ARK stands for “Archival Resource Key”. In a different context, it may also refer to the biblical story of Noah. By analogy, think of “ARK” as a digital ark granting protection to a different type of endangered species: web links that provide access to digital resources.
The ephemeral and volatile nature of URLs presents a major challenge to cultural institutions (libraries, archives, museums, etc.). According to estimates, the average lifespan of a link is 44 days. After this period, it is very likely that the website in question no longer works or has been moved or renamed on the server. At worst, the data in question is no longer recoverable.
As part of its long-term digital preservation project, the National Library has decided to implement a persistent identifier system based on the ARK format. To ensure the stability of its hyperlinks and to optimize the access to Luxembourg’s digital resources, every organization located in Luxembourg and managing digital collections can make use of the Persist.lu services.