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IDNs part one: an introduction

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ICANN IDNs My name is Tina Dam, I'm from Denmark. I currently live in LA, working for ICANN. My role here is director of the IDN programme. ICANN is in charge of making sure that the domain name system stays secure and stable We do that by having coordination oversight of different identifiers such as domain names, for example. One of those elements is that addresses are unique, so if I send an email to you, I know that it can only go to one person. It is unique: it's your email address, and I know if I send it, it gets to you. And if it doesn't get to you, I'll get an "error" back. Now it's moved into internationalised domain names, that is one of the challenges that we have: to keep those addresses unique. If you don't know anything about the internet, really - you know, you've never really been online, you don't know how to use emails, and you read an article in a newspaper, one morning, and it's really interesting to you, and you want to email this person, or go to that website or something, there are better chances that you are going to remember what that address is if it's in your native or local language. An internationalised domain name is a domain name that is made up of other characters than what you, from the start, had available. So what you had available from the start was these: A, B, C, all the way through Z; and then zero, 1 to 9, and then a dash. So these are the 37 characters that you could use in the old days, so to speak, if you wanted to register a domain name. So everything that you have here is what we call the "top level": dot com, dot info, dot net, dot org - all of those are top level. And right now, you can only have these kinds of characters at the top level. Now, with IDNs, we're expanding this set, so that you can have... ...not *any* kind of character that is used in languages in the world, but close to it. The goal is to have as many characters available as possible. We're talking tens of thousands of characters. That's one of the challenges with IDNs, because you're adding so many characters to the original set of characters that you could use in domain names, and when you're adding these -- and a lot of them look alike -- you get into problems, with: "Is this really a unique address?" So, I'm from Denmark so I can write in Danish, so you could have this: [writes "blåbær" in Danish, meaning "blueberry"] ... and I'm just going to put "dk." So you see there is these two characters that don't belong to the set up here? That makes that an IDN. You know, you want to see something that's in your own language You know, how are you going to remember that it was this which stands for "blueberry"? You won't! If that was all in Chinese characters and you had to learn to type that in, that would be pretty hard for you too. You know, I'm not saying that people in Japan will be communicating with *you* using a Japanese domain name, but they will be communicating internally, in Japan. I think it's exciting! IDNs are obviously the most exciting part of it, That was it for this time, but just so you know, we're going to come back with another video that's going to talk about how these internationalised top level domains are working. We're launching a test, and we're going to come up with a video that will show you how you can participate in that, and how you can help us evaluate if things are set up in the right way. For more information, please visit our website: Or send an email to: [email protected] ICANN

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 22 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Tanzanica King
Director: Tanzanica King
Views: 8,391
Posted by: icann on Sep 27, 2007

ICANN IDN programme director Tina Dam gives a basic introduction to internationalised domain names and how they will make the Internet more accessible than every before the global community.

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