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Linking to Library Resources: Home

A guide to help teaching staff provide stable access to library resources, both on and off-campus.

Using Library Lists - the most effective method

  • Screenshot of a part of a Library ListWhat's a Library List? It's an online reading list created by either teaching staff or library staff. It's created using the Library List tool provided by the Library: view an example of a Library List. Each unit in Moodle already features a Library List tab in its menu bar. Here, you'll either find an existing link to the unit’s Library List or you can import the link.
  • What are the advantages of using Library Lists? In just one step, you can import all the key information about an e-book or article from its Library Catalogue record. For online items, a stable 'view online' link is also imported, enabling students to connect to the full text. By contrast, direct Moodle links function less consistently, especially for off-campus users. With print items, the shelf location and the availability of print copies are also displayed.

    Links to webpages and online videos can also be added, along with references to books that aren't in the Library’s collection. A list can be set to be ‘reviewed’ by the Library for potential book orders. You can also track the number of times students engage with individual items on a list.
  • The Scanning Service and Library Lists: teaching staff can request a copyright-compliant scan of an article or chapter from our print collection and we'll then add a link to the scan in the relevant Library List. If we don't have the item in print, we may be able to obtain a copyright-paid-fee copy. The Library manages the CLA Scanning Licence on behalf of the University, which permits scanning by library staff rather than teaching staff. 
  • How to create a Library List: refer to the Library Lists guide and if you need any help, please email the Library. Alternatively, ask the Library to create the Library List by emailing your reading list to us. Include the following details in your email: unit number/title, list layout, full references and URLs for any content unavailable through the Library Catalogue. Also allocate one of the following categories to each reading: essential, recommended or background - this helps us make effective purchasing decisions.

Creating direct links in Moodle, presentations and emails

Please note
  • You are responsible for identifying, adding and maintaining any direct links that you add in Moodle, emails or presentations. Please also note that a direct link is more likely to break than a link that's been imported via a Library List.
Why you must add online links rather than uploaded copies
  • The Law and Licences: if you attach/link to a copy of a document that either you or someone else has uploaded, it is likely that you will breach either copyright law or the terms of a licence signed by the Library. Instead, you should always provide a link to the relevant content online. Publishers have previously demanded the immediate removal of illegal copies at very short notice.
  • Tracking usage: if your students read an uploaded or e-mailed copy, this will not be reflected in usage statistics. These statistics inform the Library’s decisions when renewing subscriptions so if usage appears to be low, this could result in a cancellation. Furthermore, the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ACLC) is unable to track usage of uploaded files, thereby denying the author any associated royalty payments.
  • Accessibility: uploaded copies are unlikely to meet the quality standards set by The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Apps) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations.
  • Wider reading: by connecting students to an article on an e-journal platform (rather than the copied document) or a chapter on an e-book platform, you are more likely to encourage the student to read further content from that title.
  • The Library Scanning Service for Academics: if we create a scan of an article or chapter for your unit, you should only use the associated link that we send to you for the Moodle link. A link to an uploaded copy is likely to breach licence terms and copyright law, and it adversely affects author royalties. Our scans are audited by the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) which demands the immediate removal of illegal copies.
Don't use a session link
  • When you connect to an article or e-book, don’t assume that the URL that’s visible in the web address bar can be used to create a stable link. It may be a temporary 'session link' that functions only for the duration of your current online session. Typically, a session link is long and includes at least one of the following: date, search terms and symbols such as ? or %. Test a URL to confirm whether it's a ‘session link’ by pasting it into a different browser or device - you could also join a non-university WiFi network or turn off WiFi.

Select one of the following types of link
Example of a typical permalink icon
  • Supplier permalink: many content suppliers provide a permalink (also known as a ‘permanent link’) which provide a generally stable way of connecting students to an article or e-book. Usually, permalinks are displayed on the relevant webpage via an icon featuring two chains. If you can’t find a permalink, many e-resources provide an option to email details about the article which usually include a permalink. For articles on the OVID platform, use the ‘email jumpstart" option to generate a permalink.

    With articles, you may have the option to link to either the PDF file or an information page. The latter option may list multiple format options from which students can choose the one that's most accessible to them (particularly useful if they have a disability).
  • Catalogue permalink: this is very stable but requires the student to click at least one more link to arrive at the content. It connects the student to the item’s Library Catalogue record in which the full-text link appears. To find a catalogue permalink, search the Library Catalogue for the e-book/article/item. Click the title in the relevant search result to access its full record. In the 'send to' section, click the 'two chains' permalink icon and then click the green link, ‘copy permalink to clipboard’. Finally, paste the permalink into your Moodle link. For help with finding items on the Library Catalogue, please refer to these short videos.
  • DOI Link: if you are unable to identify a permalink, you may be able to create a link using a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). You may either find the DOI on the provider’s website or in a database record for the item (for example, in Web of Science, Business Source Complete or SPORTDiscus). However, DOIs are only suitable for accessing articles on the original publisher's website and don’t assume that a DOI link works without testing it first.

    Here’s an example of a DOI: 10.1007/s00180-009-0164-x . To convert this into a link, add the following prefix: . Here’s the resulting DOI-based link:

To create a link in Moodle
  • Click 'Add an activity or resource' and then select 'label' rather than 'URL' to set up the link. Labels provide the best way of ensuring both on and off-campus access by automatically adding the following 'proxy prefix' to the start of a URL: (so you don't need to add this yourself if using a 'label').

To create a link in a presentation or email 
  • To ensure both on and off-campus access, add the following prefix to the start of the URL:  

  • The prefix should be followed, without any spaces, by the full link to the document. Here’s an example of a URL featuring a proxy prefix: . We also provide a tool to help you create a link that includes the proxy prefix.
The purpose of the proxy prefix
  • Where necessary, the proxy prefix triggers a request for the user to enter their University username and password. Students need to be “authenticated” given that most of our e-resource licences restrict access to our users. With some resources, on-campus users don’t need to enter a password if they’ve logged on via a University PC or EduRoam, but the proxy prefix is still required in order to enable off-campus access.