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Research Process

These pages offer an introduction to the research process at a very general level.

Persistent URLs

A persistent URL (PURL) is a durable link that connects you directly to an article, eBook, or other item in NCU Library. Persistent URLs can be helpful if you wish to share a library resource with a classmate or an instructor, or if you wish to quickly link back to a resource. PURLs also help us remain in compliance with copyright rules when sharing and linking to Library resources.

If you choose to use PURLs, keep in mind that you must be properly authenticated in order to access the resource. You may be prompted to provide your student portal login credentials in order to connect to the resource. Additionally, each Library database has a different process for capturing PURLs. See the image below for an example of a PURL retrieved using the Roadrunner Search. The Library also has developed a Persistent URL guide to walk you through the unique process for each Library database. Lastly, be aware that while PURLs are persistent, they are NOT necessarily permanent. PURLs may become obsolete over time, especially as our Library database subscriptions change year to year.

Screenshot of an article detailed record screen in Roadrunner with the Permalink button and field highlighted.


There are a couple alternatives to PURLs of which the Library recommends you take advantage. RefWorks is an online research management, writing and collaboration tool designed to help researchers easily gather, manage, store and share all types of information, as well as generate citations and bibliographies. For additional information, including how to set up a RefWorks account, see the RefWorks FAQs.

Another alternative to PURLs is to create individual library database accounts. Two of our most popular Library databases which allow you to create personal accounts where you can save resources are EBSCOhost and ProQuest. See our page on Personal Database Accounts for more information.

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