Hello ARK adopters,
We are implementing ARKs at Penn State and one of our early use cases was ARKs for canned/pre-formed searches. As we get closer to production status, we’re rethinking this usage. If ARKs are persistent identifiers for objects, doesn’t that assume persistence of the object itself? A canned search object will change as content is added/removed from a repository, so this seems to violate that principal. Is anyone else using ARKs in this way or have had conversations on the topic?
Nathan Tallman (he/him)
Digital Preservation Librarian
Penn State University Libraries
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Deeply existential question when it comes to preservation, but I don't see object persistence as a static state. From some preservation perspectives, it's inevitable that resources/objects will change over time, e.g. as a result of format migrations, websites get re-platformed, etc. Unless one views an object's persistence as something only supported by emulation, where the resource is static but the reproduction of the resource's original technical environment is what changes over time, I would argue that persistence does not imply that the object will remain static.
To apply this thinking to your question about using an ARK to represent a canned search, if the "object" is the utility of the search to the user (and not the specific result set of the search), I don't see why you couldn't use an ARK to identify a canned search. In this case, what is important is the reproducibility of the utility to the user, not the specific result set of the search. If the "object" being preserved is the exact result set of the search, that result set should be preserved in a different way (which could be identified by its own ARK).
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Thank you everyone for this discussion! It revealed to me that I must have some cognitive dissonance going on because in other venues I’ve vociferously defended the point that preservation content can change and here I was implying its absolute persistence. I appreciate the points that folks have made and will be checking out the latest draft spec, particularly hierarchies and variants.
Have a great weekend,
Nathan Tallman (he/him)
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