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Library Support for Online Instruction

Using Permalinks

Sharing Resources with Students

If you want to share additional materials with students or if you want students to share more resources with each other in an online discussion board, keep in mind some simple guidelines:

It's always safest to link!

Linking to publicly available online content like news websites, existing online videos, etc. is rarely a copyright issue. Though be aware that these links may change or break. 

Linking to licensed (subscription) content through the Libraries is also a great option - a lot of our subscription content will have DOIs, PURLs, or other "permalink" options, all of which allow access for off-campus users. While posting downloadable PDFs of licensed content may be legally allowable, we strongly recommend that you post a link to the content. This is preferred practice because a) linking to copyright-protected content is never a violation of copyright, and b) having students access the content via URL rather than download provides us more accurate usage data.

What is a Permalink?

A permalink is a web address that will consistently point to specific information source such as an ebook, an article, a result from the Quick Search, a video, or a database. 

Why Use Permalinks?

  • We strongly recommend using permalinks instead of uploading articles, ebooks, etc. to BBlearn or file sharing because permalinks ensure that you are not in violation of copyright law.
  • Permalinks allow the library to maintain accurate usage statistics, which ensures that we continue to purchase and renew the resources you need.
  • Permalinks are a reliable means of sharing search results, and specific resources such as articles and ebooks. Copying and pasting the URL from the address field  may not take you back to that original page. Permalinks ensure that the link will take you where you want to go.


Make Sure a Permalink is Proxied

To ensure that the links will work off-campus, they need to include the NAU library's proxy address somewhere in the url. To determine this:

Step 1. Look at the permalink. Does it contain NAU library's proxy url: (e.g or

  • Yes: You can use the permalink as is
  • No: Add our proxy url ( to the beginning of the permalink.

Step 2. Test the permalink from off-campus. If it doesn't work, please contact your department's librarian