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Linking Directly to Resources; Individual Articles and Records

This guide will explain persistent links in library resources and how to utilize them, such as in a D2L course page.

What is a 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.


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 (see the Other Stuff tab above).


Be aware of copyright restrictions when linking to library materials, or electronic resources licensed by the library

  • Items integrated into your LMS course area or web pages are subject to U.S. copyright law (Title 17, US Code). N.B. Storing documents in LMS or on web sites may violate copyright law.
  • For specific information regarding licensing restrictions, consult the terms and conditions provided by the publisher or vendor
  • The text of your link must include author, title, publication, volume and issue number (if applicable), copyright year and page numbers


If you insert a PURL into LMS, each student registered for your course who accesses that item is directed through a proxy server for authentication. Students accessing the system remotely need a USD ID and password.

To create a link to a library resource within LMS:

  1. Copy the PURL from the database for that article, book chapter, etc.
  2. Insert the PURL into your LMS course area according to LMS instructions.

For detailed instructions on PURLs for a specific resource, see the appropriate tabbed section at left.

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