vCard
vCard logo
 and  vCalendar
vCal logo

Personal Data Interchange (PDI) occurs every time two or more individuals communicate, in either a business or personal context, face-to-face, or across space and time. Such interchanges frequently include the exchange of informal information, such as business cards, telephone numbers, addresses, dates, and times of appointments. Augmenting PDI with electronics and telecommunications can help ensure that information is quickly and reliably communicated, stored, organized and easily located when needed.

The versit consortium developed a comprehensive family of PDI technologies based on open specifications and interoperability agreements to help meet this technology need and that will allow you to communicate more easily, faster and more accurately. The two main technologies that came from the versit consortium were vCard, an electronic business card, and vCalendar, an electronic calendaring and scheduling exchange format.

Beginning in December, 1996, the Internet Mail Consortium took on responsibility for the development and promotion of these two important technologies. The press release from the two organizations explains IMC's new stewardship.


vCard logo vCard: Your Electronic Business Card

vCard automates the exchange of personal information typically found on a traditional business card. vCard is used in applications such as Internet mail, voice mail, Web browsers, telephony applications, call centers, video conferencing, PIMs (Personal Information Managers), PDAs (Personal Data Assistants), pagers, fax, office equipment, and smart cards. vCard information goes way beyond simple text, and includes elements like pictures, company logos, live Web addresses, and so on.

vCard version 3 is defined in two parts:

  • RFC 2425, MIME Content-Type for Directory Information
  • RFC 2426, vCard MIME Directory Profile
IMC hopes that all vCard developers take advantage of these new open standards and make their software compatible with both vCard v2.1 and vCard v3.0.

There is a microformat, "hCard", that enables (X)HTML to be marked up, using just a set of class-names, so that vCards can be extracted from it. See the hcard site for more information.

vCal logo vCalendar: The Basis for Cross-Platform Scheduling

vCalendar defines a transport and platform-independent format for exchanging calendaring and scheduling information in an easy, automated, and consistent manner. It captures information about event and "to-do" items that are normally used by applications such as a personal information managers (PIMs) and group schedulers. Programs that use vCalendar can exchange important data about events so that you can schedule meetings with anyone who has a vCalendar-aware program.

iCalendar consists of three RFCs:

  • RFC 2445, Internet Calendaring and Scheduling Core Object Specification (iCalendar)
  • RFC 2446, iCalendar Transport-Independent Interoperability Protocol (iTIP): Scheduling Events, BusyTime, To-dos and Journal Entries
  • RFC 2447, iCalendar Message-based Interoperability Protocol (iMIP)
IMC hopes that all vCalendar developers take advantage of these new open standards and make their software compatible with both vCalendar 1.0 and iCalendar.

There is a microformat, "hCalendar", that enables (X)HTML to be marked up, using just a set of class-names, so that iCalendars can be extracted from it. See the hCalendar site for more information.



Information about the Internet Mail Consortium
is available from the IMC Web site.

vCard and vCalendar are trademarks of the Internet Mail Consortium.