Quick Links

Creating persistent, permanent or stable links

When connected to a database, e-book, e-journal or online article, the URL that appears in the browser address bar may only be a temporary address that might not function several days or even a few hours later.

Fortunately however, many subscription databases and publishers now offer persistent URLs that can be used in myCourses, Web pages or email messages.

See the Accessing online resources page for instructions on how to access persistent links.

On this page:


Creating persistent links to the Library catalogues

To create a persistent link to a record in WorldCat Local:

  1. Find the record for the item in WorldCat Local.
  2. In the full record display click on “Permalink” in the top right-hand corner.
    Find the permalink
  3. Copy the permalink. For example, the link for Natural disasters and cultural change is:
    http://mcgill.worldcat.org/oclc/49550765

To create a persistent link to a record in the Classic Catalogue:

  1. Locate the detailed (full) record for your document in the Classic Catalogue.
  2. Right click on the "Right Click to Bookmark" and select "copy shortcut" from the drop down menu. For example, the link to Economics and the wind in the Classic Catalogue is:
    http://catalogue.mcgill.ca/F/?func=find-b&find_code=SYS&local_base=catalogue&request=002306907

Note: This will create a persistent link to the brief record (even though the bookmark feature is accessed from the full record).

To create a "canned" search into WorldCat Local using, e.g. a Subject Advanced Search:

  1. Go to the Advanced Search , select "Subject" from the drop-down menu, enter your search term and click "Search".
  2. Copy the resulting URL from the browser's address bar. For example, the link to a subject search for natural disasters in WorldCat is:
    http://mcgill.worldcat.org/search?q=su%3Anatural+disasters&.qt=advanced&dblist=638

Creating persistent links to databases

There are two recommended methods of linking to the Library's online databases, article indexes and web resources: Direct linking to the resource with the EZproxy prefix for paid resources; or linking to the stable URL (permalink) for the resource’s bibliographic record in WorldCat Local.

Link directly to a resource:

  • Look up the database in WorldCat Local under “Website” in the format facets. Click on “View Now” from the database’s record listing in the results. Right click (Ctrl+click for Mac) on “Access database” and copy the link. The link should already have the EZproxy prefix when necessary. (Unfortunately, it is not possible to copy the correct link from the full record page.)
      Copy the direct linkFor example, the link for Compendex is: http://proxy.library.mcgill.ca/login?url=http://www.engineeringvillage.c...
  • Test the link. (If it doesn’t work, please contact collections [dot] library [at] mcgill [dot] ca.)
  • Use this link to create hyperlinks directly to the database.

Advantage

  • Seamless link direct to resource

Disadvantages

  • Links are not automatically updated if the vendor or the URL changes
  • A small number of resources have multiple providers, so there isn’t a single direct URL that you can use

Link to the WorldCat Local resource record:

  • Find the bibliographic record for the resource in WorldCat Local under “Website” in the format facets.
  • In the full record display click on “Permalink” in the top right-hand corner.
    Find the permalink For example, the link for Compendex is: http://mcgill.worldcat.org/oclc/34130677
  • Copy the permalink and use it to create hyperlinks to the database.

Advantages

  • If the provider changes the URL for their resource, the link can be updated centrally in WorldCat Local. Link to the WorldCat Local record do not need to be modified.
  • The user can access the resource via multiple vendors (when available)

Disadvantages

  • Extra clicks and effort for user
  • User has to locate the resource link on WorldCat Local record page
  • In the event that the OCLC number for the resource changes the links will have to be updated (this should happen fairly infrequently)

Creating persistent links to articles

Many of the Library's full-text article databases provide persistent link capabilities. Unfortunately however, publishers and aggregators use different means to create persistent links so is not always a simple matter of copying the URL when viewing an article online.

TIP: As a general rule, it is preferable to browse for your article using the Table of Contents rather than using the internal search engine.

Creating links using a DOI (Digital Object Identifier)

The most frequently used permanent link is the DOI or Digital Object Identifier. Similar to ISSNs or ISBNs, a DOI is a standardized method for identifying an electronic object. Publishers are increasingly using DOIs to uniquely identify articles, book chapters, or any other "objects" in their databases.

TIP: When available, the DOI is the preferred method of linking to a document because it is platform independent and will never change.

Look for the DOI or "doi:" in the bibliographic record or the article full text page. The format for a DOI looks something like this:

Not all publishers provide DOIs for their articles. Click below to view a list of some vendors/databases that do.
  • ACM Digital Library
  • American Institute of Physics
  • American Physical Society
  • Annual Reviews
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • Blackwell Synergy
  • EBSCOhost
  • Emerald
  • Gale Infotrac
  • Highwire Press
  • Metapress
  • Oxford Journals Online
  • SAGE Fulltext Collections (CSA Illumina)
  • ScienceDirect (including the reference collection)
  • Springer
  • Wiley
  • Xreferplus
 

To create a link using a DOI

  1. Copy the DOI provided on the document
  2. Open the hyperlink dialogue box in Word
  3. Insert the following prefix in the Address box: http://proxy.library.mcgill.ca/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/
  4. Paste the DOI after the prefix.

For example, if the DOI for your document is
doi:10.1016/j.jinteco.2004.07.002
the hyperlink would be
http://proxy.library.mcgill.ca/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jinteco.2004.07.002

TIP: DOI Lookup

A form which allows you to retrieve Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for journal articles, books, and chapters by cutting and pasting the reference is available at http://www.crossref.org/freeTextQuery/.

Publisher persistent links (PURLs or PPURLs)

Some publishers and database providers provide their own permanent links to articles that can often be found with the citation information for the article. Carefully examine the bibliographic record and look for clues such as "permanent link to this record", "stable URL", "durable link", "linking options for this record", etc. Ovid Online labels its persistent links as "jumpstart". Just remember to be sure to add the prefix http://proxy.library.mcgill.ca/login?url= to the PURL.

Not all publishers provide PURLs for their articles. Click below to view a list of some vendors/databases that do.
  • ACM Digital Library
  • American Institute of Physics
  • American Physical Society
  • Annual Reviews
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • Britannica Online
  • Chadwyck Healey (LION)
  • EBSCOhost
  • EEBO
  • Emerald
  • Gale Infotrac
  • Highwire Press
  • JSTOR
  • Journals@Ovid
  • Proquest
  • WilsonWeb
  • Xreferplus
 

To create a link using a PURL

  1. Highlight the PURL, copy it and add the prefix http://proxy.library.mcgill.ca/login?url=

    e.g.

    http://proxy.library.mcgill.ca/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/log...

Other persistent links

Some publishers have simplified the process by creating persistent links that appear in the browser window when the citation or article is retrieved. In this case, you may simply copy the URL and then paste into your Word document or open the Insert Hyperlink dialogue box, create a name for your link, and paste the URL into the Address box. Just be sure to add the prefix http://proxy.library.mcgill.ca/login?url= to the URL.

Unfortunately, there is no "sure fire" way to know whether or not these types of links are persistent, but metadata in the URL, such as ISSNs, issue numbers, etc. may provide hints.
For example, this URL from Grove Music Online includes information about the section and the article number:

http://www.grovemusic.com/shared/views/article.html
?section=opera.905605.1

Click below to view examples of providers that offer this method.
  • BioOne
  • Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Encyclopaedia Universalis
  • Encyclopedia of Life Sciences
  • Grove Music Online
  • HeinOnline
  • IEEE Online
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  • Project MUSE
  • Source OECD
  • Wiley

Creating persistent links to e-books

Link directly to the resource:

Look up the e-book in WorldCat Local under “eBook” in the format facets on the left-hand side. Click on “View Now” from the e-book’s record listing in the results.

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