Searchable Internet Resource Names Research Group (SIREN)



A number of events and technology requirements explored over the last several years serve to remind us that the DNS functions well as the Internet’s system for assigning static textual identifiers to host resources, but functions poorly as a set of user-visible names. Most recently, internationalization issues – the inherent ambiguity of natural language, problems working with Unicode in an environment that requires exact-match lookups, user desire for convenient, natural language names, the impact of trademark law, etc. – have highlighted this distinction. It can also be argued that an entirely different system of identifiers intended for human use is needed in addition to a system that is designed to work well for protocol elements, such as URIs.

This research group is chartered to examine the issues outlined above and determine whether there is a tractable problem that can be solved, and needs to be solved with additional engineering standards. If there is, the research group will define and explain that problem to the extent needed to determine whether a layered and faceted search approach as described in the input documents being considered by the research group, or some lookup approach different from the DNS, or some other approach, represent directions the IETF should pursue, and will make recommendations to that effect.

Some specific questions, as examples:

The output of this research group will be usable by the IETF or other standards bodies if this effort demonstrates that there is standardization work to be done. The solution space for this research group must be within the scope of the IETF’s core competencies.

The research group is expected to be small and very focused. It operates in a closed fashion, and membership is by invitation.



[1] Hoffman, P. and M. Blanchet, “Preparation of Internationalized Strings (“stringprep”)”, RFC 3454, December 2002.

[2] Hoffman, P. and M. Blanchet, “Nameprep: A Stringprep Profile for Internationalized Domain Names (IDN)”, RFC 3491, March 2003.

Input Documents

[3] Klensin, J., “A Search-based access model for the DNS”, Work in Progress.

[4] Klensin, J., “Role of the Domain Name System (DNS)”, RFC 3467, January 2003.


The RG operates in an closed fashion. Interested potential participants should contact the RG chair.


The SIREN Chair is Scott Hollenbeck.


This Research Group has concluded and is no longer active.

The charter and other information on this page is provided as a record of history. Email addresses and links may no longer function.

For inquiries about this former Research Group, please email