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Coordination Team Formed for IDN Variant Issues Project

Updated: 10 October 2011

The benefits and risks associated with the potential delegation of variant TLDs have been widely discussed. On 20 April 2011, ICANN announced the initiation of the IDN Variant Issues Project. This project is dedicated to identifying the issues involved in the delegation and use of IDN Variant TLDs.

To achieve that goal, on 9 June 2011, ICANN announced the formation of six case study teams – Arabic, Devanagari, Chinese, Cyrillic, Greek and Latin scripts. Since then, these teams have been working hard on identifying issues involved in IDN Variant TLDs in their particular scripts with the expectation that each of these teams will publish their reports prior to the ICANN meeting in Dakar (24-28 October). After that, a final integrated issues report will be published, describing the challenges associated.

IDN Variant Issues Project Phases

Figure 1 – The project incorporates individual script case studies, a synthesis of the issues, and an additional phase toward developing solutions.

Here are the six Case Study reports that are being published for public comment:

Additionally, we are pleased to announce the formation of a team, comprised of experts from the case study teams, who will advise ICANN in completing a consolidated issues report that will summarize and synthesize the issues identified by the case study teams. The group's work in preparation of this consolidated report is scheduled to start in October at the ICANN public meeting in Dakar, Senegal.

The individual members of the issues report coordination team (listed below) have expertise in the areas of: DNS, IDNA, linguistics, security and scalability, policy, registry/registrar operations, and community representation.

An all-day working session of the coordination team members only is being planned for the Dakar meeting, followed by an open public session at which representatives from the case study teams and the ICANN project team will present the case studies and provide an update on the consolidated issues report.

Interested members of the community can receive updates and participate in the discussions of this work by subscribing to mailing list ( or by visiting

Issues Report Coordination Team

  1. Harald Alvestrand
  2. Raiomond Doctor
  3. Neha Gupta
  4. Sarmad Hussain
  5. Manal Ismail
  6. Akshat Joshi
  7. Cary Karp
  8. Mahesh Kulkarni
  9. Xiaodong Lee
  10. Evangelos Melagrakis
  11. Panagiotis Papaspiliopoulos
  12. Vaggelis Segredakis
  13. James Seng
  14. Vladimir Shadrunov
  15. Alexei Sozonov
  16. Joseph Yee

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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."