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Internationalized Domain Names Working Group Requests Additional Information

Marina del Rey, California, USA (21 June 2001) At the ICANN Stockholm meeting, the Internationalized Domain Names Internal Working Group of the Board of Directors announced that it was continuing its fact-finding efforts in accordance with the following schedule:

1. The Working Group welcomes additional responses to the surveys posted on April 30, 2001. The responses should be submitted by July 31, 2001.

2. The Working Group welcomes comments on its status report delivered at the Stockholm meeting. The comments should be submitted by July 31, 2001.

3. At the end of June the Working Group will post follow-up questions to its status report. The deadline for responses to these follow-up questions will also be July 31, 2001. Please forward suggestions for follow-up questions as soon as possible.

The Working Group thanks the ICANN community for its continued participation in this effort.

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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."