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Review of the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO)

ICANN is seeking to appoint an independent consultant to undertake the first External Review of the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO). The request for proposal (RfP) can be found here [PDF, 172K].

The Review is designed to determine: i) whether the ccNSO is fulfilling its purpose in the ICANN structure; and (ii) if so, whether any change in its structure or operations is desirable to improve its effectiveness and facilitate further membership of the wider ccTLD community.

The RfP contains a first Section, providing instructions to bidders for formulating their proposals (Instructions to Bidders – ItB) and a second Section containing the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the consulting activity to be carried out. The two sections shall be read in conjunction.

The Review is due to begin in December 2009 and will include both deskwork and interviews with key informed stakeholders to be conducted at the March 2010 ICANN meeting in Nairobi (Kenya). The draft Final Report should be delivered in early May 2010, and will be presented at the ICANN meeting in Europe (location TBD) in June 2010.

ICANN will provide the Review Team with background documentation, reports and access to a range of historical data on a confidential basis; applicants are welcome to suggest additional forms of data gathering.

Proposals should be emailed by Friday 25th September 2009, 12:00 (noon) UTC to Marco Lorenzoni, Director Organizational Review (; requests for clarification can be addressed until Friday 11th September 2009, 12:00 (noon) UTC and will be addressed within three working days from their reception. Requests for clarification and their answers will be made anonymous and published at the ccNSO review webpage in order to ensure equal treatment of all bidders.

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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."