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Archival Resource Key

ARK Alliance
United States


Launched: 2001
Record Updated: Apr 18, 2024
Standard, specification, or protocol
Archival Resource Keys (ARKs) serve as persistent identifiers, or stable, trusted references for information objects. Among other things, they aim to be 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.


The ARK scheme proposes that “persistence is purely a matter of service,… neither inherent in an object nor conferred on it by a particular naming syntax.” The most an identifier could do to solve the problem of persistence, then, was to indicate an organization’s commitment. Accordingly, in the ARK standard, identifiers would refer not only to a web resource, but also to “a promise of stewardship” and metadata about the resource. If a web server was queried with an ARK, it should return the resource itself or some surrogate for it, such as “a table of contents instead of a large complex document.” If a question mark was appended to the ARK, though, it should return a description—metadata—instead, which “must at minimum answer the who, what, when, and why questions concern an expression of the object.”

Policies & Governance

Governance Summary

ARK Alliance is a global community group that works to promote and support the ARK community. Participation is open to all ARK users. Oversight and activities are conducted by committees, including the Advisory Group, Outreach Group, Technical Group, and the Name Assigning Authority Number (NAAN) Group.


Web Accessibility Statement

In Progress

Governance Activities

In Progress

Governance Structure & Processes

In Progress

Additional Information

Organizational History

In 2018, the California Digital Library and DuraSpace announced a collaboration, initially named ARKs-in-the-Open and then the ARK Alliance, to build an international community around ARKs and their use in open scholarship.

Organizational Structure

Business or Ownership Model

Volunteer community

Full-time Staff



Primary Funding Source