Museums wanting customised .museum Internet top-level domain names will be able to buy them by early next month, according to the agency that oversees Web domain names.
In an announcement yesterday, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that it has reached an agreement with the Museum Domain Management Association (MuseDoma) to run the .museum top-level domain.
Under the deal with ICANN, MuseDoma will allow museums and other qualified organisations and individuals to register domain names ending in .museum.
The new top-level domain is one of seven being added to the existing top-level domains after they were approved by ICANN last year. The .biz, .info, .name, .pro, .aero and .coop domains are the others (see story). The existing top-level domains are .com, .org, .edu, .mil, .gov and .net.
M. Stuart Lynn, CEO and president of ICANN, said this is the first time ICANN has approved a top-level domain to be "sponsored" by a group such as MuseDoma, which will have oversight to ensure that .museum names are awarded fairly.
Registrations under the .museum top-level domain will be limited only to bona fide museums, their professional associations and individual members of the museum community.
MuseDoma is a nonprofit corporation established to oversee the new top-level domain. Its founding members are the International Council of Museums in Paris and the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles.
More than 500 museums have already requested a .museum domain name as part of an early registration process that will last through the end of October, according to ICANN.