Using hyperlinks is a very convenient way of making material available without infringing copyright. Wherever possible you should use hyperlinks on Learn rather than uploading material. Providing a hyperlink to online material is not regarded as a ‘restricted act’ in European law or English courts, so long as the material linked to is already available to the person to whom the hyperlink is provided.  

Deep linking. This is where you make a link to a webpage inside a website, rather than to its home page. With ordinary free-to-view websites – especially those of commercial organizations – this is not to be encouraged, since it tends to bypass the advertising and promotional material that the website owners rely on to do business. On the other hand, where the University pays for access to a website (such as an e-journal website), deep linking is more acceptable.

Permanent links. For journal articles it is recommended that you use a Digital Object Identifier (DOI).  This is a unique code given to an article in an e-journal when it is first published, and which can be used to make a permanent hyperlink to that article.  It will continue to work even if the website of the e-journal is reorganized in the future.

1. Find the article that you want to link to online.  The DOI will probably be somewhere on the abstract-page, with all of the other bibliographical information (like author, title, date, journal information etc.). For the example in Figure 1 the DOI is: 10.1111/j.1551-2916.2010.03740.x.


Figure 1: Finding a DOI (CLICK TO ENLARGE).

2. Take the DOI and prefix it with the following: For our example, this is the complete DOI-link. This is a permanent hyperlink which will always connect to its journal article.

Some databases do not provide DOIs for journal articles, but they often have substitutes of some kind. For instance, EBSCO databases (such as INSPEC and Business Source Complete) have a ‘Permalink’ function.


Figure 2: EBSCO ‘Permalink’ (CLICK TO ENLARGE).

See example in Figure 2 the ‘Permalink‘.

For e-books you can find permanent hyperlinks on the Reading Lists system. The three main suppliers of e-books to the University are Dawsons, EBL and Askews & Holts: examples of their standard permanent hyperlinks are given in Figures 3, 4 and 5 respectively.


Figure 3: Dawsons e-book URL (CLICK TO ENLARGE).


Figure 4: EBL e-book URL (CLICK TO ENLARGE).


Figure 5: Askews & Holts e-book URL (CLICK TO ENLARGE).

Note that Box of Broadcasts (BoB) also provides permanent hyperlinks to all of the recordings in its archive.

For more information about linking to e-resources please contact the Academic Librarian for your School or Department.

Updated by C.Greasley 2 February 2018.

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