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Handle System Namespace and Service Definition
RFC 3651

Network Working Group                                             S. Sun
Request for Comments: 3651                                     S. Reilly
Category: Informational                                        L. Lannom
                                                                    CNRI
                                                           November 2003

            Handle System Namespace and Service Definition

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2003).  All Rights Reserved.

IESG Note

   Several groups within the IETF and IRTF have discussed the Handle
   System and it relationship to existing systems of identifiers.  The
   IESG wishes to point out that these discussions have not resulted in
   IETF consensus on the described Handle System nor on how it might fit
   into the IETF architecture for identifiers.  Though there has been
   discussion of handles as a form of URI, specifically as a URN, these
   documents describe an alternate view of how namespaces and
   identifiers might work on the Internet and include characterizations
   of existing systems which may not match the IETF consensus view.

Abstract

   The Handle System is a general-purpose global name service that
   allows secured name resolution and administration over the public
   Internet.  This document provides a detailed description of the
   Handle System namespace, and its data, service, and operation models.
   The namespace definition specifies the handle syntax and its semantic
   structure.  The data model defines the data structures used by the
   Handle System protocol and any pre-defined data types for carrying
   out the handle service.  The service model provides definitions of
   various Handle System components and explains how they work together
   over the network.  Finally, the Handle System operation model
   describes its service operation in terms of messages transmitted
   between client and server, and the client authentication process
   based on the Handle System authentication protocol.

Sun, et al.                  Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 3651            Handle System Service Definition       November 2003

Table of Contents
   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
   2.  Handle System Namespace. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   3.  Handle System Data Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
       3.1.  Handle Value Set . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
       3.2.  Pre-defined Handle Data Types. . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
             3.2.1.  Handle Administrator: HS_ADMIN . . . . . . . . . 10
             3.2.2.  Service Site Information: HS_SITE. . . . . . . . 14
             3.2.3.  Naming Authority Delegation Service:
                     HS_NA_DELEGATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
             3.2.4.  Service Handle: HS_SERV. . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
             3.2.5.  Alias Handle: HS_ALIAS . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
             3.2.6.  Primary Site: HS_PRIMARY . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
             3.2.7.  Handle Value List: HS_VLIST. . . . . . . . . . . 22
   4.  Handle System Service Model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
       4.1.  Handle System Service Components . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
             4.1.1.  Global Handle Registry (GHR) . . . . . . . . . . 23
             4.1.2.  Local Handle Service (LHS) . . . . . . . . . . . 26
       4.2.  Handle System Middle-Ware Components . . . . . . . . . . 27
             4.2.1.  Handle System Caching Service. . . . . . . . . . 27
             4.2.2.  Handle System Proxy Server . . . . . . . . . . . 28
       4.3.  Handle System Client Components. . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
   5.  Handle System Operation Model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
       5.1.  Handle System Service Request and Response . . . . . . . 30
       5.2.  Handle System Authentication Protocol. . . . . . . . . . 32
   6.  Security Considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
   7.  Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
   8.  References and Bibliography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
   9.  Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
   10. Full Copyright Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

1.  Introduction

   The Handle System manages handles as globally unique names for
   Internet resources.  It was originally conceived and described in a
   paper by Robert Kahn and Robert Wilensky [22] in 1995.  The Handle
   System provides a general-purpose global name service that allows
   handles to be resolved and administrated securely over the public

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