By Ben Schoor
One of the most interesting new technologies for e-mail users is Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). Actually, it isn't all that new, but it's just now being elevated into the consciousness of mainstream users, because an increasing number of applications—specifically Microsoft Outlook 2000—support it.
To help you get a handle on this useful tool, here are the specifics on setting up Outlook to use LDAP.
Defining the protocol
LDAP is essentially a protocol for accessing directory information from a wide variety of directories and clients using the X.500 directory. Check out Bob Artner's article "One enterprise, one directory: Networking's next great debate" for more information on the X.500 directory.
Here's an example that may make LDAP a little clearer: Say your local government utilized an LDAP-compliant e-mail system and made the directory available via the Internet. You could now configure Outlook to use that directory as an additional Address Book and search for e-mail addresses (or any other information that was made public) from within Outlook.
Setting up Outlook to use LDAP
The first thing you need to do is add the Microsoft LDAP Directory Service to your profile. To do that, go to Tools | Services and click the Add button. In the Add Service To Profile Dialog box, select Microsoft LDAP Directory from the drop-down list and click OK.
Now it's time to configure the service in the LDAP Directory Service dialog box. For the Directory Service Account field, type whatever name you want displayed. In the Server Hostname and Server Port Number fields, insert the correct hostname and port number of the LDAP Server (389 is the default). Adjust the Server Search Timeout field to your preference. If you have to log in to access the directory, enter your user name and password in the next two fields. You'll also need to know the Search Base (which generally looks something like "c=us"). Once all of these fields contain the proper information, click OK.
While searching the LDAP directory you just configured, keep in mind that there may be performance limitations if the LDAP directory is located on the Internet.
TIP: It's easy to add as many LDAP directories as you want—simply repeat the steps listed in this article for each directory.
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