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rfc:rfc4714

Network Working Group A. Mankin Request for Comments: 4714 Category: Informational S. Hayes

                                                              Ericsson
                                                          October 2006
        Requirements for IETF Technical Publication Service

Status of This Memo

 This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
 not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
 memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

 Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2006).

Abstract

 The work of the IETF is to discuss, develop, and disseminate
 technical specifications to support the Internet's operation.
 Technical publication is the process by which that output is
 disseminated to the community at large.  As such, it is important to
 understand the requirements on the publication process.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 1] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

Table of Contents

 1. Introduction ....................................................2
 2. Scope ...........................................................3
    2.1. Stages in the Technical Specification Publication
         Lifetime ...................................................4
 3. Technical Publication Tasks and Requirements ....................5
    3.1. Pre-approval Review or Editing .............................6
    3.2. Preliminary Specification Availability .....................6
    3.3. Post-approval Editorial Cleanup (Non-author Editing) .......7
    3.4. Validation of References ...................................9
    3.5. Validation of Formal Languages .............................9
    3.6. Insertion of Parameter Values .............................10
    3.7. Post-approval, Pre-publication Technical Corrections ......10
    3.8. Allocation of Permanent Stable Identifiers ................11
    3.9. Document Format Conversions ...............................12
    3.10. Language Translation .....................................12
    3.11. Publication Status Tracking ..............................12
    3.12. Expedited Handling .......................................13
    3.13. Exception Handling .......................................14
    3.14. Notification of Publication ..............................14
    3.15. Post-publication Corrections (errata) ....................15
    3.16. Indexing: Maintenance of the Catalog .....................15
    3.17. Access to Published Documents ............................16
    3.18. Maintenance of a Vocabulary Document .....................17
    3.19. Providing Publication Statistics and Status Reports ......17
    3.20. Process and Document Evolution ...........................18
    3.21. Tutorial and Help Services ...............................18
    3.22. Liaison and Communication Support ........................19
 4. Technical Publisher Performance Goals ..........................20
    4.1. Publication Timeframes ....................................20
    4.2. Publication Throughput ....................................21
 5. IETF Implications of Technical Publication Requirements ........21
 6. IANA Considerations ............................................22
 7. Security Considerations ........................................22
 8. Acknowledgements ...............................................23
 9. Informative References .........................................23

1. Introduction

 The work of the IETF is to discuss, develop, and disseminate
 technical specifications to support the Internet's operation.
 Therefore, an important output of the IETF is published technical
 specifications.  The IETF technical publisher is responsible for the
 final steps in the production of the published technical
 specifications.  This document sets forth requirements on the duties
 of the IETF technical publisher and how it interacts with the IETF in
 the production of those publications.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 2] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 The term "technical specification" is used here purposefully to refer
 to the technical output of the IETF.  This document does not engage
 in the debate about whether it is expressed as RFCs or otherwise,
 what "is" an RFC, how to classify them, etc.  These issues are
 considered out of scope.
 The intention of this document is to clarify the IETF's consensus on
 its requirements for its technical publication service.  It is
 expected to be used in the preparation of future contracts.  This
 document is not a discussion of how well the current technical
 publisher (the RFC Editor) fulfills those requirements.

2. Scope

 The scope of this document is the requirements for the technical
 publication process for the IETF.  Requirements on a technical
 publisher can be expressed in terms of both what tasks the IETF
 technical publisher is responsible for and performance targets the
 IETF technical publisher should meet.  The functions provided by the
 technical publisher are sometimes referred to as editorial management
 [RFC2850].
 This document specifically addresses those documents published by the
 IETF technical standards process.  In all cases, the requirements
 have been written in generic terms, so that they may be used to
 express the requirements of other publication streams, elsewhere.
 The list of potential technical publication tasks was derived by
 considering the tasks currently performed by the RFC Editor as well
 as the responsibilities of the technical publishers in other
 standards organizations including 3GPP, ATIS, ETSI, IEEE, and ITU.
 This requirements document focuses on process issues in how the IETF
 technical publisher serves the IETF.  There are related issues
 regarding non-technical aspects of document content that are not
 addressed in this requirements document.  Issues not addressed in
 this document are:
 o  Policies governing the acceptable input and output document
    formats (including figures, etc.)
 o  Policies governing the acceptable character sets
    (internationalization)
 o  Policies governing the layout and style of published documents
 o  Policies governing the contents of non-technical sections
    (acknowledgement sections, reference classifications, etc.)

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 3] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 It is realized that the above policies are also important aspects in
 determining that the final published document is a product of the
 IETF.  These policies are likely to evolve as part of the ongoing
 IETF dialog.  The IETF technical publisher should be part of the
 discussions of these policies and be prepared to implement and
 facilitate policy changes as they are determined by IETF consensus.
 This requirement is captured under the discussion of process and
 document evolution.

2.1. Stages in the Technical Specification Publication Lifetime

 Figure 1 below provides a useful summary of where technical
 publication falls in the current lifetime of a document in the IETF
 standards process.  This figure shows a Working Group (WG) document
 and the reviews including Working Group Last Call (WGLC), Area
 Director (AD) review, IETF Last Call (IETF LC), IANA review, and IESG
 review.  The document shepherd (shown in the diagram as "Shepherd")
 is an individual designated by the IESG to shepherd a document
 through the reviews and the publication process and is often not an
 AD.  The lifetime is very similar for AD-sponsored IETF documents,
 such as documents that update IETF protocols for which there is no
 longer a working group, or documents on interdisciplinary topics.
            Actors      Formal       Actors            Actors
                        Reviews
         |  Author,   | WGLC      | IESG,      |    |  IANA,
         |  Editor,   | AD        | Shepherd,  |  A |  Tech
         |  IETF Sec- | IETF LC   | Editor,    |  P |  Publisher,
         |  retariat  | IANA      | WG,        |  P |  input from
         |            | IESG      | AD         |  R |  authors, et al.
         |            |           |            |  O |
 Actions |  Creation, |           | Resolution |  V |  Non-author
         |  Editing,  |           | of all     |  A |  editing,
         |  Draft Pub,|           | reviews    |  L |  other
         |  Tracking  |           |            |    |  publication
         |---------------| |---------------------| |----------------|
              In WG               Out of WG          Post-approval
             Figure 1: Stages of a Working Group Document
 Note that in some cases a single submission may actually consist of
 multiple source documents (supporting files, code, etc.).
 Under the IETF standards process stream, the post-approval processing
 is initiated by the IESG after technical approval.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 4] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

3. Technical Publication Tasks and Requirements

 Standards development organizations all have technical publication as
 part of their process.  However, the boundaries between what is done
 by the technical committees and the technical publisher vary.
 The following are potential tasks of a technical publisher.  The
 following list was derived after analyzing the technical publication
 policies of the IETF and other standards development organizations.
 1.  Pre-approval review or editing
 2.  Preliminary specification availability
 3.  Post-approval editorial cleanup (non-author editing)
 4.  Validation of references
 5.  Validation of formal languages
 6.  Insertion of parameter values
 7.  Post-approval, pre-publication technical corrections
 8.  Allocation of permanent stable identifiers
 9.  Document format conversions
 10. Language translation
 11. Publication status tracking
 12. Expedited handling
 13. Exception handling
 14. Notification of publication
 15. Post-publication corrections (errata)
 16. Indexing: maintenance of the catalog
 17. Access to published documents
 18. Maintenance of a vocabulary document
 19. Providing publication statistics and status reports

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 5] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 20. Process and document evolution
 21. Tutorial and help services
 22. Liaison and communication support
 For each of these tasks, we discuss its relevance to the IETF and how
 it is realized within the IETF processes.  Based upon this
 information, we derive requirements on the IETF technical publisher.

3.1. Pre-approval Review or Editing

 Task Description: This provides a review or editing service to
 improve document quality prior to the approval of a document.  This
 review process would normally address issues such as grammar,
 spelling, formatting, adherence to pre-approval boilerplate, document
 structure, etc.
 Discussion: Pre-approval review is not part of the current IETF
 standards process, but this concept has been explored in the early
 copyediting experiment.  Early feedback from the experiment has been
 promising; however, the effectiveness of early editing is still being
 evaluated.
 Derived Requirements:
 Req-PREEDIT-1: The IETF technical publisher should be capable of
 performing an editorial review of documents early enough to allow
 changes to be reviewed within the technical review process, should
 the IETF choose to implement pre-approval editing.  For the IETF
 standards process stream, this review should be performed before WG
 Last Call and provide feedback to the authors to improve the quality
 of the documents.  For the IETF standards process stream, the
 publisher should not perform a technical review of the document.

3.2. Preliminary Specification Availability

 Task Description: Some standards organizations require their
 publisher to make available a preliminary version of a document (with
 appropriate caveats) to make the information available to the
 industry as early as possible.  This document is provided "as is"
 after the approval.  This document is withdrawn once the final
 document is published.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 6] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 Discussion: This is not required.  A final approved version is
 available as an internet draft.  If publication can take more than 6
 months, it may be necessary to request that the draft version remains
 available.
 Derived Requirements: none

3.3. Post-approval Editorial Cleanup (Non-author Editing)

 Task Description: Most technical publishers do an editorial review to
 ensure the quality of published documents.  Typically, this may
 address issues such as grammar, spelling, readability, formatting,
 adherence to boilerplate, document structure, etc.  Since any
 proposed changes occur after approval, a review and signoff mechanism
 should usually be established to ensure that the required changes are
 truly editorial.  Since such changes occur outside of the normal
 approval process, it is desirable that such changes are minimized.
 Most standards organizations target "light" editing due to the
 dangers of changing agreed-on text.
 Discussion: Within the IETF, the RFC Editor does post-approval
 cleanup review and editing.  The ambition level for cleanup can vary
 from:
 o  corrections to errors only,
 o  light rewriting,
 o  significant editing of documents with less skillful WG editors,
    and minimal editing when the WG editors were skilled, to
 o  rewriting of all documents to the dictates of a style manual.
 At times in the past year, stylistic editing has resulted in a
 substantial number of changes in many documents.  These changes must
 then be vetted by all the authors followed by subsequent rounds of
 author acceptance and re-vetting.  This can add up to a substantial
 delay in the publication process, which must be weighed against the
 incremental gain in communication improvement accomplished by the
 cleanup.
 Changes to improve readability (or possibly even grammar) can end up
 inadvertently affecting consensus wording or technical meaning.  Note
 that pre-approval editing to some extent avoids this problem.
 In specific instances, it may be necessary to require that text be
 published "verbatim" even if doing so introduces what is perceived as

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 7] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 poor readability or stylistic inconsistency.  Examples of this
 include:
  1. "Boilerplate" agreed on in an IETF working group to apply to all

instances of derivative works (e.g., IANA registration documents

    and Management Information Bases (MIBs)).
  1. Text referring to other organizations' work that has been

carefully phrased and arranged with representatives of that other

    organization to deal with some politically sensitive issue.
 If pre-approval editing or review is done, it may be possible to
 reduce or even eliminate entirely the post-approval editing task in
 some cases.  Pre-approval editing may be more efficient since a
 separate change control process is not required.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-POSTEDIT-1 - The IETF technical publisher should review the
    document for grammar, spelling, formatting, alignment with
    boilerplate, document structure, etc.  The review should strive to
    maintain consistency in appearance with previously published
    documents.  In the IETF standards process stream, the publisher
    should not perform a technical review of the document.
 o  Req-POSTEDIT-2 - All changes made to post-approval documents
    should be tracked and the changes must be signed off on by the
    appropriate technical representatives.  For the IETF standards
    process stream, this includes the authors, the document shepherd
    (if there is one), and the Area Director.  The Area Director is
    the authority for approval of all changes.
 o  Req-POSTEDIT-3 - The IETF technical publisher should exercise
    restraint in making stylistic changes that introduce a substantial
    review load but only provide an incremental increase in the
    clarity of the specification.  Specific guidelines on the types of
    changes allowed may be further specified, but ultimately restraint
    in editing must be imposed by the IETF technical publisher.
    Changes for stylistic consistency should be done only when there
    are major problems with the quality of the document.
 o  Req-POSTEDIT-4 - The IETF technical publisher should exercise
    restraint in making changes to improve readability that may change
    technical and consensus wording.  Specific guidelines on the types
    of changes allowed may be further specified, but ultimately
    restraint in editing must be imposed by the IETF technical
    publisher.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 8] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 o  Req-POSTEDIT-5 - In specific instances, where some or all of
    document text is the result of a careful negotiation of
    contributions (within or between working groups, reviewers, etc.),
    the technical publisher may be required to publish that text
    verbatim.  In the IETF standards process, verbatim publication may
    be requested by the IESG.  It is the expectation of the IETF
    community that this will not be done often.

3.4. Validation of References

 Task Description: Most standards organizations require that normative
 references be publicly available.  Some technical publishers verify
 the validity and availability of references (including referenced
 clauses and figures).  Although some editorial cleanup of references
 may be obvious, the issue becomes more severe when reference links
 are broken, are not publicly available, or refer to obsoleted
 documents.  Such faults may be viewed as a post-approval fault found
 in the document.  Most publishers have the ability to put a document
 on hold awaiting the publication of a reference expected to be
 available soon.
 Discussion: The RFC Editor may put a document on hold while waiting
 for the availability of other IETF documents.  Incorrect references
 are handled like any other fault detected in the editorial review.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-REFVAL-1 - The IETF technical publisher should ensure that all
    references within specifications are currently available and are
    expected to remain available.
 o  Req-REFVAL-2 - The IETF technical publisher should delay
    publication until all required (normative) references are ready
    for publication.

3.5. Validation of Formal Languages

 Task Description: If the specification contains a formal language
 section (such as a MIB), the technical publisher may be required to
 validate this using a tool.
 Discussion: The RFC Editor syntactically validates sections of a
 document containing MIBs, Augmented Backus Naur Form (ABNF),
 eXtensible Markup Language (XML), Abstract Syntax Notation One
 (ASN.1), and possibly other formal languages.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 9] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-FORMALVAL-1 - The IETF technical publisher should validate the
    syntax of sections of documents containing formal languages.  In
    particular, ASN.1, ABNF, and XML should be verified using
    appropriate tools.

3.6. Insertion of Parameter Values

 Task Description: The technical publisher is expected to work with
 IANA (or possibly other organizations maintaining registries) to
 populate assigned protocol parameter values when required, prior to
 publication.  The population of these parameters values should not
 require technical expertise by the technical publisher.
 Discussion: Within the IETF, IANA normally does its allocations as an
 early step in the technical publication process.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-PARAMEDIT-1 - The IETF technical publisher should work with
    IANA in the population of required parameter values into
    documents.

3.7. Post-approval, Pre-publication Technical Corrections

 Task Description: Regardless of efforts to minimize their occurrence,
 it is always possible that technical flaws will be discovered in the
 window between document approval and publication.  The technical
 publisher may be requested to incorporate technical changes into the
 document prior to publication.  Such changes necessitate a review and
 sign-off procedure.  Another option is to disallow such corrections
 and treat them as post-publication errata would be treated.  Note
 that this task is distinct from post-approval changes that might
 originate due to editorial review because they originate from outside
 the technical publisher.  For severe flaws, it should always be
 possible to withdraw the document from the publication queue (see
 Section 3.13).
 Discussion: The IETF allows minor technical corrections during the
 publication process.  This should ideally be a rare occurrence.
 Since any changes introduced during the post-approval phase can lead
 to publication delays, it is important that only changes with
 technical merit be permitted.  In particular, stylistic changes
 should be discouraged.  IETF processes must be in place to vet
 changes proposed by the author, but this is not specifically a
 requirement on the technical publisher.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 10] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 The interaction between the authors and the technical publisher must
 be sufficiently well policed that untracked and unapproved changes
 cannot be introduced by the author or other parties.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-POSTCORR-1 - The IETF technical publisher should permit the
    incorporation of technical changes detected after approval but
    pre-publication.
 o  Req-POSTCORR-2 - The IETF technical publisher should only allow
    post-approval technical changes that have been approved by the
    appropriate party.  In the IETF standards process stream, this
    includes the authors and the Area Director.  The document shepherd
    (if there is one) should be kept informed of these changes.
 o  Req-POSTCORR-3 - The IETF technical publisher should alert the
    appropriate authority when it feels that a requested change is
    suspect (e.g., an unapproved technical alteration) or unreasonable
    (e.g., massive editorial changes).  Further processing of the
    draft should be suspended pending a response by that authority.
    For the IETF standards process stream, that authority is the Area
    Director.  If there is a document shepherd working with the Area
    Director, the shepherd should be notified and kept informed as
    well.
 o  Req-POSTCORR-4 - The IETF technical publisher should ensure that
    any source documents associated with a publication are updated in
    conjunction with their associated specifications.

3.8. Allocation of Permanent Stable Identifiers

 Task Description: For a document to be referenced, it must have a
 unique permanent identifier.  In some standards organizations, it is
 the technical publisher that generates this identifier.  In other
 cases, the identifier may be allocated earlier in the process.
 Discussion: Currently, the RFC Editor allocates RFC numbers and other
 identifiers (the current IETF stable identifiers) when the document
 is near the end of the publication process.  Having identifiers
 allocated early was considered, but a definite need could not be
 established.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-PERMID-1 - The IETF technical publisher should allocate stable
    identifiers as part of the publication process.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 11] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 o  Req-PERMID-2 - The IETF technical publisher should assign
    additional permanent identifiers associated with various classes
    of documents as directed by the appropriate authority.  For the
    IETF standards process stream, that authority is the IESG.

3.9. Document Format Conversions

 Task Description: The technical publisher is responsible for
 converting the documents into one or more output formats (e.g., text,
 Portable Document Format (PDF)).  In some standards organizations,
 the technical publisher may be required to accept input documents in
 various formats and produce a homogeneous set of output documents.
 Discussion: Currently, the RFC Editor accepts input as an ASCII text
 file.  The RFC Editor has also accepted supplementary formats that
 were used to generate the ASCII text (XML and NROFF).  The documents
 are published as ASCII text and PDF files.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-DOCCONVERT-1 - The IETF technical publisher should accept as
    input ASCII text files and publish documents as ASCII text files
    and PDF files.
 o  Req-DOCCONVERT-2 - The technical publisher should accept
    supplemental files that may contain information such as code,
    formal descriptions (e.g., XML, ASN.1) graphics, data files, etc.
    Supplemental files may also include enhanced versions of the
    document containing graphics or sections not presentable in text
    format.  Any supplemental files, barring any changes to the IETF
    process rules, will be associated with the published IETF
    documents, but may not be editable by the publisher.

3.10. Language Translation

 Task Description: Some standards organizations require publication of
 documents in multiple languages.  This translation is the
 responsibility of the technical publisher.
 Discussion: IETF specifications are published only in English.
 Derived Requirements: none

3.11. Publication Status Tracking

 Task Description: The technical publisher should have the ability to
 provide status information on the status of a document.  This may
 involve developing a process model or a checklist and providing

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 12] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 information on a document's state, outstanding issues, and
 responsibility tokens.  Depending on the need for transparency, this
 information may need to be available online and continuously updated.
 Discussion: The RFC Editor currently provides status information via
 the RFC Editor queue.  Each document is attributed a status (e.g.,
 AUTH48, RFC-EDITOR, IANA, ISR).  Items may stay in the queue for a
 long time without changing status.  This status tracking information
 is not integrated with the IESG tracking tools.  Within the IETF, the
 Process and Tools (PROTO) team is considering requirements for
 marking the token-holder accurately during long waiting periods, and
 others are looking into improved notification tools.  Requirements on
 the IETF technical publisher for improved status integration and
 visibility could be met by collaborations with these efforts, by
 providing public access to email logs regarding publications, or by
 some other proposal.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-STATUSTRK-1 - The IETF technical publisher should make state
    information publicly available for each document in the
    publication process.  It is desirable that this information be
    available through a documented interface to facilitate tools
    development.
 o  Req-STATUSTRK-2 - The IETF technical publisher should integrate
    its state information with the IETF tools to provide end-to-end
    status tracking of documents.  For the documents in the IETF
    standards process stream, it is expected that documents should be
    able to move seamlessly from the IETF standards tracking system
    into the technical publication tracking system.
 o  Req-STATUSTRK-3  - The IETF technical publisher should provide
    external visibility of not only the fact that a document is in an
    extended waiting period but also the token-holder and
    circumstances of the wait.

3.12. Expedited Handling

 Task Description: In some cases (such as when the documents are
 needed by another standards body), it should be possible for the
 approving organization to request expedited publication of a
 document.  Ideally, this should not skip any of the publication
 steps, but allocates it higher priority in the work queue to ensure
 earlier publication than normal.  Expedited publication should be
 used sparingly since as with any priority scheme, overuse will negate
 its benefits.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 13] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 Discussion: The fast-tracking procedure is used to expedite
 publication of a document at the request of the IESG.  Fast-tracking
 is generally employed when an external organization has a looming
 publication deadline and a need to reference a document currently in
 the RFC Editor's queue.  Having short publication times would likely
 reduce the need for fast-tracking.
 Since fast-tracking is disruptive to the work flow, it is recommended
 that expedited handling be phased out as soon as alternative ways of
 achieving timely publication are in place.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-EXPEDITE-1 - The IETF technical publisher should expedite the
    processing of specific documents at the request of an appropriate
    authority.  For the IETF standards process stream, that authority
    is the IESG or the IAB.

3.13. Exception Handling

 Task Description: It should be possible for various reasons for a
 document to be withdrawn from publication or the publication to be
 put on hold.  Reasons for this could be due to an appeals process,
 detection of a serious technical flaw, or determination that the
 document is unsuitable for publication.
 Discussion: For various reasons, a document can be withdrawn before
 publication.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-EXCEPTIONS-1 - The IETF technical publisher should permit
    documents to be withdrawn from publication at the direction of an
    appropriate authority.  For the IETF standards process stream,
    that authority is the IESG.
 o  Req-EXCEPTIONS-2 - The IETF technical publisher should permit
    documents to be put on hold awaiting the outcome of an appeal at
    the direction of an appropriate authority.  For the IETF standards
    process stream, that authority is the IESG.

3.14. Notification of Publication

 Task Description: The technical publisher should provide a mechanism
 for alerting the community at large of the availability of published
 documents.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 14] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 Discussion: The RFC Editor notifies the community of document
 publication on the rfc-dist and ietf-announce mailing lists.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-PUBNOTIFY-1 - The IETF technical publisher should announce the
    availability of published documents.

3.15. Post-publication Corrections (errata)

 Task Description: If corrections are identified after publication,
 the technical publisher should be able to publish errata that can be
 linked with the original document.
 Discussion: The RFC Editor maintains a list of errata.  Pointers to
 relevant errata are presented as output from the RFC Editor search
 engine.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-ERRATA-1 - The IETF technical publisher should maintain errata
    for published documents.  The process for review, updating, and
    approval of errata for IETF documents will be defined by the IETF.
 o  Req-ERRATA-2 - The IETF technical publisher should provide
    information on relevant errata as part of the information
    associated with an RFC.

3.16. Indexing: Maintenance of the Catalog

 Task Description: The technical publisher normally provides and
 maintains the master catalog of publications of that organization.
 As the publishers of the organization's output, the technical
 publisher is expected to be the definitive source of publications and
 the maintainer of the database of published documents.  This also
 includes the cataloging and storage of meta-information associated
 with documents such as their history, status (e.g., updated,
 obsoleted), document categories (e.g., standard, draft standard,
 BCP).
 Discussion: The RFC Editor maintains the catalog.  The RFC Editor is
 also responsible for the permanent archival of specifications.
 Meta-information associated with an RFC should also be maintained.
 Since this is the definitive archive, sufficient security should be
 in place to prevent tampering with approved documents.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 15] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-INDEX-1 - The IETF technical publisher should maintain the
    index of all IETF published documents.  It is desirable that the
    interface to the index be documented to facilitate tools
    development.
 o  Req-INDEX-2 - The IETF technical publisher should provide the
    permanent archive for published documents.
 o  Req-INDEX-3 - Meta-information associated with a published
    document must be stored and updated as its status changes.
 o  Req-INDEX-4 - The archive must be sufficiently secure to prevent
    the modification of published documents by external parties.
 o  Req-INDEX-5 - The IETF technical publisher should provide the
    permanent archive of any source documents associated with a
    published specification.
 o  Req-INDEX-6 - An appropriate authority can indicate to the
    publisher that it should change the status of a document (e.g., to
    Historical) and this should be reflected in the index.  For the
    IETF standards process stream, the indicating authority is the
    IESG.

3.17. Access to Published Documents

 Task Description: The technical publisher should facilitate access to
 the documents published.  It is assumed that the technical publisher
 will provide online tools to search for and find information within
 the archive of published documents.  These access tools should
 facilitate understanding the state of the document (e.g.,
 identification of replacement or updated documents, linkage to
 pertinent errata).
 Discussion: Documents and status may be accessed via the RFC Editor's
 web page.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-PUBACCESS-1 - The IETF technical publisher should provide
    search tools for finding and retrieving published documents.
 o  Req-PUBACCESS-2 - The IETF technical publisher tool should return
    relevant meta-information associated with a published document
    (e.g., category of document, type of standard (if standards

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 16] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

    track), obsoleted by or updated by information, associated
    errata).
 o  Req-PUBACCESS-3  - The IETF technical publication search tools
    should be integrated with the IETF search tools.  For the IETF
    standards process stream, this refers to integration with the
    search tools used by the IETF standards process.

3.18. Maintenance of a Vocabulary Document

 Task Description: Some standards organizations require the technical
 publisher to maintain a publicly available vocabulary document or
 database containing common terms and acronyms.  The goal is to
 provide consistency of terminology between documents.
 Discussion: The RFC Editor does not maintain a public document or
 database of terms or acronyms.
 Derived Requirements: none

3.19. Providing Publication Statistics and Status Reports

 Task Description: The technical publisher may be required to
 periodically or continuously measure its performance.  In many
 standards organizations, performance targets are set in terms of
 timeliness, throughput, etc.
 Discussion: The IETF technical publisher currently provides monthly
 statistics on arrivals and completions of documents by category.  In
 addition, a status report is provided at each IETF meeting.  Other
 statistics can be used to judge the health of the editing process.
 Many of these statistics could be gathered using sampling techniques
 to avoid excessive load on the technical publisher.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-STATS-1 - The IETF technical publisher should provide publicly
    available monthly statistics on average queue times and documents
    processed.  The presentation should provide a historical context
    to identify trends (see Goal-THROUGHPUT-1).  For the IETF
    standards process, this should include queue arrivals,
    completions, documents in the queue, and the number of documents
    in each state at the end of the month.
 o  Req-STATS-2 - The IETF technical publisher should provide periodic
    status reports at the IETF meetings to apprise the community of
    its work and performance.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 17] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 o  Req-STATS-3 - The IETF technical publisher should provide publicly
    available monthly statistics on the types of editorial corrections
    being found during reviews as well as the percentage of
    corrections that are rejected by the authors.
 o  Req-STATS-4 - The IETF technical publisher should provide publicly
    available monthly statistics on author-requested changes to
    documents under publication.  This statistic should also include
    changes required by other authorities outside of the technical
    publisher empowered to make changes.  For the IETF standards
    process, the designated authority would be the IESG or its
    designees.

3.20. Process and Document Evolution

 Task Description: The guidelines and rules for an organization's
 publication output will change over time.  New sections will be added
 to documents, styles and conventions will change, boilerplate will be
 changed, etc.  Similarly, the specific processes for publication of a
 specification will change.  The technical publisher is expected to be
 involved in these discussions and accommodate these changes as
 required.
 Discussion: Over time, the IETF consensus on what should be in a
 published document has changed.  Processes interfacing with the
 publisher have also changed.  Such changes are likely to continue in
 the future.  The RFC Editor has been involved in such discussions and
 provided guides, policies, faqs, etc. to document the current
 expectations on published documents.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-PROCESSCHG-1 - The IETF technical publisher should participate
    in the discussions of changes to author guidelines and publication
    process changes.
 o  Req-PROCESSCHG-2 - The IETF technical publisher should participate
    in and support process experiments involving the technical
    publication process.

3.21. Tutorial and Help Services

 Task Description: The technical publisher may be required to provide
 tutorials, mentoring, help desks, online tools, etc. to facilitate
 smooth interaction with the technical publisher and to increase the
 IETF community's awareness of document guidelines, procedures, etc.
 In many organizations, the publisher maintains a style manual giving
 explicit guidance to authors on how to write a specification.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 18] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 Discussion: Guidelines are provided to the authors on how to write an
 RFC as well as occasional tutorial presentations.  The RFC Editor
 provides a help desk at IETF meetings.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-PUBHELP-1 - The IETF technical publisher should provide and
    maintain documentation giving guidance to authors on the layout,
    structure, expectations, etc. required to develop documents
    suitable for publication.  For the IETF standards process stream,
    the technical publisher should follow IESG guidance in specifying
    documentation guidelines.
 o  Req-PUBHELP-2 - The IETF technical publisher should provide
    tutorials to the IETF community to educate authors on the
    processes and expectations of the IETF technical publisher.
 o  Req-PUBHELP-3 - The IETF technical publisher should provide a
    contact email address and correspond as required to progress the
    publication work.  The publisher should address queries from both
    inside and outside of the IETF community.
 o  Req-PUBHELP-4 - The IETF technical publisher should provide a help
    desk at IETF meetings.

3.22. Liaison and Communication Support

 Task Description: It is very valuable for the technical publisher of
 an organization to have good information and communication about the
 work streams that will result in publication streams.  In order to
 ensure a wide communication channel for the work, the technical
 publisher holds a liaison position on the IESG, where there can be
 valuable give-and-take about matters concerning the IETF standards
 stream.
 Discussion: The RFC Editor currently maintains a liaison position
 with the IESG.  Although not specifically addressed in these
 requirements, the RFC Editor also maintains a liaison position toward
 the IAB.
 Derived Requirements:
 o  Req-LIAISON-1 - Through a liaison participant, the technical
    publisher should take part in meetings and activities as required
    in order to be aware of ongoing activities related to the work
    streams.  For the IETF standards stream the technical publisher
    should participate in IESG formal meetings, IESG face-to-face
    activities at IETF, and other activities such as retreats.

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4. Technical Publisher Performance Goals

 Technical publishers are typically measured not only on what they do
 but how well they perform the tasks.  The expectations in this
 section are treated as goals instead of requirements because:
  1. Achieving a given level of performance is not totally under the

control of the technical publisher. Publication is a process and

    the goals are of the process, not just the publisher.
  1. The actual performance objectives will be set contractually. The

values herein represent values that the IETF community feels are

    desirable and reasonable for work progress without consideration
    of financial or other factors.
 Goals are set forth in the following areas:
 1. Publication timeframes
 2. Publication throughput

4.1. Publication Timeframes

 Goal Description: This is a measure of the time from entry into the
 RFC Editor queue until the documents are published.  The metrics are
 defined in (req-STATS-1).
 Discussion: Long publication times create both internal and external
 difficulties.  Internal difficulties include the migration of authors
 to other activities and the accumulation of tempting post-approval
 fixes to be added to the document.  External difficulties include the
 inability of other standards organizations to reference IETF
 publications for lack of an RFC number.
 Derived Goals:
 o  Goal-TIMEFRAMES-1 - The consensus of the IETF community is that an
    average publication time of under a month is desirable.  It is
    understood that in some cases there will be delays outside of the
    publisher's control.  The actual performance targets and metrics
    are expected to be determined as part of the contract negotiation
    process.
 o  Goal-TIMEFRAMES-2 - The consensus of the IETF community is that
    the time required for a pre-approval review should be under 10
    days.  The actual performance targets and metrics are expected to
    be determined as part of the contract negotiation process.

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4.2. Publication Throughput

 Goal Description: The number of documents published during a given
 time period is a measure of publisher throughput.  Some publishers
 also provide the data in terms of pages produced.  The counts should
 be separated by categories of documents.  The metrics are defined in
 (req-STATS-1).
 Discussion: The RFC Editor currently provides monthly statistics on
 the arrival and completion of documents into the RFC queue.  This is
 sorted by category of document.  This provides a measure of the
 delays in the publication process.
 Derived Goals:
 o  Goal-THROUGHPUT-1 - Although minor variations are expected, there
    should be no long-term growth trend in the length of the
    publication queue.  The actual performance targets and metrics are
    expected to be determined as part of the contract negotiation
    process.

5. IETF Implications of Technical Publication Requirements

 Requirements on the technical publication process have so far been
 stated in terms of requirements on the technical publisher.  However,
 it must be recognized that many of these requirements have
 implications for the processes and tools within the IETF itself.  It
 is anticipated that these processes will be documented in companion
 documents.
 The following is a list of potential issues that should be addressed
 within the IETF based on the requirements applied to the technical
 publisher:
 o  Pre- vs. Post-approval Editing: If emphasis switches from post-
    approval editing to pre-approval editing, then IETF processes must
    be adapted to make use of this service.  The processes for post-
    approval editing can also be streamlined.
 o  Post-approval Editorial Cleanup: The IETF must define under what
    conditions the publisher should be instructed to bypass or
    minimize post-approval editing.
 o  Approval of Post-approval, Pre-publication Technical Corrections:
    Since the technical publisher can only accept approved changes, it
    must be clear who is allowed to approve technical changes.  This
    process within the IETF needs to be decided and documented.

Mankin & Hayes Informational [Page 21] RFC 4714 IETF Technical Publisher Requirements October 2006

 o  Allocation of Permanent Stable Identifiers: The IETF needs to
    clearly identify the naming/numbering schemes and classes of
    documents to which those names and numbers apply.  Furthermore,
    the responsibility for allocation of those names/numbers needs to
    be identified.
 o  Expedited Handling: If publication timelines can be reduced
    sufficiently, then expedited handling may no longer be needed.
 o  Post-publication Corrections: Appropriate processes must be
    defined with the IETF to ensure that errata are appropriately
    vetted and authorized.
 o  Indexing: Appropriate processes must be defined within the IETF to
    decide and inform the technical publisher of status changes to
    published documents as the result of an appeal, legal action, or
    some other procedural action.

6. IANA Considerations

 Any new requirements that result from this discussion need to be
 reviewed by IANA and the IETF to understand to what extent, if any,
 the work flow of the documents through IANA is affected.
 Interactions with IANA on population of parameter values is discussed
 in Section 3.6.

7. Security Considerations

 There is a tussle between the sought-for improvements in readability
 and the specific language that has often been negotiated carefully
 for the security content of IETF documents.  As with other text,
 extreme caution is needed in modifying any text in the security
 considerations.  This issue is assumed to have been dealt with under
 Section 3.3.
 The processes for the publication of documents should prevent the
 introduction of unapproved changes (see Section 3.7).  Since the IETF
 publisher maintains the index of publications, sufficient security
 should be in place to prevent these published documents from being
 changed by external parties (see Section 3.16)

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8. Acknowledgements

 Bert Wijnen has provided input on the early copyedit experiment and
 made useful comments throughout the document.  Leslie Daigle has
 contributed strongly to this text.  Thanks to Steve Barclay, John
 Meredith, Yvette Ho Sang, and Sami Trabulsi for discussions of the
 publication practices of ATIS, ETSI, IEEE, and ITU.  Other
 acknowledgements to date: a discussion on the wg chairs mailing list,
 Henning Schulzrinne, and Henrik Levkowetz.

9. Informative References

 [RFC2850] Internet Architecture Board and B. Carpenter, "Charter of
           the Internet Architecture Board (IAB)", BCP 39, RFC 2850,
           May 2000.

Authors' Addresses

 Allison Mankin
 Bethesda, MD
 USA
 Phone: +1 301 728 7199
 EMail: mankin@psg.com
 URI: http://www.psg.com/~mankin/
 Stephen Hayes
 Ericsson
 3634 Long Prairie Rd.
 Ste 108-125
 Flower Mound, TX 75022
 USA
 Phone: +1 469 360 8500
 EMail: stephen.hayes@ericsson.com

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Full Copyright Statement

 Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2006).
 This document is subject to the rights, licenses and restrictions
 contained in BCP 78, and except as set forth therein, the authors
 retain all their rights.
 This document and the information contained herein are provided on an
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 Copies of IPR disclosures made to the IETF Secretariat and any
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 The IETF invites any interested party to bring to its attention any
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Acknowledgement

 Funding for the RFC Editor function is provided by the IETF
 Administrative Support Activity (IASA).

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