The ARK System of Persistent Identifiers (PIDs)

The Archival Resource Key (ARK) system is an alternative to the Handle system to satisfy FAIR’s F1 Principle.

Similar to the Handle system, naming authority for ARKs is distributed by allotting prefixes. However, there is no “pre-prefix” administration via a small number of credentialed multi-primary administrators, and there is currently no fee per allotted prefix, called a Name Assigning Authority Number (NAAN).

Another difference between the Handle and ARK system is in distinguishing between a name assigning authority (NAA), i.e. identifier minting, and a name mapping authority (NMA), i.e. identifier resolution. With the Handle system, NAA and NMA functions are administered by the same organization. With the ARK system, an NAA may be its own NMA, may migrate from one NMA to another, or may have multiple NMA service providers.

For more on ARKs, see my post on Object Persistence: A Matter of Service, the most recent specification, and the ARK Alliance website.