The CCSO Nameserver (Ph) Architecture
RFC 2378

Document Type RFC - Informational (September 1998; No errata)
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Network Working Group                                       R. Hedberg
Request for Comments: 2378                             Umea University
Category: Informational                                       P. Pomes
                                                        QUALCOMM, Inc.
                                                        September 1998

                 The CCSO Nameserver (Ph) Architecture

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 Ph Nameserver from the Computing and Communications Services
   Office (CCSO), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has for
   some time now been used by several organizations as their choice of
   publicly available database for information about people as well as
   other things.  This document provides a formal definition of the
   client-server protocol.  The Ph service as specified in this document
   is built around an information model, a client command language and
   the server responses.

1.  Overview

1.1.  Basic Information Model

   At its simplest the Ph database can be thought of as a computer-
   resident "phone book".  However, it can be used to collect arbitrary
   information about people, and in response to a query about an object
   named in the database, return information about that entity.  It is
   in short a nameserver for people and objects.  It was designed to
   keep a relatively small amount of arbitrary information about a
   relatively large number of people or things, and provide access to
   that information over the Internet.  In order to structure the
   information the manager of the database has to decide which views to
   present of the real-world objects that are to be represented in the
   database.  Each view is then composed of a number of fields and their
   values.  To support this concept Ph has the notion of named
   information, i.e., categorizing information into what are called
   fields and assigning descriptive names to those fields.

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RFC 2378         The CCSO Nameserver (Ph) Architecture    September 1998

   Even if the database resides and is reachable from the Internet it is
   local in the meaning that no server is supposed to be able to refer a
   client to another server which might hold the wanted information.
   However a server may contain a list of other Nameservers which can be
   used by clients to query other Nameservers for information.

1.1.1.  Fields

   A field descriptor is associated with each field and is used to
   describe the type and behavior of the field.  A field descriptor
   includes the fieldname, the maximum length of information the field
   can store before truncation, keywords describing the properties of
   the field as well as free text describing what kind of information
   the field is supposed to hold.

   The keywords can be any of the following:

   Always:   Forces the field's contents to be always printed in
             addition to whatever fields specified by the query.

   Any:      This field is always searched by queries. To be most
             use ful, a field marked as Any should also have the Indexed
             and Lookup keywords as well.

   Change:   Can be changed by the owner of the entry.

   Default:  Printed if no return clause is given in the query.

   Encrypt:  Must be encrypted before transmission.

   ForcePub: Viewable/searchable regardless of the content of the
             suppress field

   Indexed:  Fields that are kept track of in the database's index for
             efficient lookups.  At least one indexed field must be
             present in each query.

   LocalPub: May be viewed by anyone in the "local" domain or address
             space.  Fields with this keyword are completely invisible
             outside of the "local" domain.  They will not be shown with
             the fields command (section 3.3), and are disallowed in
             query commands or return clauses (section 3.8).

   Lookup:   May be used in the selection part of a query.  A Field
             without this keyword may not be used to select entries.

   NoMeta:   Wildcard searches are disallowed.

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RFC 2378         The CCSO Nameserver (Ph) Architecture    September 1998

   NoPeople: No entry of type "person" may include this field.

   Private:  Field may be viewed by Heros (section 1.4) only.

   Public:   May be viewed by anyone.  Fields not marked with this
             keyword may only be viewed by the entry's owner or a Hero.

   Sacred:   Changes to the field are prohibited except via non-network
             invocations of the server, i.e., from a tty, file, or pipe.
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