"So, you've heard about LDAP and want to know what it is. Maybe
your boss has asked you to LDAP enable a mission critical
application, or maybe you just want to keep up with all these
acroynms flying about. This article will start at the basics,
covering exactly what LDAP is, and what it can be used for, without
getting bogged down in too much technical detail. There's a
lot to learn, so here we go."
"LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol and is
defined in RFC1777. In its most basic form it is a protocol for
accessing directories. It was originally designed to act as a
gateway to other directories such as X.500 but more recently has
evolved into a fully fledged directory of its own."
"Now, a directory is a lot like the everyday directories we use
in real life - a telephone book, an address book, or even a
restaurant menu. It stores information about an item in attributes,
with a special piece of information to uniquely identify it. LDAP
stores these entries in a hierarchical structure (called Directory
Information Tree or DIT), based on the unique identifier (which is
called the Distinguish Name or DN)."