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Host Tables, Top-Level Domain Names, and the Origin of Dot Com
July-September 2011 (vol. 33 no. 3)
pp. 74-79

From as far back as 1971, the Arpanet Network Information Center (NIC) at Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International or SRI), located in Menlo Park, California, maintained the official Arpanet Host Table. This work was carried out under contract to DARPA. Later, the same activity was carried out by the NIC for the Defense Communications Agency (DCA) and the Defense Data Network (DDN), of which the Arpanet eventually became one segment. In this Anecdote article, Elizabeth (Jake) Feinler describes the organizations and people involved in the early efforts at naming and addressing, in particular the transition to the domain naming system (DNS) and the origin of the top-level domains (TLDs).

1. E. Westheimer, Site Status, RFC 235, BBN, Sept. 1971.
2. E. Westheimer, Network Host Status, RFC 252, BBN, Oct. 1971.
3. P.M. Karp, Standardization of Host Mnemonics, RFC 226, Mitre, Sep. 1971.
4. P.M. Karp, Proffered Set of Standard Host Names, RFC 247. Mitre, Oct. 1971.
5. R.W. Watson, More on Standard Host Names, RFC 273, SRI, 18 Oct. 1971.
6. "A Hostname Policy for ARPA," meeting minutes with V. Cerf, R. Watson, J. White, E. Feinler, and J. North at SRI, 15 Jul. 1973.
7. R.W. Watson, What We Hope Is an Official List of Host Names, RFC 289. SRI, 21 Dec. 1971.
8. L.P. Deutsch, Host Names On-line, RFC 606, Xerox Palo Alto Res. Center, Dec. 1973.
9. M.D. Kudlick, and E.J. Feinler, ASCII Text File of Hostnames, RFC 627, SRI, Mar. 1974.
10. S.D. Crocker, Distribution of NWG/RFCs through the NIC, RFC 95, UCLA, Feb. 1971.
11. V. Cerf and J. Postel, Well Known Socket Numbers, RFC 322, UCLA, Mar. 1972.
12. J. Postel, Assigned Numbers, RFC 739, USC-ISI, Nov. 1977.
13. J.M. Rockwell, "Memorandum for Distribution 535. Arpanet Management Transition," DCA, July 1975.
14. M.K. Stahl, Domain Administrators Guide, RFC 1032, SRI, Nov. 1987.
15. E.J. Feinler et al., DoD Internet Host Table Specification, RFC 810, SRI, Mar. 1982.
16. K. Harrenstien, V. White, and E.J. Feinler, Hostnames Server, RFC 811, SRI, Mar. 1982.
17. K. Harrenstien, V. White, and E.J. Feinler, NICNAME/WHOIS, RFC 812, SRI, Mar. 1982.
18. P.V. Mockapetris, Domain Names: Concepts and Facilities, RFC 882, USC-ISI, Nov. 1983.
19. P.V. Mockapetris, Domain Names: Implementation Specification, RFC 883, USC-ISI, Nov. 1983.
20. P.V. Mockapetris, Domain Names – Concepts and Facilities, RFC 1034, USC-ISI, Nov. 1987.
21. P.V. Mockapetris, Domain Names – Implementation and Specification, RFC 1035, USC-ISI, Nov. 1987.
22. J. Postel, Domain Names Plan and Schedule, RFC 881, USC-ISI, Nov. 1983.
23. J. Postel, Domain Names System Implementation Schedule, RFC 897, USC-ISI, June 1984.
24. Domain Names Transition, DDN Meeting Bulletin 22, DCA, 16 Mar. 1984.
25. M. St. Johns, Phase II of the MILNET domain Name Implementation, DDN Bulletin 42, DCA, 2 Nov. 1988.
26. W.D. Lazear, MILNET Name Domain Transition, RFC 1031, Mitre, Nov. 1987.
27. K. Harrenstien, M. Stahl, and E. Feinler, DoD Internet Host Table Specification, RFC 952, SRI, Oct. 1985.
28. M. Stahl, E. Feinler, and K. Harrenstien, Hostname Server, RFC 953, SRI, Oct. 1985.
29. M. Stahl, E. Feinler, and K. Harrenstien, Nicname/WHOIS, RFC 954, SRI, Oct. 1985.
30. M. Lottor, Domain Administrators Operations Guide, RFC 1033, SRI, Nov. 1987.
31. T. Harris personal communication with E.J. Feinler, on comments on domains, COIs, and net numbers, SRI, 6 Oct. 1982.
32. E. Feinler, "Meeting with Jon Postel," personal notes, SRI, Dec. 1982.
33. J. Postel and J. Reynolds, Domain Requirements, RFC 920, USC-ISI, Oct. 1984.
34. J. Postel, Domain Name System Implementation Schedule – Revised, RFC 921, USC-ISI, Oct. 1984.
35. IETF as a Pentagon thing. H.-W. Braun email response with C. Partdrige, Internet History Digest, 30 Oct. 2001; 2001-October000064.html.
36. C. Partridge personal correspondence with E.J. Feinler, Apr. 2010. Craig remembered the date clearly because it was the date the space craft Challenger blew up, and they watched it on television the second day of the meeting at SRI.
37. B. Kahin, Commercialization of the Internet, RFC 1192, summary report, Harvard Univ., Nov. 1990.

Index Terms:
history of computing, Elizabeth Feinler, Arpanet, Arpanet Host Table, domain naming system, top-level domains, DARPA, dot com, Defense Communications Agency, SRI
Elizabeth (Jake) Feinler, "Host Tables, Top-Level Domain Names, and the Origin of Dot Com," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 74-79, July-Sept. 2011, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2011.58
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