What is a permalink?
A permalink is a web address or URL that consistently and reliably points to a specific online information source, such as a journal article, an ebook, a chapter in an ebook, a record in the catalog, an online video, or an online research service. Depending on the service you start from, a permalink may also be called a stable link, durable link, persistent link, permanent link, or document link.
What do I do with permalinks?
Faculty can create reading or viewing lists in Canvas as part of assignments for classes. You can easily use permalinks to embed links to journal articles, ebooks, ebook chapters, online videos, and other online materials that are contained in the Library's online research services.
Why can't I just copy the URL in my browser's address bar?
Web addresses (URLs) that appear in the address bar of your web browser when you search the library's subscription databases usually contain dynamically generated session- or search-based information. They will often not work when copied and used at a later time after you've closed your current browser session. EBSCO URLs are a very good example of this type of URL.
In addition, not all vendors provide permalinks that invoke the authentication service needed by off-campus users to identify themselves as members of the Piedmont College community. This is true of JSTOR, SAGE, Ovid, Alexander Street, Films on Demand, and others. Permalinks give us the opportunity to provide stable URLs that lead our off-campus users through the necessary authentication process.
How do I find permalinks?
Most research databases provide permalinks somewhere in the detailed bibliographic record. The terms used and the location of these links in the record vary from one service to another.
For Piedmont College users who need permalinks, our online services fall into two groups: services that provide you with a complete permalink that is ready-made for use; and another group that provides you with part of the link you need, which then has to be completed using the Open Athens Link Generator. If you look at the left-hand navigation, you'll see a tab for the Link Generator in the middle of the column.
The services above the Link Generator tab provide you with a ready-made permalink that you can simply copy and then paste where you need it. This includes services from EBSCO, ProQuest, Films on Demand, and our Online Resources A-Z list.
The services below the Link Generator tab provide you with a partial link that you have to complete using the Link Generator: Alexander Street, JSTOR, SAGE, and Ovid.
Why would I use a permalink rather than just uploading the article into Canvas or elsewhere?
Embedding permalinks to articles or ebooks that are part of the Library's online services is the best and easiest practice when creating reading lists in Canvas. Embedding links saves you the extra steps of downloading and uploading an article or a chapter.
From the rights management point of view, you can safely presume that an article, ebook, or video in one of the Library's services already has the needed permissions for posting in a course management system.
In addition, permalinks are also used to help track usage statistics. Usage statistics help the library understand who's using what, so we can purchase the right resources for everyone's use.
How do I know if a permalink will work from off campus?
When on campus, access is transparent; you are being authenticated even if you don't realize it. When you're off campus, the Library's credentials service OpenAthens recognizes and authenticates Piedmont library users. Permalinks are configured to notify OpenAthens so it can authenticate users with their Piedmont College username and password.
There's too much to know about all this!
Unfortunately, there is a great deal to know since there are no industry standards that might compel vendors to provide permalinks in similar ways. If you're feeling unsure or overwhelmed by the creation of permalinks, you can submit lists of citations for which you need permalinks to our Ask a Librarian service and we'll be glad to supply you with the permalinks you need. Please give us a couple of days' notice if you need a long list (10 or more).