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Catholic World News

New Vatican office will control 'dot-catholic' doman

April 05, 2016

The Vatican Secretariat for Communications has established a new bureau, entitled DotCatholic, to manage the new top-level internet domain by the same name.

In 2013, the Vatican sought and won exclusive control of internet addresses that end in ".catholic". (This top-level domain includes the use of ".catholic" in English, Chinese, Arabic, and Russian.) The new Vatican office will be charged with using that domain to "share the teachings, the message, and the values of the Catholic Church with the broader global community in cyberspace," the Vatican announced.

Mauro Milita, the former director of information technology for Vatican Radio, has been named to head the new office, which will have a staff of seven internet experts.

A top-level domain name appears last in the string of words used to identify Internet locations. For example, in this website’s name, “www.catholicculture.org”, the top-level domain name is “org”. This is supposed to give an idea of the general nature of the entity which uses the name—in this case a non-profit organization rather than a for-profit company. The lower level name “catholicculture” is an organizational identifier. And “www” designates the specific computer within the organization’s network which hosts the service in question (in this case, a world wide web server).

The domain name system translates all of these names into the numeric IP addresses used behind the scenes for internet navigation, so that users do not have to remember numeric network addresses such as 208.112.46.215.

The earliest top-level domains were designations such as .com, .net, .org, .mil, and .edu. In recent years, however, their variety has increased, with some businesses placing themselves in a position to control new names for profitable use. For example, .bike and .clothing have recently come online—and now the use of the relatively new .catholic top-level domain will be controlled by the Vatican.

 
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