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Persistent URLs in Databases

Need to know how to locate the persistent URL for an article? Try this guide!

Persistent Links to Library Content Video

About Persistent URLs

What are Persistent URLs otherwise known as PURLS?


"PURLs (Persistent Uniform Resource Locators) are Web addresses that act as permanent identifiers in the face of a dynamic and changing Web infrastructure. Instead of resolving directly to Web resources, PURLs provide a level of indirection that allows the underlying Web addresses of resources to change over time without negatively affecting systems that depend on them. This capability provides continuity of references to network resources that may migrate from machine to machine for business, social or technical reasons."


This definition is provided courtesy OCLC and is located on the site


Another term for PURLs is Permalink. You will frequently see this used in databases and it is the same thing as a PURL.

Library Proxy URL - Accessing Links Off Campus

To get access to a link to an article, film, image, journal or database from home, follow these steps:

1. Copy the full url from the email you received and paste into a browser address window
2. Highlight and copy the following string:


3.Paste the string from #2 IN FRONT OF the url from your email. The resulting url should look something like this:


4.Enter your Boise State username and password when prompted.

Why use Persistent URLS?

The library provides access to a wealth of online content that you can use in your course. Unlike coursepacks and textbooks, students are already paying for access to these materials with their tuition. You can use links in your Canvas Course Shell that point students directly to online resources, including articles, databases, and ebooks. 

It’s always better to link out to online content rather than downloading, saving, and re-uploading in your course. For one thing, you want to stay on the safe side of copyright law. Linking out respects the library’s licensing contracts with database vendors. 

It is also a way to make sure the resources you are using are accessible to your students. The resources we license are more likely to be accessible than a scanned and uploaded pdf or even a downloaded pdf and using a proxied link to library licensed resources is an easy way to make sure your course materials are accessible to all your students. 

Every time a student clicks on a library link in your course it counts as a use for that particular online resource. This is important because libraries partly determine which online resources to continue subscribing to based on usage statistics. Thus we can make sure that we continue to subscribe to the important resources for your classes. So let's learn about how to use Persistent URLS.