2.1.1 Access, Searching and Indexing of Directories (asid)

NOTE: This charter is a snapshot of the 39th IETF Meeting in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It may now be out-of-date.


Tim Howes < howes@netscape.com>
Patrik Faltstrom <paf@swip.net>

Applications Area Director(s):

Keith Moore <moore+iesg@cs.utk.edu>
Harald Alvestrand <Harald.T.Alvestrand@uninett.no>

Applications Area Advisor:

Harald Alvestrand <Harald.T.Alvestrand@uninett.no>

Mailing Lists:

General Discussion: ietf-asid@umich.edu
To Subscribe: ietf-asid-request@umich.edu
Archive: ftp://terminator.rs.itd.umich.edu/ietf-asid/archive

Description of Working Group:

There is a clear need to provide and deploy a well managed Directory Service for the Internet. A so-called White Pages Directory Service providing people and organizational information, is especially long overdue. While the ultimate goal is a general Directory Service for the Internet, this is too ambitious a goal to be tackled by a single working group. Therefore ASID will keep a tight focus on access and synchronization protocols for an Internet White Pages Directory Service.

Other related working groups will be formed in the Applications Area that will deal with other aspects of the Internet Directory Service.

Currently there are various protocols under development in the Internet that aim to provide such a service: Internet X.500, WHOIS++, NETFIND, CSO, RWHOIS, etc. To allow these services to evolve to a ubiquitous Internet Directory Service, a hybrid system that allows interaction between the various different services is a requirement.

The ASID Working Group will define, evolve, and standardize protocols, algorithms and access methods for a White Pages Directory Service on the Internet.

The following protocols (some still under development, some completed by other IETF working groups) will be considered by the working group:

Lightweight Directory Acces Protocols (LDAP and Connectionless LDAP)

User Friendly Naming (UFN) and User Friendly Searching (UFS)

The SOLO directory access and searching system

The WHOIS++ directory service

The following work items are handled by other groups, and as such are outside the scope of this group. However, their results are important to the development of a White Pages Directory Service, and will be taken into account:

· The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

· The UR* definitions

· The NETFIND directory service

The group will focus on harmonizing, evolving and developing protocols and algorithms that deal with access to and synchronization of Directory Service, both ad hoc and standards-based, with a goal of converging here possible towards a hybrid system that ties together various forms of Directory Service. Clearly, protocol-level integration is only part of the solution. But to keep this group tightly focused, harmonizing directory information and service models will be tackled by other working groups.

Goals and Milestones:

Jul 94


SOLO revised Internet-Draft published.

Jul 94


CLDAP Internet-Draft submitted as Proposed Standard.



X.500 URL Internet-Draft published.

Sep 94


SOLO URL Internet-Draft published.

Sep 94


Stand-alone LDAP Internet-Draft published (LDAP without X.500).

Sep 94


SOLO Internet-Draft submitted as Proposed Standard.



LDAP URL Internet-Draft published.

Nov 94


Revised versions of all Internet-Drafts.

Jan 95


Submit all Internet-Drafts as Proposed Standards.


Request For Comments:







Using the OSI Directory to Achieve User Friendly Naming



Lightweight Directory Access Protocol



The String Representation of Standard Attribute Syntaxes



A String Representation of Distinguished Names



Schema Publishing in X.500 Directory



An LDAP URL Format



A String Representation of LDAP Search Filters



Definition of X.500 Attribute Types and an Object Class to Hold Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs)

Current Meeting Report

Minutes of the ASID Working Group

Reported by: Tim Howes and Patrik Faltstrom

I. Agenda Review/Changes

The proposed agenda was accepted without change.

II. Status of LDAPv3 Core Documents

The result of the last call on the mailing list was reported, and the various minor changes agreed upon during the last call were promised in the next week or so. The group agreed that with these changes made, the core documents (listed below) should be put forward to the area directors for approval by the IESG as proposed standards. The documents are:


ACTION: Mark and Tim to revise the documents (DONE)

ACTION: Tim and Patrik to put the documents forward for proposed standard status (DONE)

III. Status and Disposition of MIMEDIR and vCard

Two documents were discussed. They were:


Two changes were suggested and discussed by the group. The first change was to use the MIME q and b content encodings to encode values inside the text/directory content type, rather than the MIME quoted-printable and base64 transfer encodings. This change was accepted after a short discussion. The second change discussed was to do something better about encoding special characters that appear in a value in a text/directory content type. The problem currently is that there are three levels of encoding possible on any value (transfer encoding around the body part, q or b encoding around the value, and a value-specific encoding escaping various special characters). This seemed excessive to people, and there was some discussion about how the existing q and b encodings serve this purpose. After some discussion, it was left unresolved, and a group of interested parties agreed to further discuss it on the mailing list. [[I can't find the resolution of this one - did we figure it out? -- Tim]]

The second document discussed was the vCard MIMEDIR profile. This document was presented as being pretty stable and having received no substantive comments for several months. The document was accepted without changes, except any implied by
changes to the text/directory document.

The group agreed that after the agreed upon changes were made, both documents should be circulated on the list for a last call, before being put forward for proposed standard status.

ACTION: Tim and Frank to make necessary revisions to MIMEDIR and vCard.

ACTION: Tim and Patrik to start MIMEDIR and vCard last call on the mailing list.

IV. Status and Disposition of WHOIS++ Drafts

Two documents were discussed. They were:


Two minor comments were made at the meeting on the schema document, namely that references should be added to the IWPS document and RFC 1766 for language tags. These changes were agreed to, and it was agreed that the documents should be put forward for last call on the list once these changes are made.

ACTION: Martin Hamilton and Patrik Faltstrom to make the necessary revisions to the documents.

ACTION: Tim and Patrik to issue the last call to the list.

V. IETF Directory Reorganization

Harald started off this discussion by describing the new working group organization, and what it means to the current working groups. There are currently three directory groups: ASID, IDS, and FIND, dealing with specific protocol issues, generic directory issues, and a global indexing service, respectively. The proposed new organization involves four new groups:

1. LDAPEXT: The LDAP extensions group would handle extensions to the LDAPv3 protocol, such as replication and access control, as well as the LDAP API. Tim Howes and Mark Wahl have volunteered to lead this group, which was meeting as a BOF later on Monday.
2. DIRDEP (since changed to LSD): The directory deployment group would handle directory deployment issues needed to provide a working Internet directory service, including naming, etc. Chris Apple and Roland Hedberg have volunteered to lead this group, which was meeting as a BOF on Wednesday.
3. SCHEMA: The schema-listing group will devise a method for listing schema elements that people have defined. It is strictly a listing service, and does not include any review or approval function. Chris Weider has volunteered to lead this group, which was meeting on Wednesday.
4. BD: The text-based directories working group would handle various text-based directory topics, including any future MIMEDIR work, WHOIS++, RWHOIS, and any other things that come up. This group was not meeting in Munich, and there was some discussion that it would meet as a BOF at the next IETF meeting, if need and interest exists.

Harald explained and the group agreed that ASID should shut down as soon as LDAPv3 and MIMEDIR are approved. IDS, which was not meeting in Munich, should shut down as soon as its documents are progressed. FIND should also shut down before December, once its documents are approved.

Following Harald's introduction, there was much discussion and soul searching, both of the proposed reorganization and the pieces people felt were still missing. Only one such piece emerged as consensus, and that was some kind of a schema definition group that could both define new schema for interesting areas and serve an editorial function for schemas defined elsewhere. It was pointed out that there was no working group with this function in their charter, leaving people desiring standardization of their schema at a loss.

Harald agreed that such people should send their schema documents directly to him, and he would serve as editor in the meantime, until it developed that a full-fledged working group was needed. Discussion prior to submission to Harald should take place on the ASID list. The group agreed to this approach, and marveled at Harald's courage.

VI. Status and Disposition of Other Drafts.

Since the other drafts were mostly discussed during the directory reorganization debate, this item was dispensed with quickly.

VII. New Work to be Considered

Several new documents were discussed, mostly with an eye toward seeing where they fit in the new organization. These included:

vCard schema for LDAPv3
Calendar User schema for LDAPv3
vCard Extensions for calendaring and scheduling
MIMEDIR <-> XML mapping
Dublin core LDAP schema

The group agreed that the calendar schema and vCard extensions for calendaring should be taken on by the calendaring and scheduling working group.

The vCard schema document was discussed briefly, and there was concern expressed by the group that the document was, by design, not a mapping of vCard elements onto existing schema elements, but rather the definition of new elements in LDAP to fit the vCard schema. Frank Dawson argued that it was better to change to the superior vCard format now, rather than be handicapped by existing LDAP schema. Several others argued that this broke compatibility and would be difficult to deploy.

The matter was left unresolved, although the document itself was agreed to be discussed further on the ASID list, and sent to Harald if and when it was resolved.

The MIMEDIR to XML mapping document was presented by Alex ??? [[Anybody know a last name here?]]. The document defines an algorithmic translation from the text/directory MIME content type representation of directory information to an XML representation. The group agreed the document was useful in some circumstances and thought this a good work item for the upcoming TBD working group.

VIII. Any Other Business

The meeting was concluded early, with the group giving themselves a round of applause in recognition of this being the group's last official meeting.


None Received

Attendees List

go to list

Previous PageNext Page