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What Are Permalinks?

The Short Version

Put simply, a permalink is a permanent link to an online resource -- like an article, an eBook, a database entry, or a web page. They're sort of like the permanent mailing addresses for the resources you find online, enabling two people on two different computers anywhere in the world to be sure they're both looking at the same page.

Each database -- unfortunately! -- handles permalinks a little bit differently. We've provided instructions for the major databases further down the page. Click the links to the left to jump down there.

The Long Version

Let's say, for example, that Bob and Alice live on opposite ends of the city and want to meet up at the baseball stadium downtown. Because they live in different places, Bob and Alice would take different routes to get there -- Bob might take the subway, and Alice might take the freeway. 

The directions that Bob would follow to get to the stadium might be:

  1. Go two blocks north to Station 4
  2. Board the 7 Train
  3. Transfer to the 9 Train at Park Street
  4. Get off the train at Ballpark Station

And the directions Alice would follow to get to the stadum might be:

  1. Take North Street to Highway 9 South
  2. Exit at 72 West
  3. Exit at Ballpark Way

Now, let's say instead that Bob doesn't know how to get to the stadium from his home. If Alice told Bob, "Just take Highway 9 to the 72 West, then get off at Ballpark Way," he wouldn't end up in the right place -- he doesn't even own a car!

Instead, Alice should give Bob the address of the stadium, so Bob can look it up on a map and find the best way for him to get there.

This is what permalinks do. They allow you, and Bob, and Alice, and your professor, to all know exactly where you're trying to get to, so that each person's computer can find the way there that makes sense for where they live.

Permalinks in EBSCO Databases (CINAHL, etc.)

Step by Step Instructions

To find the permalink for an article in an EBSCO database like CINAHL or Medline Complete -- or when you use the "Everything" search tab -- do the following:

1. From the Search Results page, click the title of the article you're interested in.

EBSCO search results page with the article title highlighted

2. This will take you to the "Record Page" for the article.

An article's Record Page contains all the important information about an article. It's also where you can find a number of other tools besides the permalink button, so be sure to explore what's there!

The standard record page in EBSCO databases, with no highlighting

3. On the right-hand side of the page, look for the Tools column.

EBSCO record page with the Tools column highlighted

4. In the Tools column, click the Permalink button -- it's the one with a picture of chain link next to it.

EBSCO record page with the Permalink button highlighted

5. A box will appear above the title of the page containing a long URL that starts with https:// -- that's the permalink.

EBSCO record page with the Permalink box visible and highlighted

Permalinks in OVID

Step by Step Instructions

Permalinks in the OVID database are a little bit hidden, but you can find them by doing the following:

1. Go to the article in OVID, and look for the "Tools" column on the right-hand side of the page.

An article in OVID with the Tools column highlighted

2. Pick the "Email Jumpstart" link.

An article in OVID with the Email Jumpstart link highlighted

3. A box will appear in the center of the screen -- the "Jumpstart URL" is your permalink.

Note: Once you've copied the Permalink, you can close the box. You don't need to do anything else.

An article in OVID with the Email Jumpstart box open and highlighted

Permalinks in ProQuest

1. Go to the article in ProQuest.

An article in ProQuest with no highlighting.

2. Click on the "Details" tab.

An article in ProQuest with the Details Tab highlighted.

3. Scroll down the page until you find the "Document URL" section -- that link is your permalink.

The contents of the Details Tab with the Document URL section highlighted.

Permalinks in Other Databases

The Browser URL is the Permalink

In the following databases, the Browser URL is the permalink:

  • Science Direct
  • Wiley
  • DOAJ

You can find the Browser URL at the top of your browser window:

An article in ScienceDirect with the Browser URL highlighted

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