Notifications and Acknowledgements Requirements (notary)

Status: Concluded November, 1995 
 Harald Alvestrand 
 Ned Freed 
Description of Working Group:
The purpose of the NOTARY Working Group is to give the Internet e-mail
user better tools to build a system where the sender of a message can
find out what happened to it.
Work items for this group:
- Specify a reporting format that can be used for delivery,
non-delivery and receipt reports. The format should conform to MIME,
and be at least as informative as current examples of non-standardized
non-delivery notifications. This format should be usable as-is in
current e-mail products to replace the current, non-standardized and
sometimes quite cryptic textual non-delivery reports.  The drafts by
Keith Moore and Greg Vaudreuil are taken as a working basis.  (See
the document list below for details.)
- Specify a way for the sender to request that positive delivery
reports be generated for a message sent via SMTP. The draft by
Keith Moore is taken as a working basis.
- Generate an Informational document that gives advice on how to handle
delivery notifications (positive and negative) and requests for them at
boundaries to other mail systems, such as X.400 and PC LANs.
Relationship to X.400 and X.400 gateways:
While the intent of this work includes specification of an
acknowledgement system that can be translated to work across the
821/822/MIME to X.400 boundary, the effort will focus on design from
the former standpoint.  That will be followed by changes to the
successor of RFC 1327 to match these features, but those changes will be
made as part of the RFC 1327 revision process, not by this working 
Of course, if any features specified by this working group turn out to 
impossible to accomodate in the RFC 1327 revision, that would be cause 
reviewing both sets of specifications.
Additional items not on the agenda of this working group:
- Specification of a way in which the sender can request that a receipt
notification (``the recipient has read this message'') be sent upon
receipt of the message. The document should identify the controversial
aspects of such a function, and should attempt to specify the function
in a way that minimizes surprise at both the sending and receiving end,
even in the face of varying local policies.
However, the group will, as part of its work, make a recommendation to
the IESG where and how such work should be tackled.

Request for Comments:

  • RFC1891 SMTP Service Extension for Delivery Status Notifications (Proposed Standard)
  • RFC1892 The Multipart/Report Content Type for the Reporting of Mail System Administrative Messages (Proposed Standard)
  • RFC1893 Enhanced Mail System Status Codes (Proposed Standard)
  • RFC1894 An Extensible Message Format for Delivery Status Notifications (Proposed Standard)