The MIME Multipart/Related Content-type
RFC 1872

Document Type RFC - Experimental (December 1995; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 2112
Author Ed Levinson 
Last updated 2013-03-02
Stream Internent Engineering Task Force (IETF)
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Network Working Group                                        E. Levinson
Request for Comments: 1872            Accurate Information Systems, Inc.
Category: Experimental                                     December 1995

                The MIME Multipart/Related Content-type

Status of this Memo

   This memo defines an Experimental Protocol for the Internet
   community.  This memo does not specify an Internet standard of any
   kind.  Discussion and suggestions for improvement are requested.
   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


   The Multipart/Related content-type provides a common mechanism for
   representing objects that are aggregates of related MIME body parts.
   This document defines the Multipart/Related content-type and provides
   examples of its use.

1.  Introduction

   Several applications of MIME, including MIME-PEM, and MIME-Macintosh
   and other proposals, require multiple body parts that make sense only
   in the aggregate.  The present approach to these compound objects has
   been to define specific multipart subtypes for each new object.  In
   keeping with the MIME philosophy of having one mechanism to achieve
   the same goal for different purposes, this document describes a
   single mechanism for such aggregate or compound objects.

   The Multipart/Related content-type addresses the MIME representation
   of compound objects.  The object is categorized by a "type"
   parameter.  Additional parameters are provided to indicate a specific
   starting body part or root and auxiliary information which may be
   required when unpacking or processing the object.

   Responsibility for the display or processing of a Multipart/Related's
   constituent entities rests with the application that handles the
   compound object.

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RFC 1872                   Multipart/Related               December 1995

2.  Multipart/Related Registration Information

   The following form is copied from RFC 1590, Appendix A.

   Subject:  Registration of new Media Type content-type/subtype

   Media Type name:           Multipart

   Media subtype name:        Related

   Required parameters:       Type, a media type/subtype.

   Optional parameters:       Start, a content-id.
                              Start-info, a string or content-id list.

   Encoding considerations:   Multipart content-types cannot have

   Security considerations:   Depends solely on the referenced type.

   Published specification:   This document.

   Person & email address to contact for further information:
                              Edward Levinson
                              Accurate Information Systems, Inc.
                              2 Industrial Way
                              Eatontown, NJ 07724
                              +1 908 389 5550
                              +1 908 389 5556 (fax)

3.  Intended usage

   The Multipart/Related media type is intended for compound objects
   consisting of several inter-related body parts.  For a
   Multipart/Related object, proper display cannot be achieved by
   individually displaying the constituent body parts.  The content-type
   of the Multipart/Related object is specified by the type parameter.
   The "start" parameter, if given, points, via a content-ID, to the
   body part that contains the object root.  The default root is the
   first body part within the Multipart/Related body.

   The relationships among the body parts of a compound object
   distinguishes it from other object types.  These relationships are
   often represented by links internal to the object's components that
   reference the other components.  Within a single operating
   environment the links are often file names, such links may be

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RFC 1872                   Multipart/Related               December 1995

   represented within a MIME message using content-IDs or the value of
   some other "Content-" header.

3.1.  The Type Parameter

   The type parameter must be specified and its value is the MIME media
   type of the root body part.  It permits a MIME user agent to
   determine the content-type without reference to the enclosed body
   part.  If the value of the type parameter and the root body part's
   content-type differ then the User Agent's behavior is undefined.

   Note: Constraining the "type" parameter's value to an existing media
   type allows the appropriate processing to be identified without
   creating yet another hierarchy of registered types.  A possible
   default action would have the MIME mail User Agent (MUA) to display
   the "start" entity alone when it could process the media type as a
   basic type but not as Multipart/Related.

3.2.  The Start Parameter

   The start parameter, if given, is the content-ID of the compound
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