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Call for Community Volunteers for IDN Variant TLD Case Study Teams

The delegation and management of variant TLDs remains an important issue. The ICANN community seeks to develop solutions to enable the delegation of Variant TLDs for the benefit of users around the world.

After consultation with the community, today ICANN outlines its approach to move forward by publishing the Final Proposal for the IDN Variant TLDs Issues Project [PDF, 195 KB] and the Call for Volunteers [PDF, 112 KB].

The Project will undertake work to identify issues associated with the beneficial and safe delegation of IDN variant TLDs through six case studies include the following scripts: Arabic, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Cyrillic, Devanagari, Greek, and Latin.

Each team will be comprised of the following: team coordinator, community representatives, linguistic experts, DNS and IDNA experts, security & scalability experts, policy experts, and registry/registrar operations experts. The call for volunteer document describes the details of expertise needed, as well as the volunteer selection process.

Successful completion of the project depends on having team members with the right skills in each of the six case studies to perform the substantive work. Therefore ICANN, through its supporting organizations and advisory committees, and through its contacts with the international Internet community, is soliciting the participation of community volunteers in each of the six case study teams.

Interested experts are invited to submit their résumé and an expression of interest statement demonstrating how they meet the qualifications for one or other of the expertise areas in a specific case study. Applications should be sent to idnvarianttlds@icann.org no later than 19 May 2011.

Additionally, ICANN would welcome proposals from organizations interested in volunteering to provide local host facilities to each of the six IDN Variant Issues Project case study teams. Local host organizations are expected to provide meeting and other facilities to support the case studies work. However, it should be emphasized that it is not necessary to have a local host organization for a case study to proceed. Interested organizations should send an expression of interest to idnvarianttlds@icann.org no later than 19 May 2011.


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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."