How to Create Persistent Links to Library Resources

In order to make sure HSLS resources are accessible to students on or off campus, using the right URL is key. If you are adding links to resources in your syllabus, presentations, Canvas site, or other course content, here’s what to know about sharing library URLs.

Durable URLs

A “durable” URL, sometimes referred to as a permalink or permanent URL, is a direct, stable link to a specific resource or document. Using a durable URL ensures proper access.

Durable URL:

Not a durable URL:

A DOI may also be used in place of a URL, if HSLS subscribes to the resource:

Copy links from PittCat

The newest version of PittCat allows you to link right to a citation in the Pitt catalog, where users can find full-text links. Click on the permalink icon in the “Send To” options and copy the permalink to the clipboard.

Copy links from HSLS resource pages

If you are linking to a database, journal, or e-book, you can copy the correctly formatted URL directly from the HSLS website’s resource pages. Right-click or long-press on a link and select “Copy link address” or “Copy.”

Free vs. paid access

Some resources are freely available to the public and some require Pitt Passport authentication when accessing them remotely, because they are subscription-based. How can you tell the difference between these resources?

On the HSLS website, you will see an access note in the link. For instance, when comparing two journals, we can see that AAS Open Research is free, because it is noted as having “Free access.” Contrastingly, Abdominal Imaging is subscription-based, indicated by the note that access is provided for only Pitt and UPMC users.

Journal Access Note from HSLS website

Access notes are also evident in PittCat. For the journal Nature, access is subscription-based and is provided for only Pitt and UPMC users.

Journal Access Note from PittCat

Paid access EZproxy

Subscription-based resources need to have an EZproxy URL ( added as a prefix. This routes users through a proxy server so that they are recognized as a University of Pittsburgh user when trying to access a resource remotely.

Gene Therapy of Cancer: Methods and Protocols eBook:

Note: Free resources do not need to have the EZproxy prefix added and may not work if added. Also, links that are found on the HSLS website for subscription-based resources already include the EZproxy prefix.

Test the links

When you have added URLs to course materials, be sure to test the links. It often helps to test your links in another browser where you have not previously logged in to Pitt Passport, in order to replicate student experience.


If you have any questions or difficulty linking to an HSLS resource please reach out to HSLS Digital Library Services.

~Ann Passmore