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The Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC) was set up by the National Science Foundation to provide for orderly domain name registration. The InterNIC provides a system called Whois that helps users get information on a given domain by entering the domain name or the IP address. InterNIC is now a project of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Although the InterNIC is still active in helping to provide data about domain registration, the actual registration process has become the responsibility of private registrars. The nonprofit ICANN provides accreditation for these registrars, and other services such as dispute resolution for domain name issues. Other private businesses provide a combination of Web hosting and domain name registration services as a kind of one-stop shop for those who want to control a domain name and build a website based on that domain.
ICANN and other organizations continually work with governments around the world to pursue standards for Internet use and domain name registration, ownership and maintenance. As the Internet becomes progressively more involved in both provincial and global commerce, the issue of clear record-keeping for domains is becoming even more important.