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IDN Variant Issues Project: Final Integrated Issues Report Published and Proposed Project Plan for Next Steps is Now Open for Public Comment

ICANN is pleased to announce the publication of the final Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 2.15 MB] and the posting of the proposed project plan [PDF, 211 KB] for the next steps of the IDN Variant Issues Project for public comment.  The report explores the issues associated with the potential inclusion of IDN variant TLDs in the DNS root zone. The report also includes recommendations for additional work for taking the issues identified in the report and identifying potential solutions.

On 23 December 2011, the IDN Variant Issues Team published the draft Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 1.06 MB] for public comment. The report has now been updated to reflect the community feedback and published as the final Integrated Issues Report to conclude the second phase of the project. A version of tracked changes [PDF, 1.02 MB] from the draft report is also provided.

The Report marks the completion of Phase II of the Variant Issues Project. Following the recommendations identified within, the project team has created a project proposed plan for the next steps of the project and seeks community feedback. The public comment box is available at: http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/idn-vip-proposed-project-plan-20feb12-en.htm

The IDN Variant Issues Proposed Project Plan for Next Steps along with the final Integrated Issues Report will be presented to the community during the ICANN public meeting to be held in Costa Rica during March 2012.

The IDN Variant Issues Project [PDF, 195 KB] was initiated by the ICANN Board of Directors in 2010.


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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."