Directory Services

What Does Directory Services Mean?

Directory services are software systems that store, organize and provide access to directory information in order to unify network resources. Directory services map the network names of network resources to network addresses and define a naming structure for networks.


The directory service provides transparency to protocols and network topology, permitting users to access resources without having to be aware of the physical location of the devices. It’s an important component of the network operating system and is a central information repository for a service delivery platform.

Techopedia Explains Directory Services

Directory services are network services that identify every resource such as email address, peripheral devices and computers on the network, and make these resources accessible to users and applications.

Specific directory services called naming services map the names of resources in the network to the respective network address. This directory service relieves users from having to know the physical addresses of network resources. Directory services also define namespaces for networks, which hold one or more objects as name entries.

Directory services hold shared information infrastructure to administer, manage, locate and organize common items and network resources. It is also a vital component of network operating systems.

Two of the most widely used directory services are Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, which is used for email addresses, and Netware directory service, which is used in Novell Netware networks.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.