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Persistent Links: Connecting Students & Returning to Articles

Learn how to create persistent links to articles in BGSU library databases that will work from on or off campus.

How Do You Provide Articles to Your Students?

When you assign your students articles to read for a class, how do you make those articles available to them? Do you give them citations and tell them to find the articles on their own? Do you retrieve the articles yourself and upload copies to Canvas?

Be aware that downloading copies of articles from BGSU library databases and then uploading them to Canvas for your students may violate copyright law. Database vendors generally do not allow this sort of use in their contracts though there are exceptions. This practice also undercounts the library's statistics on use of our resources.

Best practice is to provide students with persistent links (also called permalinks) to the articles you want them to read on Canvas. Students will be able to access the articles both on and off campus.

"Laptop" photo by CollegeDegrees360 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Making Sure Off-Campus Users Have Access

When you provide article URLs to your students, they have to be both PERSISTENT and PROXIED.   A persistent link will be sure they get back to the correct article.   A proxied link will enable access for off-campus users as well as users on campus.

Not all persistent URLs are proxied URLs.  Proxying a URL prompts off-campus users for a login.  

To ensure that your links work for off-campus users, make sure that the URL begins with

For example:

If you are linking to articles in open-access journals or to freely available web content, you don't have to worry about this.

What is a Permalink or Persistent Link?

permalink is a permanent or persistent link/URL.  It does not fail or stop working after you exit the article or database.  A permalink points to an article, allowing the reader to go directly to it without re-creating a search in a database.

In Case of Emergency...

If a database is down or otherwise malfunctioning, it's okay to upload an article to Canvas temporarily so that your students can still access it. For this reason, it's a good idea to download copies of any articles you assign, just in case.

Copyright and Canvas

Find information on Fair Use and Other Exceptions on the Scholarly Communication LibGuide.

For more information about copyright law as it applies to linking articles from course management systems such as Canvas, check out Copyright Clearance Center's Using Course Management Systems.