Archival Resource Keys (ARKs) serve as persistent identifiers, or basically web addresses (URLs) that don’t return 404 Page Not Found errors. The ARK Alliance is an open global community supporting the ARK infrastructure on behalf of research and scholarship.
Researchers rely on ARKs for long term access to the global scientific and cultural record. Since 2001 some 8.2 billion ARKs have been created by over 700 organizations — libraries, data centers, archives, museums, publishers, government agencies, and vendors.
ARKs are open, mainstream, non-paywalled, decentralized persistent identifiers that you can start creating in under 48 hours. They identify anything digital, physical, or abstract.
ARKs are similar to DOIs, but cheaper and more flexible in that they let 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.