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Why - Websites change; perma links don't.

Perma links provide "a reliable, unbreakable link to an unalterable record of any [web] page you've cited." This allows readers to review a cited web page as it looked when an article was being prepared for publication, taking a potentially transient source and making it stable.

Link rot (and “reference rot”) happens when you cite to an online source that later disappears or changes. It's a big problem, especially for academic scholarship and judicial opinions, which depend heavily on citations to stable sources that readers can access. For example, a study conducted by researchers at Harvard Law School found that more than 70% of the links in a sample of law journals and 50% of the links in Supreme Court opinions no longer work.


Important Limitation

Links should only be created for open web sources that do not have a stable URL* (i.e. websites, blogs, working papers, and so forth).  This excludes licensed databases and sites that keep content behind a paywall. Terms and Conditions 5(a) states “that the User Submitted Content both (1) is freely available on the Internet to the general public without paying, registering with the website, or the like and (2) is cited in a legal or scholarly work;”.

This means that items from databases like Bloomberg, HeinOnline, Lexis, ProQuest, Westlaw, etc. should not be included. See a librarian with questions regarding what is or isn’t permitted. 

* Stable URLs may be called persistent or permanent links. They might be retrieved from a link that says something like "get bookmarkable URL" or begin doi:.


Setting up a Account

Any individual can request a account to save ten free links as a trial and choose whether to continue with a paid subscription.

Through the Drake Law Library, student publications and faculty can be affiliated with an archiving organization to get rights to create links associated with that group. The library is responsible for ensuring all users understand and follow policies. As such, the library will provide training to any individual requesting access rights before granting those rights.

Drake Law School scholars who would like to request a new archiving organization should contact Karen Wallace to discuss.


Receiving & Navigating Your Affiliate Account

Drake affiliates should not create their own User IDs.  Your organizational manager or library personnel will add new editors from within Perma. The user account should only use their Drake email addresses.  The new member will receive an email from to activate their account, like the sample shown below.  Once your receive the email, click on the link to set your password. (If the confirmation email does not arrive, be sure to check your clutter/junk/spam folders.)

Sample account invitation email

Once logged in, you'll see the Perma dropdown menu in the upper right corner of the screen. From this menu you can navigate to your links or the tools and settings pages. The My Links page gives you quick access to all of the links you've created. As a member of an organization, you'll also see all the links associated with your organization. From this page, you can annotate links and organize them into folders according to your organization's preferences. Step-by-step instructions are on the Creating a Link and Annotating and Organizing tabs.

Adding Users

  1. Go to the homepage
  2. Click the Log in link in the upper right corner and log in using the credentials you established after clicking on the account set-up email link. (See "Receiving & Navigating Your Account" on the Getting Started tab.) You will be taken to the default page, Create a new Perma Link

    Screenshot of Perma User Menu
  3. Click on the down arrow next to your name in the upper right corner to see the menu choices.
  4. Click on Manage Users.
    Perma Manage Users Home Screenshot
  5. You will see a list of users affiliated with your organization. Click the +add organization user button to add a new user.
  6. In the box that appears, type in that person's Drake email address and click on the Add organization user button under the email box.
    If the person already has a account
  7. You will get a screen indicating the person already has an account and asking if you want to add them to an organization.
  8. Select your organization and click the add to organization button. You will get a message indicating they have been added, and they will immediately show up on the user list. They will get an email indicating their account has been affiliated with your organization.
    If the person does not yet have a account
  9. You will get a screen to add the person's first and last name. Click add organization user.
  10. You will get a message that an email has been sent to that person to create their account. Once they create their account, they will be added to the organization user list.


Removing Users

If you no longer want a user to be affiliated with your organization, you can remove them from your organization. Any links they created while affiliated with the organization, will remain active and still be able to be managed by others affiliated with the organization.

Follow steps 1-4 above to access the Manage Users options.

Click the remove button next to their name and confirm that you want to remove that user's organizational affiliation.

Workflow Chart

Ag Journal Perma workflow

Additional Details

Re Step One:

It is safe to use an existing session of Google Chrome if you were already working in it; however MS Edge, Internet Explorer, or Firefox may not be used.

Re Step Two:

The simplest way to navigate would be to copy and paste the URL provided by the author into the address bar. However, any method that gets you to the page you wish the archive will suffice. Note: preserves only the page displayed. If subpages also need to be preserved then the processes will need to be repeats for each page cited by the author.

Re Step Three:

The extension button can be found in the upper right hand corner of Google Chrome as shown by the arrow in the first picture. The second picture is an enlarged version of the symbol. icon

Re Steps Four-Six:

Make sure the folder name under the “Create Perma Link” button matches the folder tree you want to store the link in as illustrated by the arrow.

The Note by Robert Larson is under production in the Fall 2017, thus the folder is named “Larson 2017”

If you forget to name to the folder or need to change it just use the same process but instead select “Rename”.

Re Step Seven:

The “Create Perma Link” button can be found next to the bar displaying the URL of the original page as illustrated by the arrow.

Re Step Nine:

Click within the page before pressing Ctrl + A. After pressing Ctrl + P the choice of printer is displayed just below the print button on the left hand side of the screen. If “print to PDF” is not selected press the “Change” button and select it. Then press print.


Many links will be “internet” sources but not all. Be sure NOT to create perma links for licensed content.

Generic Suggested Workflow (without an author):


  1. Staff (Cite Checkers) locate Electronic Source (PDF or Website)
  2. Staff verify author’s assertion
  3. Staff format citation (omitting Link)
  4. Staff archive PDF or PDF of website in Drive
  5. CE reviews the footnotes
  6. CE creates a link for certain URLs *
  7. CE adds URL to footnotes

* Do not create links for pages that already have a permanent URL and/or if the source is readily available in print. Do not create links for electronic sources that are not freely available to anyone on the web. (This includes content from Westlaw, Lexis, Hein, and all other licensed databases. Please ask a librarian if you have any doubt about whether it's okay to create a link.)

Creating Perma links while cite-checking is not recommended.  This is because creates a different link every time you enter a URL, even if it’s the exact same URL.  You can easily end up with a lot of links to the same place. 

Authors who use

If an author creates their own link, this means the information has already been archived, although you will not be able to organize the links into folders without re-creating them. Practitioners and scholars outside of the legal field most likely do not know about  If you want an author to archive their own links, please be ready to talk them through the process.

Instructions on Creating a Link

  1. Go to the homepage
  2. Click the Log in link in the upper right corner and log in using the credentials you established after clicking on the account set-up email link. (See "Receiving & Navigating Your Account" on the Getting Started tab.) You will be taken to the default page, Create a new Perma Link

    Screeenshot of Create a link page
  3. Use the file structure on the left to identify the folder where you want to save the link. If you right-click on an organization or folder name, you can create a new folder within that space. The folder you have selected with show at the bottom of the top tan box: This Perma Link will be affiliated with Organization > subfolder (if any)
  4. Enter the URL you would like to archive, and paste in the "Paste your URL here" box. See the tips below for finding the correct URL.  The entry box accepts multiple formats, including "www" and "https://"
  5. Click the "Create Perma Link" button
  6. Once processing is done, Perma will display a "Success!" message, a thumbnail image of the preserved page and the new Perma Link (such as, as shown below. (If you get an error message, you may want to retry the capture. If that continues to fail, use the direct upload option, on a separate tab.)

    Screenshot of Link Created Page
  7. Note the created perma link includes a top box that provides options to see the website as it currently exists (View the live page) as well as see the archived screenshot you just created (See the screenshot view) or look at the record details.
  8. Review the thumbnail image to confirm that the new record displays accurately.
  9. Copy the new perma link and paste it into a different browser (where you are not logged into your account). Ensure that the page appears as needed. (If the page was coded as unable to be archived, users not logged into the account that created the record will get an error message. Read more about private records.)
  10. Back in your original browser, you can click on the Edit link details link to change the record details, as shown below.

    Screenshot of record details page
  11. You may change the title or description, add a note, or upload your own image or PDF - See direct upload tab.
  12. The "Delete Record" button is only available for the first 24 hours. After that time, your link becomes permanent, so please double check your work!

You can create perma links for multiple URLs at once using the Create multiple links tab.

  1. Log in as usual.
  2. Click Create Multiple Multiple links option
  3. This will bring up a box where you can first select the folder with which the links should be affiliated, and then paste the URLs into a create a link batch box
  4. When you click the create links button, you will get the link batch details link batch details
  5. You can see the newly created links. You can click on the link to review the record, edit it, and - within the first 24 hours - delete it. (See steps 7-12 under the Creating a Link tab.) You can also export the entire list as a CSV file.
  6. Back on the main page, you will see a link batch history section above your folders. This shows you batch jobs by date and link batch history





Private links are still permanent, but they can only be seen by the organization that created the link.

Some sites will only let their content be created as a private link. This feature might still be a useful way to document the resources you consulted, but it will not be something your readers will be able to see. Instead, someone not logged in to your account would see a message that the record is private and cannot be displayed.

Tips on AmLegal

If you encounter errors archiving an American Legal Publishing page, try the following:

  1. Use the email button to send the content to yourself. Then try creating a permalink for the second URL in the email. (This will have the code and content as the header, not "link to document."
  2. If that also does not work, you can try archiving in another browser, or jump straight to direct uploading a PDF. To save the file from AmLegal, click the save icon in the top bar. Select the file type (probably PDF) and then click the save button below the file type options. Continue the process by following the instructions in the next tab, Direct Upload.


General Tips on Getting the Correct URL

Tips curated by Tove Kloving at Washington University Law Library & Nick Szydlowski at Boston College Law Library.

Links need only be created for open web sources that do not have a stable URL (i.e. websites, blogs, working papers, and so forth).  This excludes HeinOnline and Westlaw.  Also, do not archive sites that keep content behind a paywall.  

URLs with a DOI or Handle are stable, and there is no need to create a Perma link. If you’re not sure if the web page should be vest, check the URL.  Is it long and complex? If so, there is greater chance the page will be unstable over time.

Example of a DOI URL:

Example of a Handle:


► Some sites may not archive completely.  Common reasons are:

  • No direct URL is available, such a PDF on SSRN.  So, only the SSRN abstract will be archived, not the paper.
  • Content that appears on multiple pages.  If a new story is laid out over 2 or more pages, only the content appearing at the entered URL will be archived.

Note, too, that the content of links on the page are not captured automatically. 

► Blogs

When creating a link for a blog post, always use the URL for that specific post, not the URL for the Blog itself. Even if the blog post appears in its entirety on the Blog’s main page, overtime it will move down and then off that page.

Options for finding the link for a specific blog entry will vary:

  • Look for a link at the end of the entry that reads “Permanent Link” or “Permalink” (this is not a link)
  • Click on the title of the blog entry
  • Click on a “read more” link if there is one
  • Look for a “Share” button that is not dedicated to a specific social networking site. Click on “Share” or “Copy Link”. Select the entire link and copy.

Note: Sometimes a pop-up add can obscure information when the screen shot is taken.

►Newspapers, Magazine Articles

Often, a website will only display the first portion of an article on the initial Webpage. Do not rely on the small preview window when determining if the entire article has been archived. Look for a “Share” button that is not dedicated to a specific social networking site. Click on “Share” to see if a link is displayed. If not, you usually will be offered a long list of social networking sites. Look for an option not associated with a social networking site, such as “Copy Link” (make sure you have selected the entire link).


If the PDF opens in your browser, you can copy the URL from your browser.  If it opens in a PDF reader, go back to the page with the link, copy the link location.  For Firefox on PC: right click the link and select “copy link location”.  For Internet Explorer on PC: right click the link and select “copy shortcut”.

Uploading Your Own Content

If you are having trouble creating a perma link for a page, you can try saving the page as a PDF and then using the direct upload option to make that PDF accessible.

You can start the process in one of two ways.

1. If you have already created a permalink that does not look right, you can edit it (within the first 24 hours) to directly upload the file:

Click on the Edit link details link to see the record you just created.

Edit record

This will bring up the following screen:

Perma record in first 24 hours

Click Browse under Upload file to add a saved file. This will become the content people see when they visit the permalink. You can also edit the other fields as needed.

2.Start from scratch by entering an empty URL in the Create Perma Link box. Then you will get this error message: empty URL error message

Click on upload your own archive to be able to upload the PDF. upload a file

You can annotate any link accessible to you. On the Create a New Perma Link page, open the folder to see a list of all of the links in it, as shown below. Screenshot of Created Links


Click on the bold title of the link you want to edit (not the standard URL or URL). The item will expand to display more details about the link. From this view you can edit the title, add notes, move the link to another folder, and view other metadata about the link: link editing screenshot

Bluebook (21st ed.) Rule: 18.2.1: General Internet Citation Principles

Subsection d encourages archiving Internet sources, "but only when a reliable archival tool is available.  For citations to Internet sources, append the archive URL to the full citation in brackets.” is considered a reliable archival tool, and the rule includes the following example:

Letter from Rose M. Oswald Poels, President/CEO, Wis. Bankers Ass’n, to Elizabeth M. Murphy, Sec’y, SEC (Sept. 17, 2013), [].

Page Credit and Other Documentation

Thanks to the University of New Mexico School of Law Library for giving us permission to modify their original research guide page.

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