Application Programming Interface. Software interacts with libraries, applications, and systems through APIs they expose. See also DataONE APIs.


Refers to a boolean property in System Metadata which when set to true, indicates that the object is in an archived state. Conceptually, this means that no further derivatives may be made from this object, it is at the terminus of its version lineage. Technically, this means that the object is removed from search indexes and the update method will fail when applied to the object, other properties such as access control and ownership information are unchanged. This is enforced by the Coordinating Nodes and expected of Member Nodes. Compare with obsoleted.


Authentication is the process of verifying a claim made by a subject that it should be allowed to act on behalf of a given principal (person, computer, process, etc.). Authentication in DataONE is described in Use Case 12 - User Authentication.

Authoritative Member Node

Recorded in SystemMetadata for an object, the Authoritative Member Node has all the rights of the rightsHolder to maintain and curate the object, including making any changes necessary.


The process of verifying that a subject has permission to access specific resources or perform specific actions. Authorization in DataONE is described in Use Case 13 - User Authorization.


An element in system metadata that aligns with the `IANA Character Sets<IANA_CHARS>`_ specification. See What is This Thing? for more information.


A string representing the computed hash of an object using an algorithm supported by the DataONE infrastructure (MD5 or SHA-1). Checksums are used to assist with the bit-level preservation of content.


Refers to the essential, core components of the DataONE cyberinfrastructure. This includes the Member Nodes, Coordinating Nodes, and the Investigator Toolkit components.

Coordinating Node
Coordinating Nodes

One of at least three nodes in the DataONE cyberinfrastructure that is responsible for maintaining a complete collection of all science metadata, all system metadata, a record of the location of all objects stored in the DataONE system, and provides mechanisms for search and retrieval of all content. Coordinating Nodes store all original copies of science metadata. All Coordinating Node content is replicated between other Coordinating Nodes. Coordinating Nodes drive the replication of content between Member Nodes.

Coordinating Node Replication

Refers to the process by which content that appears on any one Coordinating Node is mirrored to all other Coordinating Nodes. See also Member Node synchronization and data replication.

data object
Data object

Typically refers to science data. Where ambiguity between the science data and another form of data may be interpreted or implied, the full term “science data” should be used.

data package

A data package is a set of one or more data objects and science metadata objects that together represent a scientifically useful unit of information. Data packages are defined in DataONE using resource maps.

data replication

The transfer of content between Member Nodes as directed by the Coordinating Nodes. Also referred to as just “replication”.


An NSF sponsored project implementing cyberinfrastructure according to guidelines indicated in the NSF DataNet RFP.

detail code

Part of an exception that represents an error condition in the DataONE APIs. The error detail code is specific to an API method and is intended to be only useful to the implementors of the service that generates an exception to help identify the location in the code where the exception originated. See also Exceptions.

Distinguished Name
X.509 Distinguished Name


See also Subject.


In the context of a filename or within v2_0.Types.ObjectFormat. refers to the suffix of a filename appearing after the final period (.) in the file name.


The name of a file when save to file system media. See What is This Thing? for more information the use of fileName in DataONE.


An element in System Metadata that is used to indicate the type of content represented by the digital object. The complete list of formats can be retrieved through the CNCore.listFormats() operation.


Group represents metadata about a Subject that represents a collection of other Subjects. Groups provide a convenient mechanism to express access rules for certain roles that are not necessarily tied to particular principals over time.

primary identifier
persistent identifier

Persistent Unique Identifier. A string of printable Unicode characters that uniquely identifies an object within the DataONE infrastructure. See Types.Identifier


Refers to the properties of a user or principal that enables the DataONE system to distinguish them from other users.

Investigator Toolkit

Software libraries, applications, and other tools that enable interaction with the DataONE system, typically by enabling storage of content on a Member Node and/or by enabling search and retrieval of content from the DataONE infrastructure.

media type

Formerly :term:MIME-type, an entry in the `IANA Media Type<IANA_MEDIA>`_ registry. Passed in the HTTP Content-Type header for HTTP GET and HEAD responses to provide information about the resource for the consumer. See What is This Thing? for more information on it’s use in DataONE.


Data describing data. There are currently two distinct forms of metadata managed by DataONE, science metadata and system metadata.


Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions Type. The preferred name is now “media-type”.

Member Node
Member Nodes

A data holding node that implements all or the essential elements of the member mode APIs (see Member Node APIs). Member Nodes accept content from users and may store content replicated from other member nodes as directed by a Coordinating Node.

node event log

The node event log is implemented on Coordinating Nodes and Member Nodes and should record all object access and manipulation events.


An object is in an obsoleted state when the obsoletedBy property of its system metadata contains an entry to a newer revision of the object. The system metadata of the newer object will contain an obsoletes entry in its system metadata, which contains the PID of the obsoleted object. An object may obsolete another object and be obsoleted as well, indicating that the object has bother older and newer revisions of itself. Obsoleted content will continue to be discoverable through the search index, though not by default.

Origin Member Node

The Member Node where an object was first registered with the DataONE infrastructure.


A principal refers to the entity (e.g. a person) that is assigned one or more subjects.

public user
Public User

The default user identity used when a service is called without supplying user credentials. The public user SHOULD never have write access to any services and MAY be limited access to some services in addition to the usual restrictions imposed by access control. The public user subject can be any of “Public”, “AuthenticatedUser”, “VerifiedUser”.

node registry
Node Registry

A list of nodes participating in DataONE maintained by Coordinating Nodes. Entries in node registry may be retrieved through the CNCore.listNodes() method of a Coordinating Node.


See Coordinating Node replication or data replication.

replication target

A Member Node that can be directed by a Coordinating Node to retrieve content from another Member node to support the process of replication.

resource map
resource maps
Resource map
Resource Map

An OAI-ORE RDF document serialized in RDF/XML format that is used to indicate the relationships between data and science metadata in a data package. Resource maps have the formatId of

Rights Holder

The Subject that has full control over the access control rules for an object.

science data
Science data

Science data that is stored in the DataONE system. See What is Data (DataONE Perspective)? for a description of what is considered data in DataONE. DataONE services always return exact copies of the original data as submitted to DataONE.

science metadata
Science metadata

Metadata that describes the data that is replicated across the Member Nodes.


In the context of DataONE, a session refers to the operations that occur with a single authentication token.

series identifier
Series Identifier

An identifier that may refer to multiple versions of an object. A Series Identifier resolves to the latest revision of an object as indicated by the obsolescence chain or other revision information. See the document Identifiers in DataONE for more detail.


Princpals (users) that are a recognized identity in the DataONE system.

Member Node synchronization

The process of updating a Coordinating Node with the science and system metadata that appears on a Member Node. Also referred to as just “synchronization”.

system metadata
System Metadata

Metadata that is used internally by the DataONE system to record system properties about each object stored in the DataONE system. See Types.SystemMetadata and SystemMetadata. Also referred to as sysmeta.

tier 1
Tier 1

A Member Node that implements the minimal set of programming interfaces and operates as a read only, public access repository.

tier 4
Tier 4

A Member Node that implements the full set of programming interfaces, and so supports authenticated read and write, and the ability to accept copies of content from other Member Nodes under the direction of a Coordinating Node.


An X509 certificate generated by a trusted authority and is used to absolutely and unambiguously identify a principal.


A Subject is verified in DataONE after going through a process to verify that the stated identity matches with an actual identity for the subject.


Characters that produce no visible output other than influencing the spacing of other characters. For example the space character (ASCII 0x20) and the tab character (ASCII 0x09) are whitespace characters.