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The ARK Alliance:
20 years
850 institutions
8.2 billion persistent identifiers
John Kunze, California Digital Library
University of California Office of the President
October 2021
Digital preservation means
Long term protection for digital resources
● from human error, natural disaster, legal challenge, deliberate attack,
social upheaval, bankruptcy, etc.
Long term access to those resources from unbroken links
● with persistent identifiers (PIDs), also known as permalinks
Why persistent identifiers?
Because of “link rot” (broken references, 404 Not Found)
● Reliable, unbroken web links (URLs) are rare
● The average URL lifetime is only 100 days
But why not just search when you need a link?
● Because scholars and researchers take years to find their object references
Common types of persistent identifiers
● PURL, Handle, URN, DOI, ARK
A labelled URL with a globally unique identity inside it
https://n2t.net/ark:/12345/fk1234
makes ARK
actionable
(the resolver)
core globally unique
identity (independent
of web and hostname)
What is an ARK (Archival Resource Key)?
ARK anatomy
https://example.org/ark:/12345/x54xz321/s3/f8.05v.tiff
_________________/ __/ ___/ ______/____/_______/
| | | | | |
| ARK Label | | Sub-parts Variants
| | |
Name Mapping Authority (NMA) | Assigned Name
|
Name Assigning Authority Number (NAAN)
Why ARKs?
Major causes of broken links, and some features PURL Handle URN DOI ARK
Prevents fire, war, flood, attack, bankruptcy, ... No No No No No
Prevents human error No No No No No
Guarantees your links, or fixes them for you No No No No No
Decentralized admin plus inferenceable syntax No No No No Yes
Flexible metadata and persistence statements No No No No Yes
Identifiers extensible during resolution Yes No Yes No Yes
Free, non-paywalled, in unlimited numbers Yes No Yes No Yes
Who is using ARKs?
University of California Berkeley
Smithsonian National Museum
National Library of France
University of Chicago
Musée du Louvre
Family Search
British Library
Google
Internet Archive
Caltech Archives
Hawaii State Archives
French National Archives
Rockefeller Archive Center
Library and Archives Canada
Archives de la Ville de Genève
Silent Film Sound & Music Archive
• Libraries, data centers, archives, museums,
publishers, government agencies, and vendors
• Example institutions:
What are ARKs used for?
● genealogical records (8 billion FamilySearch)
● publisher content (100 million Portico)
● scientific datasets and records (22 million INIST)
● scanned books and texts 30 million Internet Archive)
● bibliographic records (15 million BnF main catalog)
● museum specimens (15 million Smithsonian Institution)
● public health documents (15 million UCSF IDL)
● historical documents (21 million CDL, 5 million BnF Gallica)
● historical authors and scholars (4 million SNAC)
● fine art museum collections (483,000 Louvre)
● vocabulary terms (9,000 Periodo, YAMZ)
ARK Alliance: 850 institutions and
8.2 billion ARKs in 20 years
Home of the ARK Alliance
arks.org
Join one of our working groups: info@arks.org
Get started with ARKs by filling out:
n2t.net/e/naan_request
Stay in touch:
● Twitter: @arks_org
● Email forum (English): groups.google.com/group/arks-forum
● Email forum (French): framalistes.org/sympa/info/arks-forum-fr
The ARK Alliance

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The ARK Alliance: 20 years, 850 institutions, 8.2 billion persistent identifiers, 2021-10-22

  • 1. The ARK Alliance: 20 years 850 institutions 8.2 billion persistent identifiers John Kunze, California Digital Library University of California Office of the President October 2021
  • 2. Digital preservation means Long term protection for digital resources ● from human error, natural disaster, legal challenge, deliberate attack, social upheaval, bankruptcy, etc. Long term access to those resources from unbroken links ● with persistent identifiers (PIDs), also known as permalinks
  • 3. Why persistent identifiers? Because of “link rot” (broken references, 404 Not Found) ● Reliable, unbroken web links (URLs) are rare ● The average URL lifetime is only 100 days But why not just search when you need a link? ● Because scholars and researchers take years to find their object references Common types of persistent identifiers ● PURL, Handle, URN, DOI, ARK
  • 4. A labelled URL with a globally unique identity inside it https://n2t.net/ark:/12345/fk1234 makes ARK actionable (the resolver) core globally unique identity (independent of web and hostname) What is an ARK (Archival Resource Key)?
  • 5. ARK anatomy https://example.org/ark:/12345/x54xz321/s3/f8.05v.tiff _________________/ __/ ___/ ______/____/_______/ | | | | | | | ARK Label | | Sub-parts Variants | | | Name Mapping Authority (NMA) | Assigned Name | Name Assigning Authority Number (NAAN)
  • 6. Why ARKs? Major causes of broken links, and some features PURL Handle URN DOI ARK Prevents fire, war, flood, attack, bankruptcy, ... No No No No No Prevents human error No No No No No Guarantees your links, or fixes them for you No No No No No Decentralized admin plus inferenceable syntax No No No No Yes Flexible metadata and persistence statements No No No No Yes Identifiers extensible during resolution Yes No Yes No Yes Free, non-paywalled, in unlimited numbers Yes No Yes No Yes
  • 7. Who is using ARKs? University of California Berkeley Smithsonian National Museum National Library of France University of Chicago Musée du Louvre Family Search British Library Google Internet Archive Caltech Archives Hawaii State Archives French National Archives Rockefeller Archive Center Library and Archives Canada Archives de la Ville de Genève Silent Film Sound & Music Archive • Libraries, data centers, archives, museums, publishers, government agencies, and vendors • Example institutions:
  • 8. What are ARKs used for? ● genealogical records (8 billion FamilySearch) ● publisher content (100 million Portico) ● scientific datasets and records (22 million INIST) ● scanned books and texts 30 million Internet Archive) ● bibliographic records (15 million BnF main catalog) ● museum specimens (15 million Smithsonian Institution) ● public health documents (15 million UCSF IDL) ● historical documents (21 million CDL, 5 million BnF Gallica) ● historical authors and scholars (4 million SNAC) ● fine art museum collections (483,000 Louvre) ● vocabulary terms (9,000 Periodo, YAMZ)
  • 9. ARK Alliance: 850 institutions and 8.2 billion ARKs in 20 years
  • 10. Home of the ARK Alliance arks.org Join one of our working groups: info@arks.org Get started with ARKs by filling out: n2t.net/e/naan_request Stay in touch: ● Twitter: @arks_org ● Email forum (English): groups.google.com/group/arks-forum ● Email forum (French): framalistes.org/sympa/info/arks-forum-fr The ARK Alliance