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Context and Goals for Common Name Resolution (RFC2972) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000005165D
Original Publication Date: 2000-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-12
Document File: 11 page(s) / 17K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

N. Popp: AUTHOR [+3]

Related Documents

10.17487/RFC2972: DOI


This document establishes the context and goals for a Common Name Resolution Protocol. This memo provides information for the Internet community.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 14% of the total text.

Network Working Group N. Popp Request for Comments: 2972 RealNames Corporation Category: Informational M. Mealling Network Solutions L. Masinter AT&T Labs K. Sollins MIT October 2000

Context and Goals for Common Name Resolution

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 Notice

Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2000). All Rights Reserved.


This document establishes the context and goals for a Common Name Resolution Protocol. It defines the terminology used concerning a "Common Name" and how one might be "resolved", and establishes the distinction between "resolution" and more elaborate search mechanisms. It establishes some expected contexts for use of Common Name Resolution, and the criteria for evaluating a successful protocol. It also analyzes the various motivations that would cause services to provide Common Name resolution for both public, private and commercial use.

This document is intended as input to the formation of a Common Name Resolution Protocol working group. Please send any comments to To review the mail archives, see <>

1. Introduction

People often refer to things in the real world by a common name or phrase, e.g., a trade name, company name, or a book title. These names are sometimes easier for people to remember and enter than URLs; many people consider URLs hard to remember or type. Furthermore, because of the limited syntax of URLs, companies and individuals are finding that the ones that might be most reasonable

Popp, et al. Informational [Page 1]

RFC 2972 Context & Goals for Common Name Resolution October 2000

for their resources are already being used elsewhere and therefore unavailable. Common names are not URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) in that they lack the syntactic structure imposed by URIs; furthermore, unlike URNs, there is no requirement of uniqueness or persistence of the association between a common name and a resource. These common names are expected to be used primarily by humans (as opposed to machine agents).

Common name "resolution" is a process of mapping from common names to Internet resources; a Common Name Resolution Protocol (CNRP) is a network protocol used in such a process.

A useful analogy for understanding the purpose and scope of common names, and CNRP, are everyday (human language) dictionaries. These cover a given language (namespace) -- perhaps a spoken language, or some specific subset (e.g., technical terms, etc). Some dictionaries give definitions, others give translations (e.g., to other languages). Different entities publish dictionaries that cover the same language -- e.g., Larousse and Collins can both publish French- language dictionaries. Thus, the dictionary publisher is the analog to the resolution service provider -- the service can provide a value-...