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Linking to Library Databases: Home

Links to articles from library databases require special handling if the items are to be visible to off-campus readers

The Issue

The Issue

Although we all use the Internet to reach the library's research databases, our access is rigidly controlled in a manner not seen on the free web.  The databases allow entry only by computers that it recognizes as part of KU's network.

Thus when you are using your computer on campus, surfing the databases is seamless: each one senses where you are and automatically lets you in.   This does not happen, however, when you're at an off-campus computer.

Anyone outside the KU campus must first log in to a machine whose address is recognized by the databases; perhaps you have seen this login screenOnly after you've supplied your University credentials can you see content from the databases.  Even though you're off campus, the computer that you log in to gains your admission by proxy.

This means that in order to give your students access to a database article, you cannot simply copy the URL from the address bar as you would with a page on the open web.  You need to follow a couple simple steps to build a link that will give your students a chance to log in, and that will subsequently take them to the permanent address of the article.

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The Fix

The Fix: Roll Your Own Links

Rohrbach Library has built this handy online tool to do the work described below.  Unless you feel you really need to know the process, you can skip what's written below and go straight to the tool to begin creating your links.

Many people find it easiest to construct links using a simple text editor such as Notepad or TextEdit.  (Easier still?  Use our link builder tool.)

Step 1: Begin with the all-important the proxy prefix:​

Every database link you create for your students—whether to an article or to a database itselfshould begin with this string.  It allows off-campus users to log in at the proper screenThe absence of this prefix will lead students to the database vendor's login screen which is of no use.

Step 2: Append the article's permanent link, not what appears in your browser's address bar

Database searches typically generate session-specific URLs that cannot be subsequently reused.  Happily, most of our major database vendors including ProQuest, EBSCO, JSTOR, Gale, Newsbank, and others, offer durable links that serve as an article's permanent, unchanging home.

EBSCO, in fact, supplies you with a readymade Kutztown-specific link complete with the proxy prefix shown above.  This EBSCO permalink can be used by your students as-is.  You can find that link on the article's Citation page (the page you get when you click the article's title in your search results) alongside the words  Persistent link to this record (Permalink):   

In other databases the permanent link will have various names: ProQuest puts it at the bottom of each article's page as the "document URL"; other vendors invite you to "bookmark" the page or to click a link to create a "bookmark," which is in fact the stable URL of the article.

Put the permanent link immediately after the proxy prefix shown above.  A properly constructed link—in this example, to a JSTOR articlewill look something like this:

A few database vendors make linking a bit more labor-intensive; others make it literally impossible.  Search this guide for instructions pertaining to most of our database.  Something missing?  Let us know.