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Author Keys (AK)


What Author Keys do

Author Keys tell DeadLetter how to treat your Conversation, if they're authorised, who you are and where to post results to.

In other words they're vital, should you expect to receive information back from DeadLetter servers.

Author Key Identity

We use deadID as a universal identifier. Your actual ID is never used in a conversation. This means your in-control of your information, how it's used and what DeadLetter uses it for.

By using deadID URLs, your user information is unique & decentralised as the primary function of deadID URLs is to point to the location of a public deadID Profile document (see below).

Self-signing Author Keys

This guide explains how to create an Author Key, without using a Publishing House. If you're using the services of a Publishing House you need not complete these steps.

Creating an
Author Key

Basic Structure

You can structure your AK using any web standard, however we will use plain text files (.txt) as they are ubiquitous.

Create a .txt file, using UTF-8 and add your name (legal or otherwise). You're also free to enter a string of letter & numbers without special characters;

Followed by your Publisher ( $* indicates self published);   $*

You also need to specify your Author Key's common address;
  [email protected]{DOMAIN/MY.AK}

The contents between the brackets is the key name, it must be the address (URI) your Author Key can be found at (using DRM or Parcel)


< ! DOCTYPE html >
@Do-ID:NAME_YOURNAME$*[email protected]{DOMAIN/MY.AK}

Authorising Conversations

To prevent a third party from using your Author Key to sign untrusted Conversations you're required to explicitly list each 'approved' Conversation within your public key.

For example to authorise a Conversation, add it's deadID URL with a trusted attribute;

If you'd like to explicitly deny a Conversation, add it's deadID URL with a denial attribute;

You can could also deny all Conversation you haven't explicitly trusted. For post-production or active Conversations we strongly suggest including this;
  [email protected]


@Do-ID:NAME_YOURNAME$*[email protected]{DOMAIN/MY.AK}trusted_Cnvrstn//@conversation_URLdenied_Cnvrstn//@conversation_URL[email protected]

Handling Libraries

DeadLetter CI frequently abbreviates or substitutes (shorthand) phrases with symbols, your Author Key tells DeadLetter RI how to treat these when handling your information.

For shorthand to apply to every library you'll need to include the following ;
  ?lib -- @_all

Next you'll need to provide your domain name used to replace the placeholder inside of libraries;
  @ = = ME.COM

What this means is DeadLetter expects to discover your information at therefore if your domain is '' your URL would be;



@Do-ID:NAME_YOURNAME$*[email protected]{DOMAIN/MY.AK}trusted_Cnvrstn//@conversation_URLdenied_Cnvrstn//@conversation_URL[email protected]?bnd -- @_all   @ = = ME.COM

Dead Output

If the name didn't give it away, all output from DeadLetter is posted to predefined URL(s). In the Community Edition they're freely accessible (provided you know where to look).

To define your output URL include;
?DRP -- [email protected]+Cnvrstn$

This defines your output URL as; {DOMAIN}
NAME_YOURNAME+conversation_URL {destination}


@Do-ID:NAME_YOURNAME$*[email protected]{DOMAIN/MY.AK}trusted_Cnvrstn//@conversation_URLdenied_Cnvrstn//@conversation_URL[email protected]?bnd -- @_all   @ = = ME.COM?DRP -- [email protected]+Cnvrstn$

Releasing your Author Key

Becoming discoverable

Great! You've created an author key, now you need to ensure DeadLetter can see it.

Don't worry the process is straight forward, you can either inform a publishing house, or tell us your AK's deadID.

Confirming your Author Key

Once your AK has been accepted you can check if it's trusted by visiting -

Forward slashes(/) in your key name will need to be replaced with an equality sign (=)

Self-hosted Author Keys are updated periodically (twelve & twenty-four hour intervals). Therefore, your local copy will not always match your trusted Author Key. If you delete or lose your local AK your Conversations will cease to run, once your Trusted AK is updated.

Submit an AK