Standard: LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol)

Sponsor: LDAP was originally developed at the University of Michigan and is being widely supported by vendors in commercial products.

Description:  LDAP is a streamlined version of X.500.

Relationship to Records Management: To the degree that a more fully featured standard like X.500 may not be feasible at this time, a lesser means of providing directory services is far better than none. Such services are essential to identify individuals and to provide efficient access to digital certificates required to authenticate digital signatures.

Problems/Issues/Weaknesses: LDAP is by definition a "light weight" standard. Admittedly, it does not meet all of the essential requirements for directory services. That means proprietary extensions will be provided in working products. Proprietary extensions mean that such products will not be interoperable and that agencies may be locked into doing business with a particular vendor regardless of cost, service, and other factors. On the other hand, LDAP appears to provide the most likely pathway to grow into a fully featured standard for directory services.

Closely Related Standards: X.500 and X.509

Links to More Information:

U.S. Federal White Pages

University of Michigan LDAP site

What is X.500 and LDAP?

Active Directory

What is X.500? What is LDAP?

OpenLDAP Foundation OpenLDAP Faq-O-Matic

Object classes and attributes

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (Version 3) Specifications

Glossary - LDAP

LDAP Services for NDS

New Features of NDS in NetWare 5

Public Key Infrastructure

LDAP Schema Definitions for Intranet Mail Routing - The mailRecipient Object Class

A Scalable Directory Schema in LDAP for Integrated Conferencing Services

Schema for Representing CORBA Objects in an LDAP Directory

Schema for Representing Java(tm) Objects in an LDAP Directory

LDAP's Past Shouldn't Be Prologue

DAP as an "Enterprise Directory"

Please convey corrections, updates, or suggested enhancements in this summary to:

Back to FIRM Standards Summaries Index