Introduction to the STD Notes
RFC 1311

Document Type RFC - Informational (March 1992; No errata)
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Network Working Group                          Internet Activities Board
Request for Comments: 1311                             J. Postel, Editor
                                                              March 1992

                     Introduction to the STD Notes

Status of this Memo

   This RFC describes a new sub-series of RFCs, called STDs (Standards).
   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

1.  Introduction

   The STDs are a subseries of notes within the RFC series that are the
   Internet standards.  The intent is to identify clearly for the
   Internet community those RFCs which document Internet standards.

2.  The Assignment of STD Numbers

   There is a need to be very clear about which specifications have
   completed the full process of standardization in the Internet.  To do
   this an STD number will be assigned to a specification when it
   reaches the Standard maturity level.  Note that specifications may be
   either Technical Specifications (TS) or Applicability Statements

   When a specification reaches the final stage of the standardization
   process and the IAB has designated it a standard for the Internet, an
   STD number will be assigned to that specification.

   The existing standards have been assigned STD numbers (see Appendix).

   The standard for a particular protocol will always have the same STD

      If at some future time a protocol is reworked and a new document
      is produced as the specification of that standard and the new
      specification is designated by the IAB as a standard for the
      Internet, then the new document will be labeled with the same STD
      number (of course, that new document will have a new RFC number).

   Multiple Documents for One Standard:

      A STD number identifies a standard not a document.  A document is
      identified by its RFC number.  If the specification of a standard
      is spread over several documents they will each carry the same STD

Internet Activities Board                                       [Page 1]
RFC 1311                    RFC on STD RFCs                   March 1992

         For example, the Domain Name System (DNS) is currently
         specified by the combination of RFCs 1034 and 1035.  Both of
         these documents are now labeled STD-13.

            To be completely clear the DNS "Concepts and Facilities"
            document can be referenced as "STD-13/RFC-1034".

      In such cases, whenever possible, the set of documents defining a
      particular standard will cross reference each other.

   One Standard or Multiple Standards:

      One difficult decision is deciding whether a set of documents
      describe one standard or multiple standards.  In the Appendix, one
      can see that there are several cases in which one STD applies to
      multiple RFCs (see STDs 5, 13, and 20).  There is one case in
      which a family of specifications has multiple STD numbers; that is
      the Telnet Options.

      The general rule is that a separate STD number is used when the
      specification is logically separable.  That is, logically
      separable options are assigned distinct STD numbers while
      amendments and non-optional extensions use the same STD number as
      the base specification.

   Multiple Versions or Editions of a Standard:

      It may occur that the documentation of a standard is updated or
      replaced with a new document.  In such cases, the same STD number
      will be used to label the standard.  No version numbers will be
      attached to STD numbers.  There need be no confusion about having
      the up-to-date document about STD-9 since each version of the
      document will have a distinct RFC number (and of course a
      different date).

   The complete identification of a specification and its document is
   the combination of the STD and the RFC.  For example, "STD-13/RFC-
   1035" completely identifies the current version of the second part of
   the Domain Name System specification.

      To completely identify all of the DNS standard the citation would
      be "STD-13/RFC-1034/RFC-1035".

   One way to think of this is that an acronym (like TCP) refers to a
   concept, which is called a protocol.  An RFC number (like RFC-793)
   indicates the specific version of the protocol specification.  An STD
   number (like STD-7) designates the status of the protocol.

Internet Activities Board                                       [Page 2]
RFC 1311                    RFC on STD RFCs                   March 1992

2.  Why an RFC Subseries ?

   There are several reasons why the STDs are part of the larger RFC
   series of notes.

   The foremost reason is that the distribution mechanisms for RFCs are
   tried and true.  Anyone who can get an RFC, can automatically get a
   STD.  More important, anyone who knows of the RFC series can easily
   find the STDs.

   Another reason for making STDs part of the RFC series is that the
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