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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Towards Electronic Persistence Using ARK Identifiers


The ARK (Archival Resource Key) is the only persistent naming scheme for internet information objects that squarely faces the service issues underlying practical electronic permanence. The ARK is a specially constructed, actionable URL encapsulating a globally unique identity that is independent of the current service provider. Each ARK is by definition bound to three things: (a) object access, (b) object metadata, and (c) a faceted commitment statement. These service bindings provide the best way for service providers to communicate their varied commitments to objects. It is for these reasons that the California Digital Library is pursuing the use of ARKs.

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