NUM

Namespace Utility Modules

This website is about the NUM concept and the company behind it – NUM Technology Ltd.

What is NUM?

NUM is a DNS-based alternative to the World Wide Web for storing and retrieving structured data. The web is amazing but websites are built for browsing and are an inefficient way to find precise pieces of data like telephone numbers, bank details and more.

For a simple explanation of the NUM protocol watch the 90-second explainer below. Or, read the technical protocol summary Content elsewhere on this site..

Technical notes on video: We've simplified terminal input, terminal output and processes for demonstration purposes. We've skipped the pre-cursor to the DNS (the hosts file Content on another site.) to keep the history of name resolution brief and make the explainer more approachable for a non-technical audience.

Why use NUM?

NUM isn't an app or service, it's a protocol that apps and services can be built on top of. Our aim is for millions of people to use NUM without realising it, just like the billions using the DNS daily. To achieve this, we need developers to build NUM into apps and services.

In the videos below, we demonstrate how NUM can change the way we find contact information. The first video shows how contact information is found using the state-of-the-art. The second video shows a demo using NUM data.

The way things are

This is how we find contact data (video: 2m 23s):

The way things should be

This is what NUM makes possible (video: 1m 12s):

 

General purpose data storage and retrieval

The NUM protocol can be used to store and retrieve structured data for any use case. It has interesting applications in supplying data to client-side applications, where the DNS acts as a database.

Modules

Standardised use cases are known as modules and can be proposed by anyone. The example above shows how the Contacts module can be used. To see other ways NUM can be used check out the module list Content elsewhere on this site..

Storing and retrieving data for email addresses

In addition to storing and retrieving structured data for domain names, NUM can also be used to store and retrieve structured data for email addresses. Up until now, email addresses have only existed inside mail servers. The identifier jane@example.com has no presence on the internet, example.com exists on the internet and the user jane exists within the mail server. The NUM protocol provides email users with their own part of the DNS to store and serve out structured data. This opens up exciting new possibilities.

Adoption

NUM is an open standard that can be adopted for any domain. For standardised use cases, known as modules, the NUM Server Content elsewhere on this site. provides a user-friendly way to adopt NUM. Some NUM records will be automatically populated based on publicly available data on the web. This helps tackle the classic chicken-and-egg problem (where no one stores data using NUM because no one's looking for it, and no one's looking for it because it's not there) and will make NUM useful from public launch. Domain registrants and email address holders can claim their domain name or email address on NUM Server by following a simple online process.

Experimenting with NUM

To run NUM Lookups, use the Record Viewer at https://tools.num.uk Content on another site..

To create a NUM record, use the Record Creator Content on another site. provided by the NUM Server.