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IDN Guidelines Version 2.0 Finalized

The Guidelines for Implementation of Internationalized Domain Names, version 2.0 is now posted as final following ICANN Board endorsement on their 8 November 2005 meeting.

The final version 2.0 of the IDN Guidelines can be found here.

The resolution from the ICANN Board contained additional directions and timelines for potentially reframing or revising the IDN Guidelines in that will achieve broader community consensus. Specifically, version 2.0 of the guidelines has been endorsed by the ICANN Board for a temporary time period of nine months by which time specific recommendations must be provided to the Board.

In order to follow the timeline requested by the ICANN Board, which requires specific IDN improvement recommendations before the ICANN Meeting in Morocco, ICANN staff is undertaking the following community coordination actions:

  1. Initiation of the reframing of the IDN Guidelines (or creating a new document) that define Best Current Practices (BCP), to ensure that the guidelines and other documents will be used deep into the DNS hierarchy and by TLDs where ICANN has a lesser policy relationships.
  2. Working with the gTLD registries, to which the IDN Guidelines directly apply, to insure that the registries immediately are authorized to amend their IDN implementations where necessary based on the differences between version 1.0 and version 2.0 of the IDN guidelines.
  3. Revision of the IANA registry for IDN tables to allow for script based tables (as opposed to language based tables as previously was the case). Additional revisions to this registry will be anticipated following the commentary received in the IDN Guidelines revision process.

ICANN staff wishes to join the ICANN Board in thanking the working group members and acknowledges the work that has been done to revise the IDN Guidelines. ICANN further wish to express their gratitude to all of the individuals and organizations who submitted comments to the public forum and in other ways assisted in this process.

The forum for public commentary will continue to be open at http://forum.icann.org/lists/idn-guidelines/ to provide a venue for further IDN discussions.


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Domain Name System
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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."