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RFC 0812

Ken Harrenstien                                           RFC 812
Vic White                                            1 March 1982
Network Information Center
SRI International


    The NICNAME/WHOIS Server is an NCP/TCP transaction based
   query/response server, running on the SRI-NIC machine, that
   provides netwide directory service to ARPANET users.  It is
   one of a series of ARPANET/Internet name services maintained
   by the Network Information Center (NIC) at SRI International
   on behalf of the Defense Communications Agency (DCA).  The
   server is accessible across the ARPANET from user programs
   running on local hosts, and it delivers the full name, U.S.
   mailing address, telephone number, and network mailbox for
   ARPANET users.

   This server, together with the corresponding Identification
   Data Base provides online directory look-up equivalent to the
   ARPANET Directory.  DCA strongly encourages network hosts to
   provide their users with access to this network service.


   DCA requests that each individual with a directory on an
   ARPANET host, who is capable of passing traffic across the
   ARPANET, be registered in the NIC Identification Data Base.
   To register, send full name, middle initial, U.S. mailing
   address (including mail stop and full explanation of
   abbreviations and acronyms), ZIP code, telephone (including
   Autovon and FTS, if available), and one network mailbox, via
   electronic mail to NIC@SRI-NIC.


   The NICNAME protocol is similar to the NAME/FINGER protocol
   (RFC 742).  To access the server:

   Connect to the service host (SRI-NIC)
      TCP: service port 43 decimal
      NCP: ICP to socket 43 decimal, establishing two 8-bit

   Send a single "command line", ending with <CRLF>.

   Receive information in response to the command line.  The
   server closes its connections as soon as the output is

                                                         [Page 1]

RFC 812 1 March 1982 NICNAME/WHOIS EXISTING USER PROGRAMS NICNAME has been chosen as the global name for the user program, although some sites may choose to use the more familiar name of "WHOIS". There are versions of NICNAME for Tenex, Tops-20, and Unix. The Tenex and Tops-20 programs are written in assembly language (FAIL/MACRO), and the Unix version is written in C. They are easy to invoke, taking one argument which is passed directly to the NICNAME server at SRI-NIC. Normally it is best to use the NIC-supplied programs, if possible, since the protocol will continue to evolve. Contact NIC@SRI-NIC for copies. COMMAND LINES AND REPLIES A command line is normally a single name specification. The easiest way to obtain the most recent documentation on name specifications is to give the server a command line consisting of "?<CRLF>" (that is, a question-mark alone as the name specification). The response from the NICNAME server will list all possible formats that can be used. The responses are not currently intended to be machine-readable; the information is meant to be passed back directly to a human user. The following three examples will illustrate the use of NICNAME. Command line: ? Response: Please enter a name or a handle ("ident"), such as "Smith" or "SRI-NIC". Starting with a period forces a name-only search; starting with exclamation point forces handle-only. Examples: Smith [looks for name or handle SMITH ] !SRI-NIC [looks for handle SRI-NIC only ] .Smith, John [looks for name JOHN SMITH only ] Adding "..." to the argument will match anything from that point, e.g. "ZU..." will match ZUL, ZUM, etc. To have the ENTIRE membership list of a group or organization, if you are asking about a group or org, shown with the record, use an asterisk character "*" directly preceding the given argument. [CAUTION: If there are a lot of members this will take a long time!] You may of course use exclamation point and asterisk, or a period and asterisk together. [Page 2]
1 March 1982
RFC 812 NICNAME/WHOIS Command line: dyer Response: Dyer, David A. (DAD2) DDYER@USC-ISIB (213) 822-1511 Dyer, Fred S. (FSD) Dyer@RADC-MULTICS (315) 330-7275 Dyer, Mary K. (MARY) DYER@SRI-NIC (415) 859-4775 Dyer, William R. (WRD) WRDyer@RADC-MULTICS (315) 330-7791 Command line: mary Response: Dyer, Mary K. (MARY) DYER@SRI-NIC SRI International Network Information Center Telecommunications Sciences Center 333 Ravenswood Avenue Menlo Park, California 94025 Phone: (415) 859-4775

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