CERN Phonebook evolution

Consolidating phonebooks at CERN

We have had many phonebooks in the past, Xwho (now decommissioned), the NICE phonebook on Windows PCs, and more recently the web site However, diversity doesn’t always equate to improved efficiency or quality. So in order to reduce the maintenance effort and to improve the user experience, we have consolidated these various phonebooks into a single web application:

Motivations for change

The NICE Phonebook was introduced in the year 2000 when Windows 95 was the major desktop platform. Since then, a lot has changed not only in technology and the desktop landscape but also in the variety of devices used to access the data (notably smartphones and tablets). Updating the NICE phonebook is slow. Once the master database is modified it can take up to two days for the data to propagate to the application. Thus, we are now planning the retirement of the NICE phonebook application.

The new

The new has been developed by GS/AIS and has been made available for users at: It provides access to contact information of people and services at CERN along with a user-friendly interface that allows searching by criteria, such as first or last name, organizational unit and phone number.

Pressing the  +  button will display the advanced interface (shown below) where you can enter specific search criteria.


Addressing the gap

As the new CERN Phonebook is web based, some functions are not available directly in the application. The following lists some of the ways that these functions can be performed when the NICE phonebook is retired.

Offline Address book

- For Windows or Mac Users, Outlook provides an offline address book directly in the application.

- For Smartphone users (iOS, Android, Symbian), you can synchronize your device with Outlook or the LDAP address book.

- Finally, a PDF copy of the phonebook is available for download from the CERN Phonebook page for authenticated users.

Browse/map a home directory from a Windows pc

- Authenticated users can access public home directory files through the account portal from any client via the web browser  (From the web phonebook->Accounts->DFS)


The new phonebook has been available since May 2011 at:  The migration from the NICE phonebook is intended to be completed by the end of May 2012, at which point it will be removed from all PCs. As many people have the habit of selecting the phonebook icon on the Windows desktop, this icon will remain but will start up the web browser directly at the phonebook application.

For any questions and feedback, please send a mail to

by Sébastien Dellabella, IT/OIS - IT Department