New “ARKs-Service” from the University of Toronto Scarborough Library

How can smaller library shops mint and resolve persistent identifiers? A new self-hosted application called “ARKs-Service” is a user interface designed to help those with fewer dedicated IT resources to set up their own persistent identifier management service. ARKs-Service is developed and maintained at the University of Toronto Scarborough Library’s Digital Scholarship Unit (DSU)

Scarborough (Toronto) artist Doris McCarthy’s painting, “Lake Harbour in Late Light,”available at ARK: https://ark.digital.utsc.utoronto.ca/ark:/61220/utsc11251

The DSU maintains digital special collections using Islandora, an open-source digital asset management platform that utilizes multiple Drupal sites for collaborative authoring, discovery, and display. 

McCarthy’s “Reflection of the gazebo and trees,” available at ARK: https://ark.digital.utsc.utoronto.ca/ark:/61220/utsc11216 (also https://n2t.net/ark:/61220/utsc11216)

When looking for a persistent identifier solution, ARKs jumped to the top of the list as a feature-rich, cost-effective solution. Their support for early object development was particularly attractive, streamlining internal processes for digital objects that are often touched by multiple internal stakeholders before being published online. 

The DSU sought a generalized solution for ARK minting and binding with a user interface that allowed the librarians in the unit to “self serve” ARKs, update their bindings to new locations, and see how frequently ARKs were being used.

ARKs-Service is a standalone PHP application adopting the work of Akio Sensei who has integrated a MySQL database into Noid4PHP by Daniel Berthereau. The application can be demoed using its Ansible Playbook and lets users mint ARKs, and bind their server locations, as well as append a flexible set of metadata (defined and extensible through a spreadsheet). ARKs-Service supports both the older and new ARK specification, and the DSU plans for future enhancements such as the inclusion of persistence statements. 

Videos and documentation for deployment and use, as well as the open source codebase (BSD 2-Clause License), are available at https://github.com/digitalutsc/arks-service.

You can read more about the ARKs-Service application in the Code4lib article at https://journal.code4lib.org/articles/16774.

Github pull requests and issues are welcomed! Potential collaborators and users can also reach out at dsu.utsc@utoronto.ca

Kirsta Stapelfeldt
Head, UTSC Library Digital Scholarship Unit | + posts

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