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The Handle System is infrastructure, not end user or off-the-shelf software. It is written in Java™. To install and run it, you will need skills similar to those of a Systems Administrator. The distribution includes installation instructions in an install.txt file, but before you download and attempt to use the software, you will want to review the documentation below and understand the terminology, know how the system operates, and think about how you want to use the identifiers you create.

If the information you need cannot be found in the resources below, please check the FAQ, and contact the Handle System Administrator at


Global Handle Registry

The HANDLE.NET Service Global Handle Registry® forms the top level of the Handle System's hierarchical service model.

Local Handle Services

The lower level of the Handle System's two-tiered service model is comprised of Local Handle Services.

System Fundamentals

Handle System Fundamentals is a collection of overviews of the following topics: architecture, syntax, persistence, the Handle System compared to DNS, resolution, administration, authentication, scalability, replication, and handle value types.

HDL.NET Service: Proxy Server System

CNRI runs a Proxy Server System, a collection of web servers that understand the handle protocol and know how to talk to the Handle System, that can be used to resolve handles embedded in URLs on web pages.

Technical Manual

The Technical Manual (PDF) is a comprehensive resource for installing, configuring and managing a handle server, and administering identifiers.

Handle Tool User Manual

The Handle Tool is a GUI administrative client developed by CNRI for server administration and identifier operations. It is included in the HANDLE.NET server software distribution. See the User Manual for instructions.

Interface Specification (RFCs)

The Interface Specification is described in RFC 3650, "Handle System Overview", RFC 3651 "Handle System Namespace and Service Definition", and RFC 3652, "Handle System Protocol (ver 2.1) Specification". (The Handle System RFCs and other Handle System documentation are available in Chinese from the Chinese Digital Library Standards web site.)

HDL Client API Javadoc

The HDL Client API Javadoc, the Java API specification for the handle client, is available here. (7-19-13)


November 2013