Kim H. Veltman

Domain Names and Classification Systems

Lecture at: The First Annual European Internet Domain Name Summit, Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris, 2 rue de Viarmes, Paris 1er, 4 July 2002.

At the moment Domain Names are confusing at best. A typical name such as has four ingredients: 1) the type of server (i.e. www as opposed to an alternative such as ftp); 2) an institution (known in American as a Second Level Domain name or SLDs which we propose to call 2LDs); 3) a type of organization (known in American as a Top Level Domain name or TLD) and 4) a country (in this case France as fr). In the present system these domain names at various levels were conceived before there were country codes and are positioned from right to left in the manner of Arabic. This approach has two shortcomings:

1) if one wishes to add further terms (2LDs, 3LDS) then one has to alter the whole address. This is very inefficient because there is no basic part, which remains constant to which one can add extras.

2) geographical elements (where?) and content elements (what? or who?) are mixed up such that there is no way to search simply for Who? What? or Where? We need a system where these questions are treated systematically (figure 1) Such a logical approach (figures 2) would reverse the order of the domain names and introduce a more systematic order. A first section answers the question How information is transported? Hence, one begins as usual with 1) the system (www, ftp, telnet etc.). A second section answers the question Where? and has a geographical component. This includes the 2) the continent (e.g. .eu); 3) the country (.fr); 4) the institution (Louvre). This section can be linked with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) which can provide tourists with maps showing the location of the Louvre on their mobile telephones and devices. A third section answers the question Why the site is there? It does so through 5) a Top Level Domain (TLD), which identifies the kind of organization. etc. In the new system these first three sections of the address are fixed.

A fourth section, which answers the questions What, Who and When? will constantly have add-ons. This section will use authorized subject headings and will follow from left to right such that one will have 6) Second Level Domains (2LDS) and 7) Third Level Domains (3LDS) successively. How? System Where? Geographical Info CcTLD Why? Category TLD What? Who? When? Subject Headings, Classifications 2LD, 3LD etc.

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