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Call for Volunteers: Developing the Process for Root IDN Table Creation and Maintenance

* Deadline for responses is 13 July 2012

ICANN is seeking volunteers to work on advancing IDN capabilities in the DNS. The project 2.1 "Root IDN Table Process" part of the IDN Variant TLD Program, is designed to develop, in consultation with the community, the process to define:

  • allowed code points,
  • corresponding variant code points, and
  • related allowed states for IDN Variant TLDs.

ICANN is soliciting participation from volunteers with the following areas of expertise: IDNA, DNS, Linguistics/Unicode, Policy.

The project team will include additional consultant expertise to help in the process.

ICANN has a limited budget to support team meetings such as travel, accommodation, and other expenses.

General responsibilities for volunteers:

  • Contribute to developing the Process for Root IDN Table Creation and Maintenance
  • Research and provide input on issues discussed during meetings
  • Attend two face-to-face meetings (likely during the last week of August in Los Angeles, US, and mid-October 2012 in Toronto, Canada)
  • Participate in regular teleconferences (time to be determined)
  • Expected time commitment of 2 to 4 hours per week during a 4-month period

IDNA Expertise qualifications:

  • Expertise with IDNA and preferably active on internationalization work
  • Participation in relevant IDNA working groups

DNS Expertise qualifications:

  • Expertise with DNS standards
  • Active in related DNS technical fora (e.g., IETF DNSext, DNSop)

Linguistics/Unicode expertise qualifications:

  • Expertise in linguistics
  • Familiarity with Unicode

Policy expertise qualifications:

  • Previous participation in and familiarity with ICANN processes; or
  • Have participated in, at least, one ICANN working group, preferably on IDN related issues

Selection and Recruitment Process for Case Study Members:

  • Indications of interest should be sent to no later than 13 July 2012.
  • Interested experts are invited to submit a résumé (Curriculum Vitae) and an expression of interest statement demonstrating how they meet the qualifications for one or more of the areas of expertise specified above.
  • The ICANN IDN Variant TLD Program team will select the team members ensuring a diverse composition of the members in terms of language/script communities represented.
  • Applicants will be notified no later than 30 July 2012.

Background on the IDN Variant TLD Program

On 20 April 2011, ICANN announced the IDN Variant Issues Project to explore the benefits and risks associated with the potential inclusion of IDN variant TLDs in the DNS root zone. This project was initiated in response to a 2010 ICANN Board of Directors resolution. Two phases of the project have been completed to date.

Phase I involved the formation of six case study teams for the Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Devanagari, Greek and Latin scripts. These teams were comprised of community experts with support from ICANN that worked on identifying issues related to IDN variant TLDs for each particular script, resulting in the publication in October 2011 of six individual reports detailing their findings.

Phase II focused on integrating those six case study reports into the Integrated Issues Report. To complete this phase, ICANN formed a coordination team comprised of experts from each of the case study teams. The coordination team advised ICANN on completing the Integrated Issues Report, which summarizes and categorizes the various issues related to the identification and management of IDN variant TLDs.

The next phase (phase III) outlined in the proposed program plan includes a number of activities resulting from the issues identified in the final Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 2.15 MB]. The work is now focused on using the approach outlined in the Integrated Issues Report to define milestones that must be completed to manage the implementation of IDN variant TLDs.

The goal of the program is to define the necessary processes that must be in place to enable the management of variant TLDs. This incorporates the creation and maintenance of IDN tables for the root zone, and updating operational processes as appropriate to allow for the implementation of the IDN variant TLDs.

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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"""" is not an IDN."