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Linking Tips

Include bibliographic information with the PURL


Persistent urls can sometimes be dodgy. Including bibliographic information about the article with the link will help users find the article in the database if the persistent url acts up.


If you email a PURL...
PURLs are lengthy. If you email a PURL, know that some email programs break PURLs into lines and only make the first line a live link. Tell email recipients to copy and paste the entire URL from the email message, instead of clicking on the link.

Some of the links become so long that many email systems wrap them incorrectly. Consider instead supplying these with bibliographic links within an attached document or use TINYURL.

What is Persistent URL (PURL)

The URL for a full-text article retrieved from a University Libraries licensed database is either dynamic or persistent.

Dynamic URLs are created when you do a search that brings you to a full-text article. A dynamic URL is temporary and usually doesn't work when copied and tried again. If you provide the URL to others within LMS or by email, for example, they usually can't access the information.

A persistent or durable URL (also called PURL, stable URL, persistent link, or durable link) is an internet address that remains constant. Many University Libraries licensed subscription databases provide PURLs which can be inserted into LMS (D2L) and web pages so students can link directly to full-text articles. Using PURLs rather than storing articles in LMS or on a web site avoids copyright compliance issues.

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Bill Kelm
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Mark O. Hatfield Library
Willamette University
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Salem, OR 97301
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