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ICANN Kicks Off Open Data Initiative Pilot

ICANN has begun a pilot project to introduce an Open Data Initiative for ICANN-generated data.  Various ICANN activities produce data related to ICANN’s mission of coordinating the Internet’s system of unique identifiers, including domain name system operations, domain name registration activities, performance monitoring and many other topics.  The aim of this project is to bring selected data sets into the open, available through web pages and programming APIs, for the purposes of external party review and analysis. 

ICANN’s Open Data Initiative pilot project has three components:

  • Developing a catalog of existing data sets appropriate for publication
  • Selecting the technology to manage the publication of the data sets
  • Devising a process to prioritize the order in which data sets are made available

Earlier in October, ICANN staff held an internal kickoff meeting that concentrated on developing the catalog of data sets and a means to prioritize their availability. Selecting an open data technology, whether as a software as a service or built upon open technology, will largely depend on the catalog.  Many considerations were discussed, including the conditions under which data sets are considered eligible for being made open, which data sets should be available after a delay (due to the nature of the information), and which are to remain confidential according to existing controls and requirements.

The next steps for this project include developing a data catalog and generating a living document before ICANN58. During the same time frame, documentation will be developed to identify priorities – relying on both internal and community input – resulting in the selection of the data sets for the pilot project.


    Jay Daley  19:54 UTC on 06 November 2016

    Great initiative Ed. Can you explain how ICANN will be engaging and involving the community in this initiative? The gTLD Marketplace Health Index has successfully built a community advisory group of 40+ with a wide range of relevant skills - could this model be replicated?

    SRIKAR ANANTHULA  21:10 UTC on 06 November 2016

    Great initiative. Making data accessible to everyone gives immense opportunities to take data based decisions so that ICANN can be much more effective and productive.

    George Minardos  22:20 UTC on 06 November 2016

    It is great to see ICANN innovating post transition. Do you think we could explore this as a community at ICANN58?

    Raoul Plommer  00:16 UTC on 07 November 2016

    Thanks for this Edward! I would really like to apply for for a Open Data session in Copenhagen and bring the Open Knowledge network to help you with the initiative. I already sent you an email and hopefully you will receive it. If you're Hyderabad, I'd really like to speak with you about this F2F.

    Jothan Frakes  12:56 UTC on 07 November 2016

    Ed this is very welcome! Outstanding data initiative – expanding the availability of data. Making some central listing of the data resources to make it clear where to look for what resource would be immensely helpful as part of this effort. 1: Registry / Registrar reports: The number of domain names registered globally has expanded immensely, and this has brought the attention of many sectors and participants that look to measure and understand this great industry. ICANN data in the form of registry reports and other information help those researchers seeking to obtain better understanding from a trusted, neutral source. 2: The Centralized Zone Data Access Program (“CZDAP”) is a great resource as well. 3: CSV Files around the Root Addition and contracting of new gTLDs: The Universal Acceptance program and general awareness of the changes to the domain name options being tasked by ICANN are important towards solving matters like EAI or search / link recognition might require developers to improve their TLD logic, so the more resources available towards that, the better! This is a great opportunity to explain a recent example of where ICANN sharing data has provided tremendous value to the public interest. I am one of many in the community who have worked to ensure where the new gTLDs could be recognized by developers and web browsers (the growing Universal Acceptance initiative is now established and fortifying the gaps further but did not exist at the time) since IDN TLDs started being added to the root. ICANN makes available great information, but it has often been the case that one must know the right person or question to ask. We've been using ICANN supplied data to allow the community-supported Public Suffix List [] ("PSL") at Mozilla to track to the contracting of new gTLDs - which allowed for search engines, developers, browsers, email clients, anti-spam, security software, PHP, Perl, Python, Go, Java, Java Script, Ruby, ASP and other languages - to better recognize TLDs.

    Norm Ritchie  23:30 UTC on 07 November 2016

    A most welcome initiative! Can this be extended to include ccTLDs whenever possible or at least to extend the opportunity to the ccTLDs to contribute?

    Edward Lewis  06:14 UTC on 08 November 2016

    A preliminary thank you for the comments so far, what is posted will be considered in project planning. It is very helpful and encouraging to hear interest in the data, how the data is used already, and ways to focus development attention as we progress. I look forward to more comments.

    Sébastien Bachollet  23:05 UTC on 13 November 2016

    May I say "finally"? I was asking for an open data program when I was Board member (in 2011?). I think it is important to have a multistakeholder group to advice this project. It can’t be “just” a staff project. Some progress was already made, for example the list of accredited registrars was in PDF, is now in an (non searchable) easy to cut and past format. Thanks. Interesting and useful comments by others. Thanks also.

    Anamika Sharma  23:46 UTC on 27 November 2016

    It's a very nice post,I appreciate your effort,Thanks for sharing

    blogdechollos  10:45 UTC on 20 February 2017

    Super interesting, aprecite you time!

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."