Linking to full-text articles (or even just to their free abstracts) by the click of a button when you read another article, or consult its cited references is extremely conducive to quality research which requires that kind of instant access in the heat of the moment, not hours, days or weeks later when the library opens, the interlibrary loan is fulfilled, or the print version of YouNameIt Abstracts is finally re-shelved.

The question is how easy it is to create those links to the articles and/or their abstracts by authors, editors and compilers of bibliographies. Emerald provides the clearest guidelines and examples for creating links in its FullText Librarian Toolkit.


If you want to see the worst example here is link that the designers of the  ALA Web should have followed to learn about DOI. 

You must use such URLs  to guide your users to an article  in the tiny fraction of the many excellent articles published in various ALA journals posted on the Web. I bet you can’t just "DOI" it, or will not do it. Why? Because ALA missed the opportunity during the introduction of its new Web site to assign DOIs to published items, and managed to come up with  the longest URLs known to mankind  which will make it to the Guinness Book of World Records next to the  Thai, Maori and Welsh  entries which vie for the longest place name. David Dorman who writes a very useful column in American Libraries may see less traffic to his commentaries than he deserves because of the absurd URLs.

In Emerald, using DOI is one of the alternatives. It is the simplest and fastest. This is the URL if you want to link to the abstract of an article: .

If you are an authorized user, you may proceed to displaying the article.

Using DOI is the perfect tool if you know it (more about that in the cheers for CrossRef) or if it is available in the bibliographic record. Not all items in the Emerald archive have DOIs, but laudably, from 2002 they appear also in the print edition.

If DOI is not available or not visible to you than you can use the Standard Item and Contribution Identifier (SICI). It does not often appear but it can be constructed from standard bibliographic data elements manually or algorithmically as I did using Ovid Linksolver extracting the components from indexing and abstracting database records, from the ISSN, publication year, volume, issue and page number as clearly explained in the Guide. The only trick is to include the letter L following the issue number.

Emerald also provides superb explanation about the construction of search URLs which could have saved me hours of reverse engineering for my PolySearch Engines

Such simple tools can help more in promoting the use of efficient and reliable links than deep thoughts about the importance of linking.

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