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  • simplicity – access relies only on mainstream web "redirects" and ordinary "get" requests
  • utility – with "inflections" (different endings), an ARK should access data, metadata, promises, and more
  • versatility – inflections don't conflict with "linked data content negotiation" (a harder way to access metadata) 
  • transparency – no identifier can guarantee stability, and ARK inflections help users make informed judgements
  • visibility – syntax rules make ARKs easy to extract from texts and to compare for variant and containment relationships
  • openness – unlike other persistent identifiers, ARKs don't lock you into one specific, fee-based management and resolution infrastructure 
  • impact – ARKs (and DOIs) appear in Thomson Reuters’ Data Citation Index℠

In the last fourteen years over 395 Since 2001 over 470 organizations spread across fifteen countries registered to assign ARKs.  Registrants include libraries, archives, museums (Smithsonian), publishers (PeerJ), government agencies (EPA), academic institutions (Princeton), and technology companies (Google). Some of the major users are


ARK Anatomy

An ARK is represented by a sequence of characters that contains the label, "ark:".  When embedded in a URL, it is preceded by the protocol  ("http://") and name of a service that provides support for that ARK. That service name, or the "Name Mapping Authority" (NMA), is mutable and replaceable, as neither the web server itself nor the current web protocols are expected to last longer than the identified objects. The immutable, globally unique identifier follows the "ark:" label. This includes a "Name Assigning Authority Number" (NAAN) identifying the naming organization, followed by the name that it assigns to the object.