Skip to Main Content

Permalinks for Online Services

This guide will show how to obtain permalinks to journal articles, ebooks and ebook chapters, and videos found in the Library's online research services. Permalinks can be used to create links to learning objects in Canvas courses.

About Permalinks

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. Permalinks may also be called stable links, durable links, persistent links, permanent links, or document links.

Complete permalinks invoke the authentication needed to identify you as a member of the Piedmont University community, who has an entitlement to use the online service. When you're on campus, access to online services is transparent; you are being authenticated even though you don't realize it. When you're off campus, the Library's credentials service OpenAthens recognizes and authenticates Piedmont library users. Permalinks have to invoke OpenAthens to authenticate users with their Piedmont University username and password. 

What can 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.

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. The purpose of this library guide is to show you how to find permalinks.

Our online services fall into two groups:

  • services that provide a complete permalink that is ready-made for use, that invokes off-campus authentication; and
  • services that provide only part of the link you need, which then has to be completed using the OpenAthens Link Generator. If you look at the left-hand navigation column, you'll see a tab for the Link Generator in the middle of the column. 
  • The services listed above the Link Generator tab provide you with a ready-made, complete permalink that you can simply copy and paste where you need it. This includes all services from EBSCO, ProQuest, Films on Demand, the Mayflower online catalog, and our Online Resources A-Z list. 
  • The services listed below the Link Generator tab provide you with an incomplete link, one that does not invoke off-campus authentication.You have to complete links from these services using the Link Generator: Academic Video Online, HeinOnlineJSTOR, and SAGE.

Why can't I just copy the URL in my browser's address bar?
When you search the library's subscription databases, the URLs that appear in the address bar of your web browser usually contain dynamically generated session-based information. Such URLs will 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 temporary, session-specific URL. This is why you have to know how to locate permalinks; you can't always rely on the URLs that appear in browser address bars.

Why would I use a permalink rather than just uploading the article into Canvas?
Embedding permalinks to articles or ebooks that are part of the Library's online services is the best practice when creating reading lists in Canvas. Embedding links saves you the time and energy associated with the extra steps of downloading an article or a chapter and then uploading it to Canvas. To conserve disc space on our Canvas system, you should avoid uploading and storing items that can be linked to instead.

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, or eliminate resources that are under-used.

Permalinks and Fair Use
From fair use and rights management points 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.

The licensing of library resources such as ebooks allows you to link to every chapter. However, it is a violation of fair use for you to download a substantial amount, or all, of an ebook and then upload it to Canvas. This is analogous to your making a complete copy of a printed book and distributing copies to your students.

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).