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Beginner's Guides

ICANN Beginner's Guides are booklets intended to help newcomers to a topic quickly grasp the basics. Created at the request of the At-Large community (the voice of the individual Internet user within ICANN), these Guides help de-mystify some of the complexity within ICANN's technical coordination and policy-making mission.

The IANA Functions [PDF, 1.03 MB]

Do you know what protocol parameters, Internet number resources and domain names are? Take a look at this informational booklet on the IANA Functions, the functions that coordinate some of the key elements that keep the Internet running smoothly, to learn more.

The IANA Functions

Beginner's Guide to Participating in ICANN [PDF, 1.07 MB]

Created to introduce newcomers to ICANN, the Beginner's Guide to Participating in ICANN is designed to provide you with the tools and resources you need to be an effective participant in ICANN's community-based policy-making process. Published in October 2012; updated November 2013.

Beginner's Guide to Participating in ICANN

Beginner's Guide to Participating in At-Large [PDF, 3.9 MB]

ICANN's community of individual Internet users is known as the At-Large community, or just At-Large. The Beginner's Guide to Participating in At-Large provides information on ICANN's multistakeholder model and the role of the At-Large community, its working procedures, policy issues it has focused on, as well as how individuals and organizations can become involved. Published in March 2012; updated November 2013.

Beginner's Guide to Participating in At-Large

Beginner's Guide to Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses [PDF, 1.36 MB]

Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are the unique identifying numbers that all computers and devices connected to the Internet depend on to communicate with each other. When the pool of available unallocated addresses for IPv4, the original IP addressing system, completely depleted in 2011, the Internet began a transition to IPv6, a newer Internet Protocol system. This highly readable guide helps the individual user understand IP addresses and the transition from IPv4 to IPv6. Published in March 2011.

Beginner's Guide to Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses

Beginner's Guide to Domain Names [PDF, 1.02 MB]

A domain name can become where other people find you on line, and adds to your online identity. Although domain names are a big part of the Internet, understanding how these names work (and the ins and outs of obtaining them) can be mystifying at first. This highly readable guide, created in cooperation with ICANN's At-Large community, helps the individual user understand and use domain names. Published in December 2010.

Beginner's Guide to Domain Names

Beginner's Guide to Policy Advice in the At-Large Advisory Committee [PDF, 7.60 MB]

This guide explains how policy advice is developed within the At-Large Advisory Committee, why it is important to the end-user, and how you can make your voice heard within that process. Published in July 2013.

Beginner's Guide to Policy Advice in the At-Large Advisory Committee

Beginner's Guide to At-Large Structures [PDF, 1.13 MB]

Created for the At-Large Summit II at ICANN 50, this booklet gives an overview of ICANN and its At-Large Structures, or ALSes. Wholly independent from ICANN, ALSes are groups that have registered with ICANN and have met the criteria for involving individual Internet users at the local or issue level in ICANN activities, and for promoting individuals' understanding of, and participation in ICANN.

Beginner's Guide to At-Large Structures (ALSes)
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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."