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Re: Public LDAP Servers

Matthew Munz wrote:

Jon & list,


I found a good list of public servers at:


I'm getting the sinking feeling that there's something I just don't "get". Both this list of services and the web portal you created are email address lookup applications. I want to browse the hierarchy from the top down. Is this possible?

To a certain extent. Here's a small list i just found.


Someone else had posted a good web2ldap implementation that had another half dozen servers (of which db.debian.org was one), but I can't locate the bookmark (or the old email) for that page until I get home tonight.

The thing you need to realize is that of course as a user who binds anonymously you're not going to be able to see everything (userPassword attributes would certainly be hidden, and I think it's likely that there would be other attributes (and perhaps also some entries) that are not visible as well).

Is anybody using LDAP in a production environment for anything other than email addresses?

Sure, but email addresses are the most likely thing that various organizations would be making publicly available. (as I said above, there's likely more information that's only available to those who bind to the system using an account/password)

The LDAP-Express site has an "advanced options: LDAP Base" entry field, but provides no suggestions. Now I understand that the search perameters can be entered there in the form "key=target, key2=target2", but how do I know what to enter? Is there some sort of convention for these keys?

I don't know anything specifically about LDAP-Express, but it's often possible to guess the base because many organizations today use the domain component model (for instance the base of the server at db.debian.org is "dc=debian,dc=org" -- leave out the space after the comma). Other people have recommended GQ as a client, I happen to like the Java LDAP Browser, either of these (and many others) can be used to browse the publically accessible portion of many LDAP servers if you get the base right and choose the correct version (If V3 doesn't work, try V2) of the protocol.

I admit that I am a complete n00b, but I need to get started with this stuff and the online resources I have found so far are not helping with what should be a simple issue (connecting to public servers). Any pointers would be great.

If you just want to search a directory, Mozilla makes a good client :)

Could you expand on this? Do you mean using a web adapter/interface for LDAP, like the one you wrote?


Thanks. I'll take a look at your code.

Also, I'm not really looking to store contact information, addresses, etc. in a directory. I am more interested in the storage and retrieval of terminologies. Consider, for example, a taxonomy of birds or anatomy, or a set of legal or medical definitions. Does it make sense to store this sort of (hierarchical) data in an LDAP directory?

Seems to me that might make sense (though I have no firsthand knowledge).

   good luck,