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About this Handbook

The DOI Handbook is the main source of information about the DOI System (DOI identifies the latest current version of the handbook). It describes the DOI System at business and technical levels and assists the community in understanding the system and Registration Agencies (RA) in providing services based on the system.

Other information resources, such as factsheets and FAQs are available on the web site and are cited from this handbook where relevant.


This handbook is directed at anyone who is involved in services provided through the DOI System, or who is potentially interested in the DOI System: RAs, application designers and developers, RA communities.


This handbook contains the following material:

Chapter 1: DOI System Overview This chapter introduces the DOI System's history, purpose, basic principles, benefits and applications.

Chapter 2: DOI System Governance and Participation This chapter describes the role and functions of the DOI Foundation and of Registration Agencies within the DOI System. It also summarizes the policies governing the DOI System and explains the policy formulation process.

Chapter 3: DOI Namespace This chapter defines the syntax for a DOI name. It also explains the DOI name assignment principles and how other identifier schemes can be integrated into the DOI system.

Chapter 4: DOI Metadata This chapter explains the basis for one of the main technical components of the DOI System, the DOI data model, and its ability to ensure interoperability of DOI name metadata assigned through metadata schemes.

Chapter 5: DOI Identifier / Resolution Services This chapter describes the identifier / resolution services included in the DOI System package.

Chapter 6: DOI Applications This chapter discusses some of the ways in which resolution can be harnessed to provide applications with the ability to resolve a DOI name to the most appropriate content chosen from multiple DOI resolution options. These options can include pop-up menus offering manual selection, and consistent automated selection through content negotiation and Linked Data.

Chapter 7: Designing and Developing a DOI Application This chapter assists business analysts and developers in designing and developing applications based on the DOI System.

Chapter 8: Defining RA and Registrant Policies This chapter assists the Registration Agencies or registrants in defining their own policies.

Chapter 9: Operating and Maintaining the RA Services This chapter assists the Registration Agency's service operations team in performing service operation tasks.




Standard Documents

The main standard documents related to the DOI are:

ISO 26324:2022 "Information and documentation — Digital object identifier system"

"Digital Object Identifier Resolution Protocol (DO-IRP) Specification" version 3.0 June 2022.
Notice: The DOI Foundation welcomes the publication of the Digital Object Identifier Resolution Protocol (DO-IRP)[*]. This specification is made available by DONA, a Swiss Foundation set up to govern the Handle System® (as used by the DOI infrastructure) and promote associated specifications. The Handle System was previously specified only in "informative" documents and the publication of proven, normative documents that remove features that were never implemented will increase the robustness and reliability of the DOI infrastructure. This infrastructure is used over 12 billion times a year to resolve over 300 million DOI across the different sectors that rely on it. Most users access the DOI infrastructure through the resilient network of web proxies at and never encounter the Handle System directly, but this publication will ensure that the DOI system remains world-class into the future.