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IETF Glossary

This page provides information about terms commonly used in the IETF.

Glossary items

AD - Area Director

ADs are members of the IESG


The IETF organizes its work by technical topic into several areas.

ART - Applications and Real-Time Area

Protocols seen by user programs, such as email and the web, Delay-sensitive interpersonal communications. More information is here.

AS - Applicability Statement

BCP - Best Current Practice

Blue sheets

Blue sheets are records of IETF session participation.

BOF - Birds of a Feather

A BOF is a session at an IETF meeting which permits "market research" and technical "brainstorming." Often BOFs are held to explore whether an issue merits the formation of a working group. In addition, a BOF may serve as a forum for a single presentation or discussion, without any intent to form a working group. More information is available here.


A Contribution is any submission to the IETF intended by the Contributor for publication as all or part of an Internet-Draft or RFC (except for RFC Editor Contributions described in RFC 5378, Section 4) and any statement made within the context of an IETF activity. Such statements include oral statements in IETF sessions as well as written and electronic communications, made at any time or place, that are addressed to: 

  • the IETF plenary session, 
  • any IETF working group or portion thereof, 
  • any Birds of a Feather (BOF) session, 
  • the IESG, or any member thereof on behalf of the IESG, 
  • the IAB, or any member thereof on behalf of the IAB, 
  • any IETF mailing list, including the IETF list itself, any working group or design team list, or any other list - functioning under IETF auspices, 
  • the RFC Editor or the Internet-Drafts function (except for RFC Editor Contributions, as described in RFC 5378, Section 4).
Statements made outside of an IETF session, mailing list, or other function, that are clearly not intended to be input to an IETF activity, group, or function are not IETF Contributions in the context of this document.


A Contributor is an individual submitting a Contribution.


Copyright is the legal right granted to an author in a document or other work of authorship under applicable law. A "copyright" is not equivalent to a "right to copy". Rather a copyright encompasses all of the exclusive rights that an author has in a work, such as the rights to copy, publish, distribute and create derivative works of the work. An author often cedes these rights to his or her employer or other parties as a condition of employment or compensation.