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Linking to Library Resources in Canvas

How to link to SDCC Library resources within a Canvas course shell

Linking to Library Resources in Canvas

This guide, Linking to Library Resources in Canvas, intends to provide you (the instructor) the steps to follow to create persistent (long-term) links to articles, eBooks, videos, and more from SDCC Library databases. In creating links to library materials in Canvas you are effectively creating an integrated reading list so students go directly to the exact library resources you've assigned and don't have to search for them on their own.

Choose a resource from the list of databases in the navigation area of this guide to see the steps, and example link, and a screenshot of where to locate the persistent link within that database.

BEWARE that "persistent" links, sometimes called permalinks or resource URLs, may not actually be permanent. As with any database, licensing may be lost to individual items without notice, so it is best practice to check your links periodically to ensure they still connect to the items. 

Important: Remote Access for Students

The Proxy Server:

Once you have embedded library resource links in your Canvas course, the students will click on them to gain access to the resources. But before access is granted to the resource, the Library's proxy server will prompt the students to authenticate with their 10-digit student ID and their last name. They should see this: 

screenshot of proxy server login

Some students may encounter an error message at this point; they should contact if more troubleshooting is needed. 

Inside vs. Outside: Why it's better to Load in a new tab

Although it's convenient for students to stay inside your course shell instead of opening a new tab in their browser, there are many behind-the-scenes configuration variables involved in forcing Canvas to open a database within a page or module, and that could cause problems for students. Canvas uses https, which is a secure protocol. Some library database permalinks have https or http or both. Therefore, Canvas will complain with an error message if it tries to open a URL that has http in it (not secure). This is confusing for students. 

In short, when adding an External URL for library resources in a Canvas module, choose Load in a new tab

screenshot adding library permalink in Canvas, load in new tab checkbox

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Links to SDCC Library Database Content

What is a persistent link? 

"Persistent" link means a long-term URL (hyperlink). It does not necessarily mean permanent, so be sure to check the links periodically to ensure they still connect to the items.

Where can I use persistent links?

You can copy and paste persistent links directly into your Canvas course, into an email message, or into an online syllabus.

How do I find the persistent links?

This guide will tell you where to find the persistent link for each database. Choose the database you want to use from the list in the navigation area of this guide. If you can't find an obvious stable link in the record, check with an SDCC librarian on the best way to link the article. 

Will persistent links work off-campus?

Persistent links will work off-campus as long as the library's remote access information ( included in the database-provided persistent URL.  Sometimes it is a prefix at the beginning of the URL, sometimes it is embedded in the middle, and sometimes only parts of it are used. If the persistent link does not work, please send an email to

Why can't I just copy the URL in my browser's address bar? 

In most databases, the address in your browser bar is dynamically-generated, meaning the address only exists during the current period of your search.  The browser bar URL will no longer link to the article once you leave the database.  Instead, you will need to use the persistent link address provided by the database. This guide will let you know which databases use persistent links and which use the browser URL.

Why would I use a persistent link rather than uploading an article on Canvas?

When using a persistent link, you would not have to seek copyright permission to link to subscribed content in the Library's databases, per the Library's license agreements. Downloading, storing and distributing copyrighted materials online (e.g. Canvas) however, would require permission of the publisher and/or author.

What are these DOI numbers I see in articles from some of the Library's databases?

DOI numbers are unique numbers assigned to articles in databases, much like ISBN are unique to books.  These are persistent references that will always point to a particular resource, even if the publisher's web address has changed. However, SDCC Library only provides access to articles via databases -- such as JSTOR, ProQuest, or EBSCO-- not the entire journal. So the DOI won't lead to an article students can access for free; it is better to provide a persistent link into a library database. You can find more information about DOIs on the Digital Object Indentifier System website and also use their lookup tool to use a DOI to find a specific article. 

Guide Author & Attribution

Sandra V. Pesce, PhD ~ Electronic Resources Librarian ~

This guide was adapted and used with the permission of Necia Wolff from St. Mary's University, Louis J. Blume Library. 

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