Signposts in Cyberspace

Committee on Internet Navigation and the Domain Name System

Publisher National Academies Press
ISBN 978-0-309-09640-9
RRP £30.99
Reviewed by Adrian Hibbert
Score 6 out of 10

SignpostsCyberspace Signposts in Cyberspace documents the findings of the investigation by the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) into the state of the Domain Name System (DNS) which is critical to the functioning of the internet.

As the investigation was cross-disciplinary this report covers all aspects of the internet including its economic impact on society as well as its technological impact. The aim of the report is to make recommendations for the future of the DNS so that it can sustain an ever-growing user base and changing requirement.

As this is an official report the style in which it is written is very formal, and in places can be fairly boring to read. However, the report takes into consideration so many aspects of the internet and its impact on modern society that there is a great deal of information to be gained from its incidental content. For example, to discuss the current state of the DNS, it is necessary to consider the history of the DNS and this is covered in significant detail.

As well as the architecture and history of the DNS, the report covers institutional processes that are in place to control its content. These procedures cover activities such as how new generic top level domains are added to the DSN.

The technicalities of the DNS’s operation are explained with an efficient use of language, which means it is easily understood. The book occasionally uses diagrams to support the concepts explained in the text. An executive summary is included.

Overall, this book contains a wealth of information about the internet. It has something to offer a wide range of people including technical architects and business managers wanting to get a better understanding of exactly what the internet is and the sometimes less than obvious impact it has had on our lives. Although it can make an interesting read, as the report contains no index, it is virtually useless as a reference text.

More information: National Academies Press