How do I make sure that a link to one of our online resources is properly formatted?

When sharing a link to an article or other content from one of our online resources, it's important to make sure that the link is properly formatted and will work on or off campus.


When pulling a link to an online resource or content from it (a news story, journal article, etc.), it's important to ensure that the link will work for the patron.

Sharing Links

Most of our databases have a link on the pages for articles and other content that allows you to share that link.  This is what it looks like in ProQuest Research Library:

The url in that link looks like this:

This is a good url because it includes the proxy prefix and doesn't contain a unique session ID.  It will work on or off campus and doesn't expire.  Other online resources will have similar functions that will allow you to easily generate a working URL.  The string of characters after docview/ is the unique ID of the article, and the accountid is our Rollins account.  These are not to be confused with session IDs, which are discussed below.


If you want a link to be available for off campus users, it must contain the proxy prefix.  For reference, that is this portion of the URL:

Note that the http is correct and it is not https.  The server is set up so that the user is redirected from an http port to an https one, but putting the s in the prefix will break the link.

If a link doesn't have this prefix in front of it (without a space between the = and the link), it won't work for users off campus.  If you want to share a link that doesn't contain this prefix, it's easy to add it.  For example: (won't work off campus) (will work off campus)

A user on campus will not be prompted to login to EzProxy, but an off campus user will.

Links to open content that isn't behind a paywall doesn't need to be proxied.

Session IDs

Sometimes a link will have a long string of characters in it that will make the link only work for a short time.  These are called session IDs, and they are generated for your specific session.  A link including a session ID will work for a little while but will soon break.  You can often spot a session ID by an abbreviation of SID in a link.  For example:

The highlighted part of that link is the session ID.  It's unique to a particular session and the link will eventually expire.  A link generated by an online resource's permalink or share button shouldn't ever contain a SID; these usually show up in links that are copied and pasted from the browser address bar.

Outlook Safelinks

Rollins' Outlook has a security protocol that alters links sent in emails.  A link will appear normal, but if you right click on it and paste it somewhere, you'll see that it is an encrypted link coming from the safelinks servers.  This makes it difficult to copy a link from an email and paste it somewhere.  It's often best to paste entire links into emails you're sending (rather than embedding the URL in the email text) and copy and paste them in emails you receive.

Generating Stable Links from Off Campus

Sometimes when you're off campus and logged into EzProxy, a link you generate is broken because of the peculiarities of how proxying works.  It's best to think of proxying as an illusion - the proxy server is pretending that you're on campus when you aren't, so links will sometimes be formatted strangely even when generated by a permalink function of an online resource.  This is how you can spot those broken links and fix them.

This is a link that was generated by a user while off campus and logged into EzProxy.  It was likely copied from the browser address bar.

It's broken, and here's why:

  • Note that the first part of the URL is structured incorrectly.  www-washingtonpost-com instead of
  • Instead of just being, the URL has an extra tacked onto it.  This is because it's a virtual proxy session.  This link won't work outside of this session because it isn't stable.

Here's how to fix that link:

  • change the - to . so that www-washingtonpost-com becomes
  • remove the
  • add the proxy prefix,

The final, working link:

If you're off campus and logged into the Rollins VPN client, you shouldn't have to authenticate through our proxy and your links should look the same as they would if you were on campus - this is because the VPN client perfectly simulates on campus network access.

Primo Links

Links to content in Primo can be shared as-is, since Primo will redirect the user through the link resolver and will send them through a route that requires them to proxy for content behind a paywall.  The details page for an item has a permalink function.


  • Last Updated Dec 07, 2022
  • Views 129
  • Answered By Paul Gindlesperger

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 2 0

Contact Us

Your Librarians here at Olin Library are ready to assist & guide you on your research journey.


Have a Question?


Need Research Assistance?


Find a Database

Search through our A-Z Databases List to find the best library databases for your research.

Is a database down? View the Library Systems Status Dashboard for updates.