Internationalized access to domain names: a review of methods and issues
Purpose ‐ This article aims to understand the opportunities as well as the challenges posed by the methods for internationalized access to domain names. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper first provides background information on how domain names are resolved in the domain name system (DNS). It then reviews the various methods for internationalized access to domain names with a focus on their technical implementation and potential problems. Finally, it discusses several important language and policy issues surrounding the methods. Findings ‐ The methods proposed for internationalized access to domain names can be classified into two groups: ASCII-compatible encoding; and multilingual keywords. ASCII-compatible encoding methods, such as the internationalized domain name (IDN) standards specified by the internet engineering task force, seem technically sound since they do not affect existing DNS operations, but they have some structural limitations. Multilingual keyword methods are rather simple and intuitive to use but they are not compatible with one another and so may return different results from the same multilingual keyword query. Also, both ASCII-compatible encoding and multilingual keyword methods can raise some important issues associated with languages and policies, such as linguistic problems, disputes over IDNs, and multilingual homographs. Originality/value ‐ The issues discussed in this paper need to be addressed for broad and seamless implementation of the methods for internationalized access to domain names across various languages. The review of the methods and associated issues can prove helpful to those from internet users and domain name registrants to domain name registries and registrars.
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