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 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.


   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: ?
      Please enter a name or a handle ("ident"), such as "Smith"
   or "SRI-NIC".  Starting with a period forces a name-only
   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
   e.g. "ZU..." will match ZUL, ZUM, etc.
      To have the ENTIRE membership list of a group or
   if you are asking about a group or org, shown with the record,
   an asterisk character "*" directly preceding the given
   [CAUTION: If there are a lot of members this will take a long
   You may of course use exclamation point and asterisk, or a
   and asterisk together.

[Page 2]

1 March 1982                                                     RFC 812

Command line: dyer
   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
   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

                                                         [Page 3]