DirSync for EMail question: what attributes to use for addresses?

"peter (p.w.) whittaker" <pww@bnr.ca> Tue, 18 July 1995 21:55 UTC

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From: "peter (p.w.) whittaker" <pww@bnr.ca>
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To: ietf-asid@umich.edu, osi-ds@cs.ucl.ac.uk, dir.sync-l@listmail.ema.org
Subject: DirSync for EMail question: what attributes to use for addresses?

Various vendors are using X.500 as the "canonical" Directory in their
email directory synchronization products.  Various organizations are
also doing this as part of internal, non-commercial, email dirsync

These various dirsync tools, commercial and homegrown, take email
addresses from the directories associated with various email products,
and write them into the Directory.  One approach would be to first
translate product-specific addresses (i.e.  a cc:mail address) and
translate it to an SMTP or X.400 address which can be used from other
email products.

Questions:  do any of the various schemes currently in use store the
original, product-specific, address in the Directory, and, if so, what
attribute types are people using to store non-RFC822 and non-X.400
addresses in the Directory?

The reason for the question is this:  a user has an application which
obtains non-email-related information about other users from the
Directory; the user is free to enter any search criteria which they
believe will identify other users, including their known email addresses
(for example, this could be a mail-enabled application which modifies
documents based on the delivery preferences of the recipients; certain
users may prefer PostScript for dumping straight to the printer rather
than RTF).

So, the application needs to be able to search the directory based on
email address, and retrieve arbitrary information about the user

For the benefit of the application developer and mail users, whatever
attribute(s) are used to store email addresses should be (relatively)
standard, either by virtue of publication in X.500, in an RFC, or in
industry consortia publications.  This is in preference to using
developer-defined attributes.

RFC 1274 defines several attribute types for storing email addresses,
notably rfc822Mailbox, textEncodedORAddress, janetMailbox, and
otherMailbox.  The "otherMailbox" attribute is a useful catch-all, but
it has one problem:  as a constructed attribute, there is no
straightforward way to search for entries with such attributes
(otherMailbox is a sequence of two strings; the Directory does not
specify how to construct filters using constructed attributes such as


Peter Whittaker      [~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~]   X.500 DS Specialist
pww@entrust.com      [                          ]   Nortel Secure Networks
Ph: +1 613 765 2064  [                          ]   P.O. Box 3511, Station C
FAX:+1 613 765 3520  [__________________________]   Ottawa, Canada, K1Y 4H7