The Handle System®
Digital Object Architecture (DOA)
Digital Object Architecture provides a means of managing digital information in a network environment. A digital object has a machine and platform independent structure that allows it to be identified, accessed and protected, as appropriate. A digital object may incorporate not only informational elements, i.e., a digitized version of a paper, movie or sound recording, but also the unique identifier of the digital object and other metadata about the digital object. The metadata may include restrictions on access to digital objects, notices of ownership, and identifiers for licensing agreements, if appropriate.
HDL® Identifier and Resolution Services
The Handle System is a general purpose distributed information system that provides efficient, extensible, and secure HDL identifier and resolution services for use on networks such as the Internet. It includes an open set of protocols, a namespace, and a reference implementation of the protocols. The protocols enable a distributed computer system to store identifiers, known as handles, of arbitrary resources and resolve those handles into the information necessary to locate, access, contact, authenticate, or otherwise make use of the resources. This information can be changed as needed to reflect the current state of the identified resource without changing its identifier, thus allowing the name of the item to persist over changes of location and other related state information. The original version of the Handle System technology was developed with support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The Handle System is an infrastructure on which applications serving many different purposes are being built. Some examples are rights management applications, persistent identifiers for digital objects on the Web, and institutional data preservation and archiving.
See Getting Started for an overview of the HANDLE.NET Software download process. Additional HANDLE.NET software includes client libraries, tools and plug-ins, and software from the handle developer community, including the most recent version of the OpenHandle service.
See also HANDLE.NET Services: Global Handle Registry and Local Handle Services for background. See the System Fundamentals section for a short introduction to system functionality. The Interface Specification is comprised of three Informational RFCs: Handle System Overview, Handle Namespace and Service Definition, and Handle System Protocol (ver 2.1). Full instructions for HANDLE.NET software installation and use are covered in the Technical Manual.
Learn more about CNRI's Digital Object Architecture.
Updated 1 March 2010
HANDLE SYSTEM, HANDLE.NET and GLOBAL HANDLE REGISTRY are CNRI trademarks that are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
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