Definitions for talking about directories (RFC3254)
Original Publication Date: 2002-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2002-Apr-16
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
When discussing systems for making information accessible through the Internet in standardized ways, it may be useful if the people who are discussing it have a common understanding of the terms they use.
Network Working Group H. Alvestrand
Request for Comments: 3254 Cisco Systems
Category: Informational April 2002
Definitions for talking about directories
Status of this Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does
not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this
memo is unlimited.
Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2002). All Rights Reserved.
When discussing systems for making information accessible through the
Internet in standardized ways, it may be useful if the people who are
discussing it have a common understanding of the terms they use.
For example, a reference to this document would give one the power to
agree that the DNS (Domain Name System) is a global lookup repository
with perimeter integrity and loose, converging consistency. On the
other hand, a LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) directory
server is a local, centralized repository with both lookup and search
This document discusses one group of such systems which is known
under the term, "directories".
1. Introduction and basic terms
We suggest using the following terms for the remainder of this
- Information: Facts and ideas which can be represented (encoded) as
data in various forms.
- Data: Information in a specific physical representation, usually a
sequence of symbols that have meaning; especially a representation
of information that can be processed or produced by a computer.
- Repository: An amount of data that is accessible through one or
more access methods.
Alvestrand Informational [Page 1]
RFC 3254 Definitions for talking about directories April 2002
- Requester: Entity that may (try to) access data in a repository.
Note that no assumption is made that the requester is animal,
vegetable, or mineral.
- Maintainer: Entity that causes changes to the data in the
repository. Usually, all maintainers are requesters, since they
need to look at the data too, however, the roles are distinct.
- Access method: Well-defined series of operations that will cause
data available from a repository to be obtained by the requester.
- Site: Entity that hosts all or part of a repository, and makes it
available through one or more access methods. A site may in
various contexts be a machine, a datacenter, a network of
datacenters, or a single device.
This document is not intended to be either comprehensive or
definitive, but is intended to give some aid in mutual comprehension
when discussing information access methods to be incorporated into
Internet Standards-Track documents.
2. Dimensions of classification
2.1 Uniqueness and scope
Some information systems are global, in the sense that only one can
sensibly exist in the world.
Others are inherently local, in that each locality, site or even box
will run its own information store, independent of all others.
The following terms are suggested:
- Global repository: A repository that there can be only one of in
the world. The...