We are pleased to announce the formation of the ARK Alliance, an open global community supporting Archival Resource Keys (ARKs).
The ARK Alliance succeeds the ARKs-in-the-Open initiative, begun in 2018. We invite you to visit us at our new website, which contains guidance on how to get started with ARKs, resources, news, the community, and links to email forums for users in English and French.
The ARK Alliance has three working groups and welcomes your participation, which can take many forms. Please visit the community page to learn about ways to become involved.
ARKs are used as “persistent identifiers”, which are stable, trusted references (names) for information objects. Among other things, they aim to be web addresses (URLs) that don’t return 404 Page Not Found errors.
ARKs are similar to DOIs, URNs, and Handles. All of them
- were introduced over 20 years ago,
- exist in large numbers (8.2 billion ARKs, 240 million DOIs, etc.),
- start with a string to identify the name assigning authority,
- require the active updating of URL redirects, and
- support research and scholarship, appearing in the Data Citation Index, Wikipedia, ORCiD.org profiles, etc.
In contrast, ARKs are cheaper, more flexible, and less centralized, letting you
- create unlimited identifiers without paying for the right to do so,
- add any kind of metadata, including no metadata,
- append extensions and query strings during resolution,
- link directly to an article, image, or spreadsheet that is immediately usable by people and software without making them first stop at a landing page, and
- make millions of ARKs resolvable by managing just one ARK, via a mechanism called suffix passthrough.
Who uses ARKs:
End users, especially researchers, rely on ARKs for long term access to the global scientific and cultural record, where by design they identify anything digital, physical, or abstract.
Some things that have ARKs — an article, violin, genealogy, painting, book, sports photo, and plant specimen — assigned by the Louvre, Smithsonian Institution, Internet Archive, California Digital Library, and FamilySearch.
Over 770 organizations are registered to create ARKs, including libraries, data centers, archives, museums, publishers, government agencies, and vendors. Additional organizations are signing on rapidly.