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Faculty & Graduate Students

Instructional Support

In order to avoid copyright issues with re-scanning or downloading an article for your students to read, you may provide a link to articles or other items available through library subscription.

Note: If you want students to access the materials from offcampus, the URL must begin with the following:

For items in library databases, there should be a "Permalink," "Stable" or "persistent" URL, or "Document URL" in the full record from the results list. Using this URL, your students will be directed back to the database entry to get the PDF or html version. They can also get the citation from the database entry. If the ODU proxy is not part of the URL, you need to add it:  E.g.,

Digital object identifiers (DOIprovide permanent access to the full-text of many of the items in our collections. If you want your students to go directly to the pdf, use the proxy prefix with the doi so that your students can access the materials from offcamus.  E.g.,

A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique string of characters used to identify and/or locate an electronic article or other "object."  Similar to an ISBN for books or ISSN for journals, a DOI is intended to provide permanent, stable access to or information about these electronic objects. 

Publishers collaborate with an organization called CrossRef, which maintains a database that keeps track of a current web address associated with each DOI.  Publishers are responsible for ensuring that if the web address for a document changes, the reference for the DOI is updated.

Keep in mind...  not all articles or electronic documents have DOIs.  It is up to publishers to obtain and pay for DOIs, and many, especially small publishers, may choose not to. There also may be cases where the publisher has chosen to obtain DOIs for current articles but not older ones.

For a more detailed description of what a DOI is, visit the Wikipedia Entry for Digital Object Identifiers.


  • To link to a doi, use the prefix:   then add the doi: 10.1016/j.joi.2015.11.008  =