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Locating and Using Permalinks for Articles in Library Databases

Defines and discusses the use of persistent links to articles found in IU Libraries electronic resources.

How to Use This Guide

This page will help you understand the importance of using persistent links, or "permalinks," when assigning articles found library databases to your students. The tabs on the left navigation column provide instruction for locating permalinks in specific database products.

What is a Permalink?

A permalink is a persistent link to an article or other piece of information found in a database. Think of it as an article's permanent address in which your students can reliably access it regardless of their location or platform.

Other terms for "permalink" that are used in library resources include: table link, durable link, persistent link, permanent link or document link.

Why Should I Use Permalinks Instead of URLs?

Permalinks allow users to access articles or other information types found in databases, regardless of their location or platform. If you simply copy and paste the URL, your intended users will not be able to access the article because the URL will have expired. Each time you engage in database searching, the database will generate a unique URL for that particular session with a specific user. Your intended users have no way to replicate your unique session.

Why Should I Use Permalinks Instead of PDFs?

Distributing a pdf version of an article or other type of information found on a database is often a violation of IU LIbraries agreement with their vendors. Using the permalink will help the vendor authenticate proper use of the material. Think of downloading and distributing pdf versions of documents as pirating a video and passing out copies to your neighbors.

What is the Difference Between a Permalink and a DOI?

Both are a type of “persistent URL” that do not get updated or changed. A DOI (or digital object identifier) is a unique persistent identifier for a published digital object. Permalinks, unlike DOIs, have university affiliation attached to them. To make sure an IU-affiliated person can access the full text of the published digital object, the IU permalink prefix should be added to the beginning of the DOI. For example: