I am tired of explaining to students that the URL for a database entry they copied and pasted from their browser won’t work.
Here is the problem:
There are a couple of reasons for this. The first reason is that sometimes there are on-campus/off-campus access issues. I may talk about that another time. But the second reason is that some databases don’t provide persistent URLs for their content. Or you have to click on a special “persistent URL” link or icon to get a link that can be re-used by another person or by yourself later on.
I want this to be easier – the URL indicated at the top of the browser should get you back to where you want to go.
I know that the DOI can be used as a persistent identifier. But but my students don’t (not until I tell them about it, anyway). And in this case, I don’t need the long term stability a DOI provides, just the ability to get back to an article or database entry within a several week time-span.
I don’t think I am asking too much. Some database creators get it right, why can’t everyone? When a researcher copies and pastes the URL from their browser they should be able to use that link to back to the same page – whether they are on a search results page, an index page for an article or something else.
I worry because this seems to make life unnecessarily complex for my students, and I can’t give them a good reason why this exists. I’m sure that there are technical reasons why this happens. But I don’t care. I just want databases to work in a way that students (and other researchers) expect them to. We expect to be able to copy and paste a URL and use it later on.
So, if you are a database creator and your database has this problem: fix it (I’m looking at you, LexisNexis). If you use a database and notice this problem: tell the database creator to fix it.
Okay, rant over.
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