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Hamersly Library

Persistent URLs in Databases : Home

Locating and using URLs for database results.

About Persistent URLs

PURLs (Persistent Uniform Resource Locators) are "Web addresses that act as permanent identifiers in the face of a dynamic and changing Web infrastructure" (PURL Home Page).

When you enter a PURL into a Web browser, a server redirects the browser to the actual current URL. PURLs are permanent, while the addresses that actually appear in the browser location bar fluctuate because of database search sessions, restructuring of data, and other reasons.

Also known as: Permalink; Stable URL; Document URL.

Shorten a URL

The box below automatically adds WOU proxy information to a URL (if it isn't already there) and creates a shortened version you can easily share.

Enter a URL to shorten or a URL to expand:

WOU's Proxy URL -- Accessing databases and links from off-campus

A proxy server allows you to access restricted web resources (such as library databases and the full-text articles or other files within them) based on your affiliation with WOU.  When you are using campus computers, the databases let you right in because of your computer's IP number.  When you are off-campus or using the wireless network, however, entry into these resources depends on you signing in with your WOU PawPrint.

The URLs for the databases or the individual articles must include a specific prefix to route the request through the proxy server. WOU's proxy prefix is:

For most of the library's restricted resources, the proxy prefix is included and you don't need to do anything special.

Manually add the proxy prefix

In a few instances, you must manually add the proxy prefix to the the resource URL so that it works correctly.  Here's how:

  1. Copy the resource's Persistent URL. 
  2. Open a simple text file (Notepad, Word, etc.) and paste the URL here. 
  3. Copy the WOU proxy prefix:
  4. Paste the proxy prefix in front of the resource's Persistent URL. The resulting url should look something like this:

Proxied URL

Shorten the URL

Long URLs are inconvenient for your reader to write or type out and are unwieldy on screens. You may want to use a URL shortener such as or, paste the entire ugly URL in the box, process it, and finally, copy the short URL and paste into your citation. 

For example, This:,cookie,url,uid&db=aph&AN=27788774&loginpage=Login.asp&site=ehost-live 

turns into this: