RFC2218: A Common Schema for the Internet White Pages Service

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Related keywords:  (information) (IWPS) (user)

Network Working Group                                       T. Genovese
Request for Comments: 2218                                    Microsoft
Category: Standards Track                                   B. Jennings
                                             Sandia National Laboratory
                                                           October 1997

          A Common Schema for the Internet White Pages Service

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


   This work is the result of the IETF Integrated Directory Services
   (IDS) Working Group.  The IDS Working Group proposes a standard
   specification for a simple Internet White Pages service by defining a
   common schema for use by the various White Pages servers.  This
   schema is independent of specific implementations of the White Pages

   This document specifies the minimum set of core attributes of a White
   Pages entry for an individual and describes how new objects with
   those attributes can be defined and published.  It does not describe
   how to represent other objects in the White Pages service.  Further,
   it does not address the search sort expectations within a particular

1.0     Introduction to IWPS

   The Internet community has stated a need for the development and
   deployment of a White Pages service for use in locating information
   about people in the Internet [PA94].  To facilitate interoperability
   and to provide a common user experience, the Internet White Pages
   Service (IWPS) must have a common set of information about each

   A common user object would allow a user to go between implementations
   of the service and to expect consistency in the types of information
   provided.  A common user object would also provide developers with an
   unambigious method of representing the information managed by the

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   This document will focus only on common information modeling issues
   to which all IWPS providers must conform.

2.0     Scope

   This document establishes the set of attributes that specify the
   Common User Information Object for the IWPS.  It does not attempt to
   be an exhaustive specification of all objects that may be stored in
   the IWPS. The process used by this document to define the user object
   is recommended to be used to define other information objects used in
   the IWPS.

   All conforming implementations must support at the minimum, the core
   attributes listed in Section 5.0. Implementations may include local
   attributes in addition to the core set and still be considered "in

   This document will not specify rules with respect to information
   privacy.  Each country has its own set of laws and practices.
   Previous work covering this area has been done by the North American
   Directory Forum (NADF), whose publication [NADF92] contain
   recommendations for registrants' rights in both the USA and Canada.

   This document does not specify a Directory access protocol (i.e.
   whois++, LDAP, DAP, etc.).

3.0     IWPS Schema Considerations

   The description of the IWPS information object consists of the
   following requirements:

              1. Syntax for definition/representation of information
                 object templates.
              2. Publication of information object templates, etc.
              3. Database structure or schema.

   Items 1 and 2 will be covered in this document.  Because database
   structure can potentially restrict implementations (i.e. X.500 schema
   based versus DNS schema based) it will be treated as a separate
   research topic and will not be defined in this paper.

4.0     Syntax for Definition/Representation of Information Object

   A clear, precise, and consistent method must be used when discussing
   information object templates and their associated attributes.
   Therefore, this document makes uses of the previously defined syntax
   used by LDAP.  To avoid restrictions on implementations of the IWPS,

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   some syntax are listed as requirements vs specific encodings.  The
   general IWPS syntax is included in section 6.0 for reference.

   The IWPS Person Object specifies a limited set of recommended
   attributes that a White Pages Service must include.  Storage of user
   attributes are a local issue, therefore, this memo suggests storage
   sizes but not storage types.

   This document lists the syntax with the attributes for developers of
   user interface (UIs) to use as a reference, but it does not specify
   how the UI should display these attributes.

   Attributes that contain multiple-line text (i.e. Address) must use
   the procedure defined in RFC 822 in section 3.1.1 on "folding" long
   header lines [RFC-822].

5.0     Information Object Template Definitions

   This section describes the IWPS Person Information Object Template
   and its associated attributes.  The Person Object is a simple list of
   attributes, no structure nor object inheritance is implied.

   IWPS client applications should use the following size
   recommendations as the maximum sizes of the attributes.  However,
   applications should be able to handle attributes of arbitrary size,
   returned by a server which may not comply with these recommendation.
   All size recommendations are in characters.

   Note: Because many characters in many encodings require more than one
   byte, the size recommendations cannot be interpreted as sizes in

   This set of attributes describes information types, and are not
   defined attributes in a particular schema.  Any technology deploying
   a White Page service (WHOIS ++, LDAP, vCard, etc.) will need to
   publish as a companion document, their specific schema detailing how
   the general attributes of the White Pages schema are expressed.


   Phone number:  The full international form is recommended;
                  i.e. +1 206 703 0852.  The field may contain
                  additional information following the phone
                  number.  For example:

                           +1 800 759 7243 #123456
                           +1 505 882 8080 ext. 30852

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   Email address: Is multivalued.

   Certificate:   Is multivalued.

   Common Name:   Is multivalued.

   Language Spoken:  Is multivalued.


   --General Attributes --

         Field Name             Size         Syntax

         Email                   360         Mailbox
         Cert                   4000         Certificate
         Home Page               128         URI
         Common Name              64         WhitepageString
         Given Name               48         WhitepageString
         Surname                  48         WhitepageString
         Organization             64         WhitepageString
         Locality                 20         WhitepageString
         Country                   2         WhitepageString (ISO 3166)
         Language Spoken         128         WhitepageString (RFC 1766)

   --Personal Attributes

         Personal Phone           30         PrintableString
         Personal Fax             30         PrintableString
         Personal Mobile Phone    30         PrintableString
         Personal Pager Number    30         PrintableString
         Personal Postal Address 255         Address
         Description             255         WhitepageString

   --Organizational Attributes

         Title                    64         WhitepageString
         Office Phone             30         PrintableString
         Office Fax               30         PrintableString
         Office Mobile Phone      30         PrintableString
         Office Pager             30         PrintableString
         Office Postal Address   255         Address


         Creation Date            24         GeneralizedTime
         Creator Name            255         URI
         Modified Date            24         GeneralizedTime

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         Modifier Name           255         URI

6.0     IWPS Person Information Object Template Syntax

   This section defines the syntax used by the IWPS person information
   object template.  It is copied in whole from the LDAP attribute
   working document with some modification for completeness.


      The certificate field is intended to hold any kind of certificate;
      X.509 certificates are one example. A specific implementation will
      specify how to indicate the type of certificate when describing
      the mapping of the IWPS schema onto the implementation schema.


      This syntax must be able to encode arbitrary ISO 10646 characters.
      One such encoding is the UTF-8 encoding [UTF-8].


      Values of this syntax are encoded as printable strings,
      represented as specified in X.208.  Note that the time zone must
      be specified.  It is strongly recommended that Zulu time zone be
      used.  For example:



      here are many kinds of mailbox addresses, including X.400 and
      Internet mailbox addresses. The implementation must clearly
      distinguish between different types of mailbox address, for
      instance by using a textual refix or a set of attribute types.
      There must be a way to represent any mailbox type.


      According to Universal Postal Union standards, this field must be
      able to represent at least 6 lines of 40 characters.


      The encoding of a value with PrintableString syntax is the string
      value itself.  PrintableString is limited to the characters in
      production <p>. Where production <p> is described by the

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      <a> ::= 'a' | 'b' | 'c' | 'd' | 'e' | 'f' | 'g' | 'h' | 'i' |
              'j' | 'k' | 'l' | 'm' | 'n' | 'o' | 'p' | 'q' | 'r' |
              's' | 't' | 'u' | 'v' | 'w' | 'x' | 'y' | 'z' | 'A' |
              'B' | 'C' | 'D' | 'E' | 'F' | 'G' | 'H' | 'I' | 'J' |
              'K' | 'L' | 'M' | 'N' | 'O' | 'P' | 'Q' | 'R' | 'S' |
              'T' | 'U' | 'V' | 'W' | 'X' | 'Y' | 'Z'

      <d> ::= '0' | '1' | '2' | '3' | '4' | '5' | '6' | '7' | '8' | '9'

      <p> ::= <a> | <d> | ''' | '(' | ')' | '+' | ',' | '-' | '.' |
              '/' | ':' | '?' | ' '

7.0     Publication of IWPS Information Object Templates.

   The Working Group recommends that all information object templates
   used for the IWPS be published.

   Individual organizations may define information object templates that
   are local in scope as required to meet local organizational needs.
   All information that the organization wishes to be part of the IWPS
   must use a published IWPS information object template.

8.0     Data Privacy

   Each country, and each state within the US, has legislation defining
   information privacy.  The suggested attributes in Section 5.0 may be
   considered private and the directory administrator is strongly
   advised to verify the privacy legislation for his domain.

   As suggested in "Privacy and Accuracy in NIC Databases" [RFC-1355],
   each directory provider should provide a clear statement of the
   purpose of the directory, the information that should be contained in
   it, and a privacy policy associated with that information.  This
   policy should include restrictions for data dissemination.

   This policy is strongly recommended for the US and Canada and
   required by many countries in the European Community for data

9.0     Data Integrity

   Data Integrity was first addressed in RFC 1107 [KS89], which states
   "a White Pages service will not be used, if the information it
   provides is out of date or incorrect."  Therefore, any production
   IWPS provider must insure that all data is reasonably correct and

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   The Ancillary Attributes of the IWPS person template denote the
   information's source and date of origin, and the source and date of
   its latest modification.  They provide the user with some measurement
   of the quality of data making it easy to determine the owner and
   freshness of the data retrieved.

   The IWPS User Agent must be able to retrieve and display Ancillary
   Attributes.  Retrieval and display may be done as separate

   The Ancillary Attributes are recommended as the minimum set of
   attributes for any new information object template.  Each IWPS server
   may individually decide whether to support the storage and retrieval
   of this data.

   The Ancillary Attributes (also defined in Section 5.0) provide the
   following information about its associated information object:

      1.  The date and time the entry was created; Creation Date.

      2.  Owner or individual responsible for the data creation;
          Creator Name.

      3.  The date and time of the last modification;
          Modified Date.

      4.  Individual responsible for the last modification;
          Modifier Name.

10.0    Security Considerations

   Security is implementation and deployment specific and as such is not
   addressed in this memo.  Security must ensure that the constraints
   mentioned in the Data Privacy Section 8.0 are complied with.

11.0     References

   [KS89]  Sollins, K., "A Plan for Internet Directory Services", RFC
   1107, Laboratory for Computer Science, MIT, July 1989.

   [NADF92] North American Directory Forum, "User Bill of Rights for
   entries and listings in the Public Directory', RFC 1295,
   North American Directory Forum, January 1992.

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   [PA94] Postel, J., and C. Anderson, "WHITE PAGES MEETING REPORT",
   RFC 1588, University of Southern California, February 1994.

   [RFC-822] Crocker, D., "Standard for the Format of  ARPA  Internet
   Text Messages", STD 11, RFC 822, August 1982.

   [RFC-1355] Curran, J., and A. Marine, "Privacy and Accuracy Issues
   in Network Information Center Databases", FYI 15, RFC 1355, August

   [UCS] Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set (UCS) -
   Architecture and Basic Multilingual Plane, ISO/IEC 10646-1, 1993.

   [RFC-1766] Alvestrand, H., "Tags for the Identification of
   Languages", RFC 1766, March 1995.

   [UTF-8] Yergeau, F., "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO 10646",
   Work in Progress.

11.0     Authors' Addresses

   Tony Genovese
   The Microsoft Corporation
   One Microsoft Way
   Redmond, Washington 98007

   Phone: (206) 703-0852
   EMail: TonyG@Microsoft.com

   Barbara Jennings
   Sandia National Laboratories
   Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106

   Phone:  (505) 845-8554
   EMail:  jennings@sandia.gov

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