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approx match names

There is a proposal here at CMU that we try to encourage more hits in
approximate matching of first names by trying to find hits on short forms
of names. For example, if I search for givenname~=Joe, it would be nice
if the server found people whose givenname was either Joe or Joseph. This
will really help with Email recipient name exapansion in a composer's
To: field.  This could also be used in approx searches of the "cn" field. 
Making it work with exact matches would be trickier.

I'd propose that there be an option to phonetic() to check incoming
strings to see if they are a short name, and if so, convert it first to
the long name.  That way all Joe's and Joseph's get turned into
Joseph. When indexing is done, only the phonetic of "Joseph" is stored,
and all searches for Joe and Joseph look there.

The list of short name to long name conversions may have to be site
specific and perhaps even stored in an external config file. Storing them
in slapd.conf might be a bit cluttersome. But hardcoding the set of names
into the binary seems unwise for regional and ethnic reasons.

So I'd like to ask if people would find this useful, and if so, how and
where should the set of short->long name conversions be stored by the site?
Something like share/openldap/nickname

Switching to this system would require reindexing. It could also slow the
server during approx searches if the list of nicknames was long.

-Mark Adamson
 Carnegie Mellon