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ICANN OCTO Publications: Supporting Technical Engagement

ICANN's Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) is tasked with the formidable mission: to help improve the technical posture of ICANN in the world. As part of this mission, the OCTO team creates and publishes a portfolio of research papers and technical briefings intended for our diverse technical community.

Technical Briefings and White Papers

We have created a centralized location for you to access all of our publications in one place, here. The goal of these publications is to educate the reader on a topic and answer some basic questions: What is the technology? How does it work? Why is it important? The publications also provide a concise assessment of the impact that a technology may have on the ICANN community or its importance in fulfilling ICANN’s mission.

Recent examples of technical briefings include:
Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC): Securing the DNS
Brief Overview of the Root Server System

We also create white papers, which are intended to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. These papers fall into a few categories including impact assessments, formal measurements, or formal research outcomes. These research products explain complex issues related to the functioning of the Internet (operational studies), the development of innovations (technical concepts), or new and potentially disruptive technologies (technical trends).

Recent examples of White Papers include:
Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) Technical Analysis
Analysis of the Effects of COVID-19-Related Lockdowns on ICANN Managed Root Server (IMRS) Traffic
Local and Internet Policy Implications of Encrypted DNS
5G Technology

Events and Activity Reports

In order to monitor and act on evolutions in technology or emerging issues, the OCTO team attends and contributes to several global events each year. We publish key takeaways from these engagements in reports that inform ICANN's global technical community and its diverse constituencies. We are striving to improve how the OCTO team engages with and supports you.

Some examples of event and activity reports include:
IETF Year in Review for 2019
Security in the Spotlight: A Recap of IDS 2019
Review of the 2018 DNSSEC KSK Rollover

Translated Materials

ICANN serves a global community. To improve participation, we make much of our content accessible in the six United Nations languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. We also support translations into other languages as needed.

We have more materials and papers that will be published in the coming months. We invite you to explore these resources on our dedicated web page and, if you have any questions, email us at


    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."