Global Address List

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The Global Address List (GAL) is a term used in groupware software and means the shared address book which contains usually all people of given organization (company, school etc.). This address book is accessed over the computer network using LDAP protocol, CardDAV or other electronic way (it is not a printed book).

The GAL is usually read-only for users – only administrators add or update the items. Users can search it, lookup other people (employees, students, members etc.) and obtain information about them like e-mail address, phone number, work position, office location and others.

The common usage of GAL is if the user is writing an e-mail, knows recipient's name, but doesn't know his e-mail address – the groupware or e-mail client (e.g. SOGo, Zimbra or Thunderbird) can lookup the e-mail address in the GAL while user is writing only a part of the recipient's name.

Certificates and encryption[edit]

LDAP directory can be used also for distribution of user certificates (X.509, OpenPGP). So user can query the GAL not only for contact information but also for digital certificate of other users – in order to send them e.g. encrypted e-mails.