A domain name registry, is a database of all domain names registered in a top-level domain. A registry operator, also called a Network Information Center (NIC), is the part of the Domain Name System (DNS) of the Internet that keeps the database of domain names, and generates the zone files which convert domain names to IP addresses. Each NIC is an organisation that manages the registration of Domain names within the top-level domains for which it is responsible, controls the policies of domain name allocation, and technically operates its top-level domain. It is potentially distinct from a domain name registrar.
Domain names are managed under a hierarchy headed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which manages the top of the DNS tree by administrating the data in the root nameservers.