This post describes a forthcoming 1-day workshop on "IDCC11 Workshop: Domain names and persistence" which is being held at the forthcoming IDCC Conference in Bristol on 8 December 2011.
Many JISC-funded projects are involved in the development of important aspects of the technological infrastructure which will support teaching and learning, research and administrative activities across the sector. Other projects may be developing digital content for use across the sector.
But how robust if the technical infrastructure and how sustainable with the content and the services be? Such issues will be dependent on factors such as standards which are used and sustainable business models. But an additional important factor is the persistency of Internet domain names.
The seventh IDCC (International Digital Curation Conference) is taking place in Bristol on 5-7 December 2011. The accompanying series of co-located events includes a one-day workshop on Domain names and persistence.
As described in the workshop description:
The vulnerability of any digital material to unexpected or unintended changes in Internet domain name assignment, and hence to the outcome of domain name resolution, is widely recognised. The fact that domain names are not permanently assigned is regularly cited as one of the main reasons why
http: URIs cannot be regarded as persistent identifiers over the long term.
However, the claim that
http: URIs are considered inadequately persistent is belied by widespread reliance on them in digital material that will undoubtedly persist, such as technical standards and research articles. As this practice continues - and it certainly will - it will become increasingly important as a matter of clarity, trust, and integrity to align Web governance, which currently specifies potential impermanence for domain name assignments, with practice. Either it needs to be brought about that at least some domain name assignments are universally recognised as persistent, and hence at least that vulnerability to
http: URI persistence removed for URIs using them, or a credible alternative must be supplied. But attempts to establish permanent actionable URIs outside of the
http: URI scheme have met with little success. It is therefore necessary to investigate the prospects for universal recognition of at least some permanent domain names.
The workshop organisers are invited presentations on any subject relevant to the problem of domain name persistence, including, but not limited to:
- Better characterisation of the problem(s) (or denial that there are any)
- Is leasing vs. owning the source of the problem? What would owning a domain name even mean?
- What other managed naming systems are there, and how well do they persist (or fail to)?
- Accounts of experience with problems or solutions
- Relationship of long-term domain name persistence to domain name continuity management, that is, provision for catastrophic loss of the ability to host a domain due to natural disaster, civil unrest or government action
- Domain name ownership information archiving
- Places to look for solutions
- Creating parallel/alternative domain (or whole URI) lookup mechanisms
- Creating a top-level domain (TLD) within which different persistence guarantees would be expected/enforced (how?)
- Changing the rules (how?) so that e.g. standards bodies could give more credible persistence guarantees
- Domain name insurance schemes
- Mutual aid pacts
Attendance at the workshop costs £80 and bookings can be made on the IDCC 2011 conference website.