Press Release

CNRI announces Public Release of its Handle System® Technology

June 2006

Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), a non-profit research and development corporation, announced today that it was licensing its Handle System technology for use by the general public. The Handle System Public License will allow commercial and non-commercial use of both its patented technology and reference implementation of the HANDLE.NET software, and will allow the software to be freely embedded in other systems and products.

The Handle System is a general purpose resolution system used to assign, manage, and resolve persistent identifiers, known as "handles," for digital objects and other resources on the Internet. Handles may be long lasting references to digital material which can be used to locate the material even when it changes location or owner. It can also be used to return metadata related to the material. Over 50 million digital objects are managed today through a globally distributed set of handle service sites.

The Handle System was developed by CNRI under the overall direction of Dr. Robert Kahn, a pioneer in open-architecture networking, the co-inventor of the TCP/IP protocols, and the originator of the DARPA program which developed the Internet. He founded CNRI in 1986 as a not-for-profit organization to provide leadership and funding for research and development of the National Information Infrastructure. In referencing the new licensing approach, Dr. Kahn said that "This release is a significant step forward in CNRI's ongoing objective of advancing the technological evolution of the Internet."

Long time users of the Handle System include the content industries and related sectors through the DOI® (Digital Object Identifier) system, the Library of Congress, the U.S. Defense Technical Information Center, MIT's DSpace digital library system and various other efforts. More recent users include the Globus Alliance, which produces a leading open source toolkit for building computational grids, the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) CORDRA project for federating learning object repositories, and CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center), the DNS administrator for China.

The Handle System has been widely used for educational, research, and other experimental purposes. The public license will extend the use to other interests as well. The new license comes with a service agreement requiring those who use the system to provide identifier and/or resolution services to obtain a unique prefix from the Handle System Administrator and to follow certain system-wide guidelines to insure the overall integrity of the system. Users of the system will not encounter charges for its use, however, service providers will be charged an annual fee which will be used to defray costs for the global root of the system, known as the Global Handle Registry®. Licensing details and other information on the Handle System can be found at


Corporation for National Research Initiatives
1895 Preston White Drive, Suite 100
Reston, Virginia 20191
(703) 620-8990