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Persistent Links - What Are They and What Can I Do With Them?

Persistent links are static links to a specific record within an online database. While there are many online databases, both free and for pay, these links are usually used in libraries to mean direct links to specific articles within for pay research databases such as Academic Search Premier or LexisNexis.

Persistent links are often used to provide students with direct access to a particular paper or article of interest. Persistent links can be posted on a class website or in a syllabus. Persistent links are often more convenient than reserve readings as there are no copyright issues and usage is available to students both on and off campus.

There are two issues involved in using a persistent link. The first is to determine the URL for a particular article. The second is to format the URL so that students may access the article from both on and off campus.

Directions for determining the URL of an article
  1. First, determine the article of interest. In this case, we will use an article from Academic Search Premier.
  2. In Academic Search Premier, all articles with a persistent link have a link called a Permalink.  The Permalink can be found in the toolbar to the right of the article.
  3. To select this article, click Permalink, highlight the address in the URL bar, right click and press copy:
  4. Now go to the program you are using to build your website and paste in the URL. The URL is usually very long, but that's ok. 
  5. To make the URL accessible to students from on and off campus, there is one more step:
    Usually, the code for a clickable link looks like this:

    <a href=>Some database article</a>

     But to make the link accessible to students both on and off campus, we need to make a small change.  We need to add to our link.  We also need to change the placement of the first quotes, so that our link will look something like this:

    <a href=">

    Please note the addition of the proxy part of the URL to the database article URL, and the placement of the first quote.  This must be done exactly.

    Students will now be able to access the desired article from on or off campus.
  6. You are done.  If you have any problems, please call 738-7734 for assistance.
  7. Most library databases include persistent links to articles.

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