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Final Report from the Expert Working Group on Internationalized Registration Data (WHOIS)

25 September 2015

In addition to the U.N. six languages, this content is also available in

ICANN today published the Final Report [PDF, 668 KB] from the Expert Working Group on Internationalized Registration Data (WHOIS) that was tasked with determining submission and display requirements for internationalized registration data (IRD) and producing a data model for the IRD that matches the requirements. This report represents a significant milestone towards ICANN's goal of internationalizing the WHOIS service with respect to data of global registrants.

Internationalization Principles Identified

Convened at the request of the ICANN Board in response to the WHOIS Review Team's recommendations, the Final Report [PDF, 668 KB] identifies specific principles to guide the internationalization of registration data.  These are:

  • User Capability Principle: In defining a requirement for a particular data element or category of data elements, the capability of the data-submitting user should be the constraining factor.
  • Simplicity and Reusability Principle: Where possible, existing standards that are widely used for handling internationalized data should be applied.
  • Extensibility - Where possible, the data model should be able to be easily extended to tailor to the evolution of data elements displayed by directory services for various TLD registries and registrars.

High Level Requirements Proposed

Based on these principles, the IRD Working Group proposes two high level requirements for community consideration:

  • Registrants should only be required to input registration data in a languages or scripts that they are skilled at
  • Unless explicitly stated, all data elements should be tagged with languages and scripts in use, and this information should always be available with the data elements.

Proposed Data Model and Requirements for Data Elements

The IRD Working was also tasked with producing a data model to support the proposed requirements for internationalization of registration data. The Final Report [PDF, 668 KB] categorized the common registration data elements into twelve groups and proposed the internationalization requirements for each category.

The full report can be found here [PDF, 668 KB].


One of ICANN's key initiatives is to improve the WHOIS service.  The formation of the IRD Working Group to address the internationalized registration data is related to the activities under way to implement the recommendations of the ICANN WHOIS Policy Review Team Final Report [PDF, 1.44 MB] as adopted by the ICANN Board. More information on the status of these improvements is posted here.

WHOIS Review Team Internationalized Registration Data Expert Working Group (WHOIS RT IRD WG) was chartered to determine the requirements for internationalized registration data, and produce a data model that matches the requirement.

Next Steps

Since there may be policy implications raised by its proposals, the IRD Working Group recommends that the Board send the Final Report [PDF, 668 KB] to the GNSO for appropriate follow-up. The IRD Working Group's recommendations may become the basis for further policy development and/or contractual framework for gTLDs.

For more information on WHOIS generally, please visit whois.icann.org.