The CNRI Registry

Preliminary Information (August 1997)

The Registry

CNRI is developing a general-purpose registry to submit, store, and disseminate authenticated digital objects. When fully implemented, the registry will maintain a list of authenticated digital objects. Each digital object has a unique identifier, known as a handle, and a digital signature, which authenticates the content of the document. The digital objects themselves are not stored in the registry, but in separate repositories. Two sub-systems are closely tied to the registry:

Registry functions

The registry performs the following functions 

Registration of digital objects that are stored in remote repositories

The activity of registration of a digital object consists of the following functions:

the handle
index terms
access terms and conditions

Digital signatures

An integral part of the registration process is the use of digital signatures. When a digital object is registered, it is signed either with the private key of the depositor, or with the private key of the registry. This digital signature, the certificate chain, and the digital object are then treated as a single digital object, which may be signed using the private key of the registrant. The actual registration consists of this digital object together with the digital signature and certificate chain. At present the method of creating digital signatures is to use Trusted Information System's MOSS (Mime Object Security Services) software. This uses 1024 bit RSA keys.

U.S. Copyright Office registry

The first generation of the registry has been created specifically to meet the needs of the U.S. Copyright Office. This is part of the CORDS system for copyright registration, recordation, and deposit. The system components include a central server, which functions as a combined registry and repository, and a helper application that clients download and use with a Web browser. In conjunction, the two provide a secure method to package and transmit digital objects to the registry. CORDS also includes a special purpose viewer for copyright examiners and interfaces to other Copyright Office Systems.

The Foreign Affairs Documentation Center

The United States Information Agency's (USIA) Bureau of Information and CNRI are working together on the design and implementation of a Foreign Affairs Documentation Center. This on-line, digital library will provide a long-term archive of noteworthy materials that comprise the foreign policy of the United States. At the heart of the system is a registry of authentication documents that are stored on repositories maintained by other government agencies.


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