II. Statement of Capabilities of the Applicant and Contracted Service

C11. As stated in the Criteria for Assessing Proposals, "ICANN's first priority is to preserve the stability of the Internet" and "ICANN will place significant emphasis on the demonstrated ability of the applicant or a member of the proposing team to operate a TLD registry of significant scale in a manner that provides affordable services with a high degree of service responsiveness and reliability." This section of the .org Proposal offers the applicant the opportunity to demonstrate its ability to operate the .org registry in that manner.

Throughout this document, operation of the .org registry, including providing all associated Registry Services, as defined in subsection 1.16 of the model .org Registry Agreement, is referred to as the "Registry Function".

C12. State whether the applicant intends to perform all aspects of the Registry Function, or whether the applicant intends to outsource some or all aspects of the Registry Function to other entities that will provide services or facilities under contract with the applicant. If any portion(s) of the services or facilities will be provided by another entity under contract, please describe which portion(s), state the time period during which they will be provided under contract, and identify what entity will be providing the services or facilities.

Through its proposed new non-profit subsidiary Diversitas, UIA intends to take over the operating role for the .org TLD. Specifically, Diversitas, with its new management staff and its technical and service partners (described in detail in Section C15) will be the entity performing the Registry Function and be responsible for the contractual relationship with registrars and with ICANN. It will also be responsible for communication and interaction with the civil society community, contributing to the development of .org policy and facilitating its adoption. Finally, Diversitas will be responsible for applying the UIA's understanding of civil society towards the development of enhanced services that address its needs (Section C27), and the "marketing" of the TLD to the community (Section C38).

With ICANN's preeminent concern that the stability of the .org TLD be maintained, Diversitas proposes to sub-contract for three years the registry operations to VeriSign Global Registry Services (VGRS), given the company's demonstrated and proven ability to operate a registry at the highest levels of QOS on a global scale.

VGRS will develop all necessary software and interfaces and integrate, host and operate from its facilities the registry functions required by Diversitas including the provision of domain name registration and associated administrative functions, maintenance of the shared registry systems and the associated user/customer interfaces, main database functions, business logic and other administrative functions for managing the central repository for the .org registry information; DNS servers; and the WHOIS service.

Refer to Section C17 for a technical description of registry operations and to Section C25 for a description of the registry and enhanced services to be provided by VeriSign.

C13. Identify by name each entity other than the applicant that will provide any of the following:

  • all services and facilities used to perform the Registry Function;

  •  any portion of the services and facilities used to perform the Registry Function accounting for 10% or more of overall costs of the Registry Function; or

  • any portion of any of the services and facilities used to perform the following parts of the Registry Function accounting for 25% or more of overall costs of the part: database operation, zone file generation, zone file distribution and publication, billing and collection, data escrow and backup, customer (registrar) support, and Whois service.

VeriSign Global Registry Services (VGRS) will provide some of the services above. Refer to Section C17 for a technical description of registry operations and to Section C25 for a description of the registry and enhanced services to be provided by VeriSign.

The identification of each entity should include:

C13.1 The full legal name, principal address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address of the entity, and the URL of its principal world wide web site.

VeriSign, Inc.
487 East Middlefield Road
Mountain View, CA 94043
Telephone: (650) 426-3400
Facsimile: (703) 421-9887

C13.2. A general description of the entity's business and other activities

VeriSign, Inc. is the leading provider of digital trust services that enable businesses and consumers to engage in commerce and communications with confidence. VeriSign's digital trust services create a trusted environment through four core offerings-web presence services, security services, payment services, and telecommunications services-powered by a global infrastructure that manages more than 6.5 billion communications and transactions a day.

On a corporate level, VeriSign's mission is to "Enable everyone, everywhere to use the Internet with confidence." VeriSign is the world's largest Internet trust services provider. VeriSign supports businesses and consumers from the moment they establish an Internet presence through the entire lifecycle of e-commerce activities, including authentication and payment services.

In seeking to accomplish its mission VeriSign has gained a decade of experience as a pioneer and leader in the management of TLDs as both a registrar and a registry.

Through VeriSign Global Registry Services (GRS), VeriSign maintains the definitive directory of nearly 30 million web addresses and is responsible for the infrastructure that propagates this information throughout the Internet. VeriSign Global Registry Services responds to over 6 billion DNS look-ups daily.

VeriSign's unique ability to furnish, manage, and/or lead personnel, organizations, technology, material, equipment, services, and facilities through the planning, execution, and ongoing operation of the TLD system has resulted in an infrastructure that provides equal, 24x7 access to the gTLD registries for over 100 ICANN-accredited registrars through its Shared Registration System (SRS).

C13.3. The entity's type (e.g., corporation, partnership, etc.) and law (e.g., Denmark) under which it is organized. Please state whether the entity is for-profit or non-profit. If it is non-profit, please provide a detailed statement of its mission.

VeriSign, Inc. is a for profit company incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware.

VeriSign's corporate mission is to "Enable everyone, everywhere to use the Internet with confidence."

C13.4. Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S Number (if any) of the entity.

DUNS: 88-389-4040

C13.5. The number of employees currently employed by the entity.

VeriSign currently employs 3,250 individuals.

C13.6. The entity's total revenue (in US dollars) in the last-ended fiscal year.

VeriSign, Inc. reported total revenue of $983,564,000 for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2001.

C14. For each entity identified in item C13, please state the scope and terms of the contract under which the facilities or services will be provided and attach documentary evidence that the entity has committed to enter into that contract. [ICANN's evaluation of your response to item C15 will be a major factor in the selection of a successor .org operator. We recommend that you give a detailed, specific response.]

UIA and VGRS entered into a Teaming Agreement 13 June 2002. The purpose of this teaming agreement is to develop the best management and technical approach to the .org Top-Level Domain Operation in response to ICANN's RFP posted 20 May 2002.

Under this teaming agreement, UIA has prepared the proposal for submission to ICANN for managing and administering the registry functions of the .org TLD. UIA has collaborated with VeriSign for the purpose of formulating its proposal. Under the Teaming Agreement, UIA will subcontract with VeriSign for the performance of certain registry and enhanced services (see Section C17 and Section C25).

Please refer to the Teaming Agreement in Section C50.5 for more detail.

C15. Describe in detail the abilities of the applicant and the entities identified in item C13 to operate a TLD registry of significant scale in a manner that provides affordable services with a high degree of service responsiveness and reliability. Your response should give specifics, including significant past or present achievements and activities of the applicant and the entities identified in item C13 that demonstrate the described abilities. It should also include information about key technical personnel (qualifications and experience), size of technical workforce, and access to systems development tools.

Union of International Associations (UIA) (http://www.uia.org/)

As Registry operator, UIA - through its proposed subsidiary Diversitas - will provide Registry management and directly execute .org TLD policy management.

The UIA is a fresh face in the ICANN community. However, it is no newcomer to the operation of organisation registries and their management by computer. In fact, the UIA has always operated at the interface between information, its organization and enabling the associations to which it is relevant. This pioneering path was opened from the very beginning of the UIA, in 1910, and brings competences and benefits summarized in the following table and elaborated below.

Features Benefits
Intimate familiarity with the .org community
  • Understanding of the specific .org community needs to ensure that these are addressed and supported.
  • Ability to reach out to the worldwide civil service/non-profit entities.
Extensive registry experience
  • Continued stability of the current .org registry.
  • Capability to support the future growth and size of the .org database.
Corporate stability
  • Proven track record and history to ensure that we will continue to be a reliable entity to support the growth of the .org TLD.
  • Financial capability to support future growth and enhancements to the .org TLD and service offerings.
Policy experience
  • Ability to understand, develop, and enforce ICANN requirements
  • Recognized understanding of the issues concerning the registrant community for .org
  • Proven ability to solicit input on issues, including those of policy, from the global civil society community

Registry Capacity of the UIA

The UIA has specialized for nearly a century in registering a variety of entities of international significance, according to opportunity and within the constraints of circumstances and resources.

Registered Entity


Number Medium Links
International organizations 1910-2002 54,000 Database  137,000
Bibliographic records

(general with IIB)

(conference proceedings)

(publications of/on int. organizations) 










Biographies of int. org. executives 1992-2002  34,100  Database  
International meetings









World problems/issues 1976-2002  56,411 Database  265,300
Global strategies/solutions 1995-2002 33,000  Database 240,000
Human development modes  1976-2002 4,800 Database  16,100
Human values 1976-2002  3,200 Database  23,200
Logos/emblems/trademarks 1997  4,300  Print  
Links between entities  1951-2002   Database 768,600

The key to UIA's ability to thrive and provide a service throughout a turbulent century has been its capacity to design and implement low-cost, computer-enhanced methods that avoid the challenges of information overload. Curiously, the provision of cross-sectoral information with a global focus has proved highly problematic and costly, if not impossible, to much better endowed intergovernmental and for-profit organizations, whose services are generally limited to "snapshots" (not updated) or to single sector, single language or national data.

With the increase in the amount of information associated with the global community of organizations, the UIA has adopted from 1972 a radical dependence on in-house computer systems and expertise. It had one of the first LAN systems installed in Belgium (1984). This system is continually re-specified, developed and maintained to facilitate the management of the UIA's "thick" registries (table above and detailed below) and the provision of services associated with them. As an indication of programming capability, the UIA is currently using a suite of 300 programs within the Advanced Revelation environment to manage its relational registries and export them to other formats for directory or CD production, images in VRML or SVG, XML, etc. The web serving variant, using the same file structure, has a further 170 programs.

The UIA has an international reputation for producing registry products of high quality on a regular basis, over decades, within the very tight production schedules required for low-cost reference book and CD production in partnership with for-profit enterprises [more]. These capacities have been seamlessly integrated with the interactive services associated with the web dissemination of this registry data since 1996. For example, prior to switching to a full online web service in 1998, the UIA generated, for demonstration purposes, over 10,000 interrelated web profiles on organizations, problems and strategies (some in parallel languages) with more comprehensive listings of entity names as entry points - indexable by web search engines to give exposure to organizations and their concerns usually prior to their acquisition of URLs.

The UIA has considerable experience with regard to the management of sensitive registries and the development of associated services in a techno-centric environment. It has demonstrated unique expertise in reconciling the capacity to sustain an information-focused relation with a large number of registered entities with the evolving range of technologies, despite the often problematic political, social and economic environment within which this needs to be done.

Of great importance in taking on the management role of such a critical resource is the awareness, as a result of decades of experience, of UIA relative to the management and strategic issues in striking a balance between rapidly evolving technological opportunities and the legitimate sensitivity of many organizations to being over-questioned, over-exposed, and the target of increasing quantities of unsolicited communications and harassment - as a result of listing in a registry, however carefully it is designed for their benefit.

The UIA sees the need to distinguish clearly between classes of services, such as "essential", "desirable" and "optional" or "registry services" as distinct from "other (non-registry) services. In this connection, UIA would maintain its existing "thick" registries separately from the .org "thin" registry. For further detail on our understanding of classes of services, see Section C25. Whilst explicitly recognizing in its statutes the merit in principle of "activating" the nonprofit community as a whole, the UIA is especially sensitive to the fact that relatively few organizations - except on a symbolic basis - wish to be in any way conscripted in practice into "membership" of larger communities that qualify or distort their individual sense of identity and promote policies over which their own membership has relatively little control. The enabling services proposed by UIA would be promoted and implemented with this in mind, especially in the case of bodies in sectors or cultures that may not identify fully with limited understandings of "civil society".

It is for such reasons that the UIA has long downplayed its institutional role in maintaining such registries. It has instead promoted the registry itself - notably the Yearbook of International Organizations (now in its 39th edition). This avoids any socio-political issues associated with a non-information relationship of individual registrants to the UIA.

Major Current 'Registry' Activities:

The UIA currently handles ten major databases, equivalent to registries, of varying size and degrees of complexity. Most are web-delivered and many are interactive.

  • International organizations: The UIA has an inclusive approach to what it profiles in its coverage of the global network of some 50,000 nonprofit bodies in the Yearbook of International Organizations: Guide to global civil society networks. It focuses on bodies that indicate a balance of activities in three or more countries. However, it extends its coverage at a lower priority to bodies that are primarily national with some international activities. It is especially attentive to bodies of unusual form that challenge any simple criteria: networks, clubs, hybrids, "non-organizations", religious orders, funds, non-membership bodies, etc. It covers bodies with every kind of human activity and concern, provided they themselves are non-profit, irrespective of whether the objective of the members is primarily for-profit. This coverage allows the definitional issues of the subsets constituting the community of civil society bodies, NGOs, voluntary associations, citizens groups, etc, to be answered by users rather than being imposed as part of the registry activity.

Figure C15-1: UIA Family of Interrelated Registries

  • Country participation: As part of the profiling of international organizations, the UIA has, since 1983, provided information on the country involvement in such bodies through their memberships. Some 350,000 links between countries and organizations are currently published in the Yearbook of International Organizations (volume 2) - and on CD since 1995, and on the web since 2000. This information does not at this stage include details of any national counterpart(s) because of the obvious resource challenges of maintaining such data.

  • Sectoral participation: As part of the procedure of registration of international organizations, the UIA has, since 1983, provided information on the sectoral associations of such bodies through their aims and activities. This is published as a form of "Yellow Page" classified guide in the Yearbook of International Organizations (volume 3) - and on CD since 1995, and on the web since 2000. The 800 subject categories are also used as the basis for classification in the electronic variants of the following registries.

  • Problems (civil society issues): Since 1972, the UIA has been assiduous in registering the social and environmental problems that preoccupy international constituencies. These have been profiled in a succession of editions of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. The profiles of some 56,400 problems (with 265,300 links) are now made freely available over the web - embedded in an evolving network of hyperlink relations between them. The information for these profiles is obtained from the documents of international bodies or from others in the public domain. The focus is on profiling the problem and extending the range of problems registered. Links from problems to organizations (and their websites) are given when the concern is specific. Since many of the problems are highly controversial to some, attention is specifically given to the inclusion of "counter-claims" denying the arguments substantiating the problem. This is done to hold the often vigorous dynamics between constituencies within the community of organizations. Every effort is made to embody the language and perspective of the bodies sensitive to such problems - rather than to reframe the arguments within a particular ideological framework.

  • Strategies (civil society solutions): Since 1994, aware of the evolution of the 1990s into the decade of international agenda meetings, the UIA has been assiduous in registering the strategies advocated by international constituencies (having first completed a substantial exercise to this end in 1921). These strategies have been profiled in the last two editions of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. The profiles of some 33,000 strategies (with 240,000 links) are now made freely available over the web - embedded in an evolving network of hyperlink relations between them (over 1 million hyperlinks with and between the Strategies, Problems and associated databases). As with the problems they address, the information for the Strategy profiles is obtained from the documents of international bodies or from others in the public domain. The focus is on profiling the strategy and extending the range of strategies registered. Links from strategies to organizations (and their websites) are given when the concern is specific. As with the Problems register (see above), attention is specifically given to the inclusion of "counter-claims" denying the arguments in support of the strategy.

  • Human development (and modes of awareness): Since 1972, the UIA has endeavoured to register the range of approaches to human development that is often the declared, or underlying, objective of strategies advocated by individual organizations. These have been profiled in a succession of editions of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. The profiles of some 4,800 understandings of human development, and any associated modes of awareness, are now made freely available over the web - embedded in an evolving network of hyperlink relations between them. The information for these profiles is obtained from the public domain, notably on the web. This registry is especially important because of its sensitivity to modes of thinking characteristic of non-western cultures.

  • Human values: Since 1972, the UIA has endeavoured to register the most comprehensive range of human values because of the manner in which they underlie ability to perceive problems and guide strategies in response to them. These have been profiled in a succession of editions of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. The profiles of some 3,200 human values are now made freely available over the web - embedded in an evolving network of hyperlink relations between them. In contrast with the other profiles above, this information is an experiment in responding to the poly-semantic nature of value-terms that is often at the origin of international misunderstanding.

  • International meetings: Since its origins in 1910, the UIA has endeavoured to register international meetings and has records going back to 1607. Since 1952, information on future international meetings, especially those organized by nonprofit bodies, are profiled in the International Congress Calendar in its 42nd edition), of which a web variant is currently under test. This information is made available to support the initiatives of international organizations and the scheduling of their activities. Over 25,000 future international events are currently registered. Prior to the commercialization of such data, the UIA produced bibliographies of the proceedings of such meetings - initially with support of the US National Science Foundation.

  • Biographies of executives of international organizations: Since 1992 the UIA has provided biographical profiles of the principal executives of international nonprofit organizations through a succession of editions of a Who's Who in International Organizations - currently also available on CD and via the web. Electronically this information is linked to and from the relevant organizations.

  • Bibliographies of international organization materials: The UIA has long tracked studies about international organizations by the academic community as well as the key publication series produced by such organizations or about their concerns. This information is published as part of the Yearbook of International Organizations (volume 4) - as well as on CD and on the web.

  • Logos and emblems: In addition to intellectual property issues associated directly with their URLs, international organizations are increasingly challenged by issues of use and abuse of their logos - as well as obtaining guidance on designs as yet unused. The UIA responded to this in 1997 by producing a World Guide to Logotypes, Emblems and Trademarks of International Organizations. This information is scheduled to be made available on the web and linked to the organization profiles.

  • Statutes of international associations: Since the beginning of the 20th century the UIA has been concerned with the highly problematic legal status of international nongovernmental organizations and has been involved in a variety of initiatives to remedy this, most notably with the Council of Europe. As an extension of its registry activity in profiling international bodies, the first edition of a compilation of the legal statutes of these bodies was produced (International Association Statutes, 1884) but proved uneconomical. Links are currently provided to the websites of the organizations.

  • Links: The UIA has made every effort to move beyond registering isolated entities (whether organizations, problems, etc) to registration of the formal and systemic links between such entities. In the electronic form of these registries, these are the basis for a unique facility for navigation between entities in a particular registry and to entities in other registries.

Common Registry Structure

Except in the case of logos, the above registries (and other smaller ones) use what amounts to a common meta-data structure enabling management of profiles through the same application and file structure (linear hash files exploited by an Advanced Revelation database suite, including a web serving variant). Since 1984, the common structure has facilitated a variety of maintenance, analysis, and re-formatting operations, notably for directory and CD production (XML variants), as well as for web serving (HTML) with associated generation of graphics (mapping applets, VRML) and export to third party visualization packages.

Typically the "thick registry" profiles include fields equivalent to names (with multilingual variants), multiple addresses (including electronic), historic and contextual information, descriptive, and relational information (multiple forms). Aside from some 13 common fields of administrative information, each profile may use up to 26 such data fields, with numerous additional symbolic fields (over 600 in the case of the organization profiles). Profiles in the case of organizations vary in size from basic name/address information to in excess of 64k of data.

Multi-sectoral, Evolutionary

As indicated earlier, subject coverage - whether for organizations, problems, strategies or meetings - is multi-sectoral. The registry functions respond to the variety of human activity that manifests rather than being pre-determined by a particular subject framework. For this reason the UIA had to develop a multi-lingual thesaurus that could evolve rapidly in response to innovative activity.

Access Facilitation

The UIA pursues several strategies in relation to issues of access relating to the community of organizations.

  • Enabling direct contact with registered organizations. From its first web initiatives in 1996, the UIA has enabled access by web users to the sites of international organizations by systematic listings of such sites in a manner that ensures that they are indexed by search engines.

  • Enabling pass-through links from UIA profiles. As an extension, or alternative, to information profiled by the UIA on an organization, users can transfer to the organization's own website. This illustrates the UIA's policy of non-stickiness in relation to the data it maintains.

  • Organization password access to own profile and network. Since 2001, non-governmental bodies profiled in the UIA registry are supplied with a password to enable them freely to explore their own profile and that of any bodies with which they are formally associated or have working relations.

  • Bridging the digital divide. As noted earlier, the UIA maintains contacts with international bodies, wherever they may be based, using whatever technologies are possible for the recipient, from post through fax, e-mail and web. The rapid uptake of Internet facilities has allowed the UIA to maintain connections with bodies first made by post. The UIA first demonstrated the potential of Internet use for NGOs from a developing country in Dakar in 1980. The UIA is currently assisting a partner organization to develop a network of 45,000 Internet cafes in villages across the Indian sub-continent.

Feedback facilities and interactivity

Currently any user in the organization community can respond interactively to the profiles in the various databases in the following ways:

  • send general comments on all databases

  • send general comments on individual databases (as indicated on any profile page from a database)

  • send specific comments about individual entries (as indicated on any profile page) 

Registered users can supply on-line feedback on any profile entry through the comment facility (enabling other users to view those comments immediately from the relevant profile):

  • comments may be specific to any part of a profile

  • comments may be about the entry as a whole

Qualified user-editors can edit entries on-line, resulting in modified texts that overlay earlier versions when other users access a given profile. Other users can then choose to view such comments. Clearly the challenge is to find ways to work with this flow of information, bearing in mind the difficulties of editorial style, quality of content, quantity, and the constraints on ability to process whatever is received.

Contextual support for UIA's suitability to operate .org TLD

The UIA's claim to operate the .org registry derives from a coherent, consistent, evolving information strategy dating back over a century. This section gives a sense of this trajectory in order to demonstrate the strategic logic of its taking on the .org domain and enabling services to the .org community and beyond.

The UIA has always operated at the interface between information, its organization and enabling the global community of associations to which this information is relevant. The UIA has a tradition of rapid response to new information technologies as an early adopter of: in-house computers (1972), word processing (1973), computer typesetting (1974), email (1979), meta-data structure (1984), LAN relational database operation (1985), automatic translation (1994), CD-ROM technology (1995), web technology (1996), hyperlink editing (1997), VRML (1998), inter-institutional data integration (1999), online web data services (2000), sonification (2000), XML (2001), SVG (2002).

Most recently innovation has focused on enabling web users to generate, reconfigure and print, from its databases, a multitude of network maps or to view/export such networks through third party packages (Decision Explorer, Netmap). Generically these innovations are possible at the UIA because of an in-house capacity to handle a variety of cross-platform and interface situations, and typified most basically by the early challenges of accented characters. In 1986, as an early example, the main UIA registry product received the UK HMSO Printing World Award for the most innovative application of computers to typesetting.

In the rapidly evolving period of ISP emergence, the UIA was the founding member in 1997 of a cooperative, Agora, based in its own offices from which it provided Internet connectivity to the NGO community in Belgium through a T1 line. Agora was at that time the Belgian node of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). These facilities were absorbed in 1999 into XS4ALL, another community oriented ISP, that itself was absorbed into a corporate ISP that currently provides UIA connectivity and hosting of portions of its site. The online services have however been based in-house since their experimental origin in 1998.

The UIA was involved in the earliest stages of the UN-based Inter-Agency Group on Indexing and Documentation that resulted in the Macrothesaurus. The UIA's early expertise in information systems resulted in its involvement as reporter in two successive consultations in the early phases of the development of UN information systems (Acquisition and Organization of International Documentation, 1974; Utilisation of International Documentation, 1980). The UIA provided consulting expertise to UNESCO in 1984 with respect to the development of UNESCO's in-house country data system, followed by later consultations concerning the feasibility of sharing data with UNESCO.

The original focus on information classification led to UIA involvement in the Committee on Conceptual and Terminological Analysis (COCTA) and the International Society for Knowledge Organization in the 1970s. Association with the early work on computer graphics, resulted in production of a film on Visualization of International Organization (1971). Two decades before the emergence of "knowledge management" as a theme, a study on Knowledge representation in a computer-supported environment (1977) articulated much of the design philosophy of UIA information systems. Throughout the 1970s the UIA was a strong advocate to international NGOs of the new concept of organizational networking and its associated challenges [more]. It was a user of Murray Turoff's experimental Electronic Information Exchange System, funded by NSF, that became operational in 1976 as the great-great-grandmother of all virtual communities and promoted its significance for the community of non-profit organizations.

Throughout the 1970s the UIA was also a strong advocate to international NGOs of the new concept of organizational networking and its associated challenges [more]. It was an early user of the experimental EIES email system funded by the National Science Foundation, that became operational in 1976 as the great-great-grandmother of all virtual communities, and promoted its significance for the community of non-profit organizations.

These different threads had led to contact in the 1970s with Douglas Engelbart at the ARPANET centre in Menlo Park (and even an offer to manage the centre). Engelbart was a key source of inspiration at the UIA, as elsewhere, for many concerned with the development of hypertext and associated graphics in support of knowledge navigation. Contact with that community was resumed through a UIA keynote speech to the Electronic Networking Association: Transformative conferencing: re-enchantment of networking through conceptware (San Francisco, 1990).

The UIA organized the first gathering in Europe of Internet cognoscenti from North America within the framework of a demonstration symposium at the World Future Studies Federation Conference on Science, Technology and the Future (Berlin, 1979) [more]

As an early response to the digital divide, the UIA was probably the first to demonstrate the potential of Internet technology in an African developing country -- within the framework of a meeting of the UN University (Dakar, 1979). In 1986 the UIA participated in the UN University's project on Information Overload and Information Underuse. The intersect between its information management skills and international content resulted in an invitation (declined) to manage the "92" (international) domain of the International Standard Book Numbering (ISBN) system -- as was an analogous invitation to consider management of the .INT domain as first conceived. Registration in the Yearbook continues to be used, under certain circumstances, as a criterion for ascription of an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN).

At the beginning of the 20th century, with a very strong bibliographical focus, the UIA network of bodies maintained 11,000,000 card file records - portions of its archives now being held by Mundaneum, currently presented as being the first "Internet on paper". One of the UIA's founding personalities, Paul Otlet, was intimately involved in the development of the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) that remains an alternative to the Dewey system. The other leading founder, Henri La Fontaine, received the Nobel Peace Prize (1913) for his efforts towards international organization through the UIA and associated bodies. In that period the documentation work of the UIA was closely associated with the International Institute of Bibliography (IIB) founded by Otlet and La Fontaine in 1895. This was subsequently transformed into the International Federation for Information and Documentation (FID), which continues as a focus for the UDC and founded in 1995 the Global Information Alliance (GIA) -- a strategic alliance of NGOs in information, communication and knowledge to serve the world community. The UIA continues to maintain strong links with the library world, notably through a 20-year relationship with its publisher K G Saur Verlag (Munich) one of the principal suppliers of international reference works and itself closely associated with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).

Following its pre-war (very "thick") registry activity on the international organizations (currently being released in electronic form), the UIA produced in 1923 the first registry of all previous resolutions of international conferences - the last occasion on which this task proved possible to any institution until the UIA adopted its current approach of registering problems and strategies recognized by the international community. In that same period (1922-27) it operated an International University for international association executives, participating as students and staff.

In the 1920s, the UIA transferred its registry activity on international organizations to the League of Nations whose establishment the UIA had significantly promoted, notably through La Fontaine.

Historians of hypertext have recently acknowledged [more] the prophetic description of a Universal Documentation Network by UIA's founder, Paul Otlet, as part of his work on the nature of transdisciplinarity, which concluded, in 1935:

Man would no longer need documentation if he were assimilated into an omniscient being - as with God himself. But to a less ultimate degree, a technology will be created acting at a distance and combining radio, X-rays, cinema and microscopic photography. Everything in the universe, and everything of man, would be registered at a distance as it was produced. In this way a moving image of the world will be established, a true mirror of his memory. From a distance, everyone will be able to read text, enlarged and limited to the desired subject, projected on an individual screen. In this way, everyone from his armchair will be able to contemplate creation, as a whole or in certain of its parts. (Monde, pp. 390-391, trans., emphasis added.)

In this light, there is even a speculation that the UIA was itself designed by Otlet and his network as a form of virtual organization [more]. Indeed the 21st century interpretation of the UIA name, points to the challenge of discovering new insights into forms of "union" that are required to relate conceptual or social "associations" of any kind across "international" boundaries that may be cultural or sectoral as much as geopolitical [more].

In 1950 the UIA retook responsibility for registering international organizations in its Yearbook of International Organizations. Its capacity in this respect was acknowledged in a special UN/ECOSOC Resolution 334B (XI) of 20 July 1950, and subsequently figured in successive Annual Reports of the UN Secretary General. The UIA has had consultative relationship with UN/ECOSOC since 1951 for that reason.

In response to the challenges of society, the UIA was generating studies in 1969 and 1970 with titles such as: Improvement of communication within the world-system: research uses, applications and possibilities of a computer-based information centre on national and international organizations and related entities and International organizations and the generation of the will to change: the information systems required. The UIA's continuing dedication to democratic development and the development of information technology potential are reflected in a range of UIA-led project proposals, including:

The UIA has survived in a country overrun by two World Wars, and the following period in which international documentation was subject to considerable Cold War pressures applied through intergovernmental institutions to distort the realities with which individual organizations had to deal. Although the UIA does not associate itself with advocacy on particular concerns, in accordance with its documentalist culture, it exhibited strong resistance to efforts to curtail or misrepresent information from any sector throughout that period.

Underlying this century of exploration is the fundamental question of what to do with information on organizations and issues to enable action for the betterment of society - and how to enhance public understanding of the challenge. At the start of this new millennium, in a version of the knowledge society prefigured by its founder Paul Otlet, the UIA seeks the endorsement of the modern Internet community to continue this work in partnership with the civil society community in the operation and delivery of services to the dot.org community.

Proposed Management Structure for Diversitas

UIA proposes to establish an independent organization, Diversitas, to be the operating entity for the .org registry. Initially, Diversitas will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of UIA; over time it will take up an independent status as other organizations are invited to join the shareholding.

Diversitas will administer the contractual relationship with registrars and with ICANN, communicate and interact with the civil society community, guide the development of .org policy and facilitate its adoption, develop enhanced services that address civil society needs and "market" the TLD to the community. This work will be supplemented by the rest of the UIA Team (UIA and its partners) to whom Diversitas will outsource portions of the registry services and other functions.

Structure and Governance

The legal structure of the new organization will satisfy the following requirements:

  • maintenance of its non-profit mission;

  • flexibility as to legal jurisdiction for operating, fiscal and other considerations;

  • openness to active, joint participation by other important entities and sectors of the civil society, including sharing legal ownership with a set of non-profit organizations in some form.

It will be fiscally and financially transparent and maintain appropriate legal risk and liability sharing.

Preliminary research indicates that a suitable form for Diversitas would be a "social purpose company" (SPC). Under Belgian law, an SPC can take the form of a limited liability, non-profit company with a very favourable tax status providing its activities are deemed "social" rather than "commercial or industrial". Alternatively, a form of European company known as "European Economic Interest Group (EEIG)" is well suited to function as a non-profit, fiscally-transparent, multinational entity.

The governance apparatus will be composed of a board, a policy advisory council and a technical and scientific panel.

  • Board: Diversitas will form an active, highly focused board of directors. Its functions are to authorise overall strategy, confirm and assure management competence and management's fulfillment of the strategy. Further, the board will act to ensure the general common good and utility of the operation as a function of its various constituencies. Concretely this will mean a small board composed of real contributors who can devote the necessary time to fulfill their governance responsibilities.

  • Policy Advisory Council. An advisory council will be formed composed of representative organizations of the various constituencies. Its function is to give insight to management and the board of the changing needs of the civil sector. Concretely this will mean a council or people whose experience, contacts and wisdom can together represent the needs of those sub-sets of the civil sector that we wish to serve.

  • Technical Panel. A panel will be formed with invited participants from the NGO world who will reflect the best of IT knowledge and experimental developments. Concretely, this will mean a small group of outstanding personalities who can keep the UIA abreast of the growing use of the Internet in the civil sector and who can explore with us the real needs as the extent and depth of use increase. The UIA wishes to be proactive in its mission and hence must constantly be aware of the emerging needs of the constituencies within the NGO/non-profit world

Transition Team and Staff

UIA will put together a high level transition team to quickly ramp up and staff Diversitas. The transition team will ensure that there is significant continuity among staff so that the new structure created will be able to take advantage of and leverage the core strengths brought to this proposal by UIA. Diversitas will be co-located with UIA headquarters in Brussels, Belgium to ensure that the new organization will be able to take full advantage of UIA's expertise.

The transition team will be composed of the following three senior people (Curriculum Vitae for all three can be found in Appendix A):

  • Ann-Marie Boutin, President of UIA and Magistrat, Cour des Comptes in France

  • Paul Caron, UIA Executive Council Member and financial and corporate advisor, who formerly held very senior positions in Europe, the Middle East and U.S. for J.P. Morgan and General Manager for Euroclear, a cooperative formed of many of the world's major banks, central banks and financial institutions

  • Anthony Judge, Assistant Secretary General, UIA

Staffing of Diversitas Will Include the Following:

Management (1): An Executive Director will oversee and manage Diversitas and all its various activities. Anthony Judge, Assistant Secretary General of UIA, will be transferred into this position for a period of time to ensure the necessary continuity in the new structure.

Civil Society Outreach (2): A Director of Civil Society Outreach and Manager of Value Added Services will be hired to develop and implement plans to encourage the use of the .org domain and provide international non profit organizations with various offerings specifically requested and needed by them to leverage their activities. Nadia McLaren, with extensive experience working with UIA and civil society organizations, will take on these responsibilities during a transition period.

Marketing is viewed by UIA as an effort to "enable" non-profit organizations around the world to take advantage of various services that will help them accomplish their mission. An integral part of the "marketing" effort will be to gauge the needs of various sectors of the civil society through communications with them.

It is also envisioned that these efforts will be supplemented through some contracting out to firms specializing in this area. In addition, these staff will also work closely with the Registrars in developing services geared to the civil society's needs.

Legal Affairs (1): Counsel will be hired to handle the organization's legal issues, and to coordinate with any outside law firms that are brought in to supplement this function. How much of this function will be done in-house and how much will be contracted out is still to be determined.

Policy (1): A Director of Policy will be dedicated to working with ICANN and the .org community at large on policy related issues. The person will be responsible for ensuring compliance with all ICANN policies and procedures, working with the gTLD Registry Constituency and the Non Commercial Domain Name Holders Constituency of the Domain Names Supporting Organization. Jon Englund, with extensive background in Internet policy matters, will handle these responsibilities during a transition period.

Finance and Administration (1): A Director of Finance and Administration will be hired to help manage all the financial and administrative matters associated with the smooth functioning of Diversitas. Paul Caron (see background above) will perform this role as the organization is established.

Administrative staff (2): Two administrative personnel will be hired to support the organization.

VeriSign Global Registry Services

To leverage their competencies and economies of scale, UIA will subcontract Registry technical operations to VeriSign Global Registry Services (VGRS) and manage VGRS's performance to fulfill ICANN's objectives.

There is no single system more fundamentally vital to the Internet than the Domain Name System (DNS). Since 1991, VGRS has managed the authoritative database of domain names for many of the most popular top-level domains (TLDs) in the world, including .com, .net, and .org. Collectively, VGRS manages nearly 30 million active domain names.

VGRS has deployed the world's most robust nameserver infrastructure unmatched in reliability and security. Made up of thirteen nameserver sites located at topological cores of the Internet, this infrastructure responds to an average of over 6 billion domain name lookups every single day. In recent years, the rate of queries to these servers has doubled every nine months, a strong indicator of continued strong growth of the Internet.

To continually maintain all of the names supported by this infrastructure, VGRS operates the Shared Registration System (SRS). Over 100 registrars access the authoritative database of domain names managed by VGRS, adding, deleting, or modifying domain name registrations at a rate of over 150 million transactions per day.

From the Registry Command Center in Virginia, VGRS carefully controls all of these systems and networks with the most advanced security and system maintenance technology. This secure environment is staffed around the clock to continually monitor the system's performance and unparalleled reliability.

VGRS's highly trained and skilled technical groups are composed of 50 Engineers and 50 Technical Operations staff. The technical skills of this team have been developed over the past 11 years of managing the authoritative database for .org as well as .com and .net. Please refer to Appendix B for resumes of the key personnel.

Separate development and quality assurance environments have been provisioned so that new software releases can be developed and tested without any impact to production or registrar testing and certification.

VGRS has developed sophisticated tools to perform automated regression testing. This allows for a full regression test of the .org functionality in a relatively short period of time, guaranteeing that new releases of the .org TLD system work according to functional specifications prior to deployment. VGRS has also developed performance, capacity, and availability tools that guarantee that the components (including software, hardware and networking) of the .org TLD system meet VGRS's demanding availability, capacity and performance requirements. This includes both the registration and resolution areas of the system.

The following data provides the performance history of VGRS validating stability and reliability of .org TLD that has been the result of the efforts of the VGRS technical groups. Further details and explanations of these statistics can be found in Section C17.

  Total SRS Availability SRS Availability minus planned outages Validation of Zone File Publication and Distribution
2001 99.63% 99.987% 99.99999995%*
2002 99.83% 99.994% 100%

*Over the course of the year, there were 1.8 billion opportunities for error. This represents 1 error during that period.

As the provider of registry services for gTLDs and ccTLDs, VGRS has demonstrated its ability operate several registries, each completely separated by an auditable process.


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