Archival Resource Keys (ARKs) serve as persistent identifiers, or web addresses (URLs) that don’t return 404 Page Not Found errors. The ARK Alliance is an international community supporting the open ARK infrastructure and the use of ARKs as persistent identifiers in the scholarly ecosystem.
Researchers rely on ARKs for long term open access to the global scientific and cultural record. Since 2001 some 8.2 billion ARKs have been created by more than 680 organizations — data centers, libraries, museums, archives, government agencies, and vendors.
ARKs are open, mainstream, non-paywalled, decentralized persistent identifiers that you can begin creating in under 48 hours. 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,
- add extensions and query strings during resolution,
- link directly to PDFs, images, and spreadsheets immediately usable to people and software without having to stop first at a landing page, and
- make millions of resolvable ARKs available by maintaining just one ARK, via a mechanism called suffix passthrough.