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Research Skills Tutorial

This is a self-paced, non-credit course that covers research skills, critical thinking, media and internet literacy, and understanding the complexities of the modern information environment (including libraries.)

Saving Search Results


Also known as persistent URLs (PURL) and stable URLs, permalinks are the only direct links back to online articles once you have logged out of a database.

In most databases, the web addresses (URL) in your browser's address bar are dynamically generated in the case of articles in databases, and will only work for your current login session. This means that once you leave the database, that URL will not take you back to the article in question, nor will it take your instructor, classmates, or anyone else to that article.

So, in addition to the web address in your browser's address bar, the database also gives you a permalink, which will take you directly to the article. Every database handles permalinks differently, so here are database-by-database instructions on how to locate permalinks.

Note: If your instructor gives you a link to an article and it does not work, chances are that instructor is not familiar with permalinks. Please, direct the instructor to or to Ask A Librarian.

Example in OneSearch:

  1. Click on the article's title to go to the Article Information Page.
  2. On the right side of the page, click Permalink (highlighted in red). Then copy the permalink, which will appear up above where the title displays. 

Screenshot of a OneSearch Article Information Page. On the right side of the page is a column labeled Tools. The 8th option in the column is Permalink, which has been clicked. As a result, a Permalink box has appeared at the top of the center (big) column. It's under the Search box and above the article's title. If you click it, it automatically highlights the whole permalink, so you can copy it by right clicking and selecting copy, or simply by using the Ctrl-C hot key.

Your Temporary List

Some databases (including OneSearch) call this your folder. Some do not call it anything. But almost every database provides a way to collect and save search results that interest you, though features may appear somewhat differently in different databases.

Note: These lists and folders are temporary. As soon as you log out or close the window, everything you have saved is gone for good, unless you create an account with that database (free, but separate from your college login and password). If you are logged into that account, your folder or list of search results will be saved. 

Example from OneSearch Search Results Page

To add an item to your folder, click the little blue folder icon (highlighted in red) to the right of the title that interests you.Screenshot of the OneSearch search results list. All the way to the right of each title is a blue folder icon with a plus sign in it. If you hover over it, pop up text says, "To print, email, or save multiple items."


Example from OneSearch Article Information Page

Click "Add to folder" (highlighted in red), located in the Tools Menu on the right side of the Article Information Page. 

Screenshot of the Article Information Page of OneSearch. In the Tools menu in the right column, the top item is Add to Folder.

View of Folder Contents in OneSearch

When there are items in your folder, the folder icon at the top-right of your screen will reveal a "page" (highlighted in red below).

Screenshot of the top part of the OneSearch search results page. Across the very top is an orange menu bar. On the right side, there are items: Sign In, Folder, Preferences, Language, and Help. The Folder icon is actually a manilla folder that is open to show documents in it. If you hover over it with your cursor, it pops up the message Folder Has Items. Click the icon to see the items in the folder.

To view what you have saved to your OneSearch folder, click the folder icon at the top of the page (as in the example above). You will see a list of your saved items in the  center column with adjacent check boxes. See below. 

Screenshot of the OneSearch Folder with one saved article in it. On the left there is a narrow column that breaks down the items in the folder by type: Articles, Images, Videos, etc. In the center, there is a wide column with the saved articles, which are formatted just the same as they are in the search results list. Next to each one is a check box, and at the type there is a checkbox for Select/deselect all. On the right, there are icons to Print, Email, Save, and Export the selected items.

Use the checkboxes to select any or all of the items in the folder to Print, Email, Save (to your computer), or Export (to a reference management tool) the item using the icons on the right (highlighted in red below).

Note: Print, Save, and Email usually records the citation information and abstract. You must open the PDF file itself if you want the full text. 

Printing, Emailing and Saving

To print or save the actual PDF full text of an article, open the PDF full text and use the icons that appear at the bottom-right of the page when you hover over it with your cursor.

Once you have saved the PDF, you can also email it to yourself or someone else as an attachment. 

Screenshot of the PDF full-text view in the OneSearch Database. There is a left column that includes navigable contents of that journal issue. There is a wide center column where the PDF displays. There is a very narrow right column with icons to print, email, add to folder, see the formatted citation, export to a reference management tool, get the permalink, or share it on social media. Those print and email icons on the right are not what we're talking about - they only send the citation and abstract! To get the full-text, you need to put your cursor in the middle section where the pdf displays. You can use hotkeys like Ctrl-P for print and Ctrl-S for save. Or you can use the buttons that pop up in the lower right side of that wide middle column.

Exporting to a Reference Management Tool

A reference management tool (or citation manager) is a piece of software that:

  • gathers together the information you will need to cite all the information sources you are using
  • saves the full text of digital information sources 
  • often lets you make notes and highlights
  • inserts citations into your paper, and formats them for you.

You can usually log in from any computer with an internet connection to access all of these resources.

We highly recommend choosing, installing, and learning to use one of the free, recommended reference management tools available. 

Once you have yours installed, follow the instructions provided for that tool to import content from a database (or website). You may be able to use the Export function found in the Saved Items folder or on any Article Information Page; however, the Export function rarely includes the full text You usually need to save the PDF and add it to your reference management tool. It is worth the extra effort to have everything on one place.

Reference management tools can format your citations for you, but they are only as good as the information that you enter. Double check your manual entries as well as items imported from databases for spelling, capitalization, punctuation and accuracy.

Removing Items from Folder or Temporary List

To remove an from your list/folder, click the same folder icon or checkbox you used to add it. 

Accessibility Note

Please note: If you need to request accommodations with content linked to on this guide, on the basis of a disability, please contact Disability Services by emailing them at  Requests for accommodations should be submitted as early as possible to allow for sufficient planning. If you have questions, please visit the disability services website