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Open-Source Reference Implementation of a Domain Name RESTful Whois Server - Request for Proposals

ICANN is issuing today a Request for Proposal [PDF, 183 KB] to identify a provider capable of providing an open source reference implementation of a Domain Name RESTful Whois server.

On 15 May 2012, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) chartered a new working group to standardize a RESTful-based Registration Data Access Protocol. In order to facilitate the evaluation and adoption of the replacement protocol for domain registries and registrars, ICANN is seeking proposals for an open source reference implementation.

Whois services, and their effectiveness in the case of Internationalized registration data, are important issues for ICANN. ICANN has been working to make advances in this area, appreciating the technical community's past and present contributions, and committed to collaborating with the technical and policy community to improve the Whois service.

Beginning in 2002, ICANN's Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) published various advisories describing the needs for improvement related to the Whois protocol, service and data schema, most recently SAC 051 [PDF, 237 KB]: SSAC Report on Domain Name Whois Terminology and Structure. SAC 051 summarizes the previous advisories, and among other things, recommends that the ICANN community evaluate and adopt a replacement protocol that supports the query and display of Internationalized registration data as well as addressing the relevant recommendations in past SSAC advisories on this topic.

Respondents are requested to respond to this RFP by replying to: The period to submit questions about the RFP will close on 5 June 2012. ICANN will provide answers to all questions submitted to all respondents by 7 June 2012. The final response to the RFP is due on 15 June 2012.

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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."