Workshop: Internationalized Domain Name
8:30 – 19:30, Wednesday, 21 July 2004
Grand Ballroom, Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The IDN workshop will concentrate on practical experience regarding the continued development on IDNs as well as a sharing of knowledge, opinions, and experiences. The workshop aims to lay out the work of the many players, and the related interrelations that is underway to bring IDN's to the user. It is hoped that the workshop will contribute to a better understanding of this international effort and the many disciplines and expertise that needs to be brought to bear on the matter over the next period.
The morning session contains a tutorial that aims to address the basic issues necessary for a better understanding of this complicated topic. The afternoon is divided into two sessions. The first session is concentrating on initiatives from the Asian region and is followed by a session focusing on additional international efforts.
The workshop will end with a discussion-based session concerning next steps and future requirements. This discussion will include open microphone opportunity for the participating public. There will also be Q/A opportunities after each presentation throughout the day.
Wednesday July 21, 2004. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The workshop is a full-day event, it is open to the public, and it will be web-cast.
In order for the Internet to effectively reach a large fraction of the world's population, it is critical that the capability for two-way communications, web and other content, and the ability to locate and refer to that content, be available in normal and local languages and scripts and not only the English language and ASCII script. This general problem, commonly known as "internationalization", involves many issues and has many elements. Ideal solutions to some of them would require solutions to problems of translation and linguistics that are thousands of years old. The Internet may make those problems more visible and intrusive, but does not intrinsically make any contribution to their solution.
This tutorial will cover the range of issues faced in internationalization, including the tradeoffs between internationalization and localization and between localization and a globally interoperable Internet that fosters global communication. An overview will be provided of mechanisms for content internationalization and why some techniques applicable to that problem are inappropriate for domain names and even directories and search engines. It will examine internationalized domain names in some depth, including a review of how they work at a technical level and problems they do and do not solve. It will cover the IDNA technology, the strengths and weaknesses of Unicode as a character coding standard for DNS purposes, the relationship between what is permitted by IDNA and what might (or should) be prohibited by registry or other restrictions, and the risks of not imposing those restrictions. The difference between "script" and "language", and the difficulties of getting precise and global definitions for either -and the importance of either doing so or avoiding the problem-will be discussed. "Character variant" approaches to the avoidance of confusion will be discussed in that context and, as with IDNs themselves, the problems they do and do not solve. The policy tradeoffs between prevention of name conflicts and reliance on post-registration conflict resolution will be also be identified.
There will also be a brief discussion of alternatives to guessing or remembering DNS names (especially internationalized ones) as a means of Internet navigation and the advantage of examining other approaches.
The goal of the tutorial is to identify issues that should be carefully considered and evaluated in making IDN deployment decisions and internationalization and localization decisions more generally, and to provide background on aspects of DNS (and broader Internet) protocols and operations that constrain possible solutions. It will not provide answers, but will identify issues, tradeoffs, and constraints as a basis for local and global policymaking.
Presenters: John Klensin, ISOC Tutorial Liaison, Professor Tan Tin Wee (National University of Singapore), and James Seng, Assistant Director (iDA, Singapore); presentations are viewable from ISOC's Workshop Resource Center <http://ws.edu.isoc.org/workshops/2004/ICANN-KL/>
One of the earliest efforts to develop IDN took place in Asia in the late 1990s. Several test bed projects were set up in Asia Pacific countries with the ability to support, inter alia, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Tamil. Various efforts were poured into standardization from the protocol level to usage level. One typical effort came from Joint Engineering Team (JET) by CNNIC, JPNIC, KRNIC, and TWNIC. Beside protocol standardization, its concerns were especially on the necessary features of IDNs reflecting languages/cultures. Some languages have characters overlapped among countries/economies and some characters are/should be considered to be identical in some countries. Such efforts were reflected on "Guidelines for the Implementation of Internationalized Domain Names" posted by ICANN, and IETF Informational RFC3743 "Joint Engineering Team (JET) Guidelines for Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) Registration and Administration for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean."
This session will provide knowledge sharing and information about the development of IDN systems and about the practical experience in Asia.
Note: there are Q/A opportunities after each presentation.
Please contact members of the IDN Planning Committee for questions and comments to the information provided above. ICANN staff conveys its sincere thanks for the efforts of the IDN Planning Committee members: