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ICANN Board Accepts Contributions to Facilitate At-Large Organizing Efforts

On April 22, 2002, ICANN's Board approved a resolution via teleconference authorizing the acceptance of contributions to fund staff support "for the creation and nurturing of At-Large mechanisms for meaningful, self-organizing informed participation in ICANN by a full range of Internet users." Recognizing initial fundraising efforts undertaken by Esther Dyson, a member of the former At-Large Study Committee and former Chair of ICANN, the Board acknowledged that ICANN should use the funds to immediately provide support for facilitating At-Large organizing efforts. Denise Michel, former Executive Director of the At-Large Study Committee, agreed to provide this support on a temporary basis to help nurture the creation of At-Large structures.

On March 14, 2002 in Accra, the Board approved a resolution stating that ICANN should have "a robust At-Large mechanism for meaningful, informed participation by Internet users of the kind recommended in the ALSC report," and calling upon the ICANN community to "devote sustained energy to the creation of At-Large structures built upon bottom-up, self-organized, local Internet community institutions and other organizations that meet the general criteria of openness, participation, and self-sustainability, anticipating that most such entities are not ICANN-specific, but already serve their communities in broader ways."

In the next few months, Denise Michel will help ICANN take initial steps to support the formation of At-Large organizations, including: creating an informal, volunteer At-Large Organizing Committee to assist in guiding preliminary at-large efforts; conducting outreach to identify interested individuals/groups worldwide; identify common objectives and interests relevant to Internet users and ICANN's mission; organize a "founders group" to help catalyze regional At-Large structures; establish mechanisms for coordination and cooperation among At-Large structures; and help coordinate input on the role for those structures in ICANN's coordinating and management structures and recommend future actions to the ICANN Board. The success of these efforts will be dependent in large part on the interest and engagement of the Internet community.

Those interested in contributing to these efforts are encouraged to send their contributions payable to the "ICANN At-Large Project" to: ICANN, 4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330, Marina del Rey, CA 90292. (Telephone 310-823-9358; Fax 310-823-8649). Questions should be directed to Denise Michel at

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Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."