sender of a
   message of any of several conditions that may occur after successful
   delivery, such as display of the message contents, printing of the
   message, deletion (without display) of the message, or the
   recipient's refusal to provide MDNs.  The "message/disposition-
   notification" content-type defined herein is intended for use within
   the framework of the "multipart/report" content type defined in RFC
   1892 [7].

   This memo defines the format of the notifications and the RFC 822
   headers used to request them.

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.

1.1 Purposes

   The MDNs defined in this memo are expected to serve several purposes:

   (a)  Inform human beings of the disposition of messages after
        succcessful delivery, in a manner which is largely independent
        of human language;

   (b)  Allow mail user agents to keep track of the disposition of
        messages sent, by associating returned MDNs with earlier message
        transmissions;

Fajman                      Standards Track                     [Page 2]
RFC 2298           Message Disposition Notifications          March 1998

   (c)  Convey disposition notification requests and disposition
        notifications between Internet Mail and "foreign" mail systems
        via a gateway;

   (d)  Allow "foreign" notifications to be tunneled through a MIME-
        capable message system and back into the original messaging
Show full document text