Research and Education Networks (RENs) across Africa have an opportunity to develop and offer a service that allows their communities to mint Archival Resource Keys (ARKs) to preserve knowledge. The delivery of such a service will enhance the value of NRENs beyond the provision of connectivity and the business-as-usual services that accompany connectivity.

ARKs have arisen as a solution to the challenges of ever-changing web addresses and vanishing content. These identifiers serve as a means to ensure that references to valuable information resources remain stable and accessible over an extended period. With a staggering 8.2 billion ARKs generated by over 1000 organisations worldwide, ARKs have proven to be pivotal in digital preservation for the past two decades. Libraries, data centres, archives, museums, publishers, government agencies, and vendors are among the organisations that have embraced this technology.

WACREN, through LIBSENSE, aims to support its members to offer the service. In pursuance of this, LIBSENSE is organising a three-part webinar series, in collaboration with the ARK Alliance, to introduce ARKs to NRENs and their communities and share knowledge on how to implement ARKs in their local contexts.

This follows the published roadmap for Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) in Africa. LIBSENSE has stipulated a plan to mobilise the African research and publishing community to implement a more affordable, relevant and sustainable approach towards PIDs. Through a series of webinars, workshops and pilots, LIBSENSE hopes first to create awareness and build capacity for the implementation of Archival Resource Keys (ARKs –  an example of PIDs) in the research and education ecosystem in the WACREN region and beyond.

At the first webinar, it emerged that NRENs could leverage their technical infrastructure and other resources to create the infrastructure for minting ARKs and offering the opportunity to their communities.

As the digital landscape evolves, NRENs’ involvement in ARK services will testify to their commitment to advancing knowledge dissemination and safeguarding valuable information for future generations.Webinar videos –