John Ben DeVette's Blog

Thoughts experiences & learnings about the world of academic publishing …

PERMALINKS, TinyURL, and shortDOI …What’s the Difference? Which One Should I Use?

Permalinks, TinyURL and Mini-URL are all condensed, space-saving versions of an original full-length URL address.  As a link they are all permanent, as long as the original content is still hosted at the original URL address then a mini-URL “pointer” will take you the website just as effectively as a permalink.  However, all publishers eventually move their old content to a digital archive somewhere.  The better publishers of the world plan ahead and the URL that appears when an article is first published will stay with it for “eternity”, regardless of which server the fulltext is hiding in today.  But not all publishers are as technically savvy, and chose instead to offer us a permalink, which the publisher guarantees will always find the content even after being moved into a digital archive somewhere.  And, yes, permalinks are considered permanent.

Permalinks are 2-3 times longer than a mini-URL.  And they are obviously longer than the technology requires, but they also serve as a form of visual bookmark.  So if you want your blog readers to know exactly where the shortened URL is taking them before they click, permalinks do this.   This is especially helpful when pasting several URL links close to each other, using a permalinks instead of a TinyURL will certainly reduce confusion about which link is going to what website.  A TinyURL is usually shorter than a permalink.

The New York Times uses permalinks.  Here’s what one looks like: (80 characters)

As an example, I subsequently created a TinyURL link to the NYT’s permalink: (26 characters)

As you can see, if you want to go through the hassle, it is not difficult to make a (very short) mini-URL that points directly to the content VIA a (not as short) permalink.  Ergo. clicking on the TinyURL takes you directly and immediately to the article, AND it will continue taking you directly to the article five years from now because the TinyURL is piggy-backing onto the permalink which will always know where the content has been archived.

In conclusion, if you want the shortest URL possible:  Use TinyURL.  If you want the most durable:  Use a permalink.  If you want BOTH a short & durable link, then create a mini-URL that links to a permalink (or a DOI) that links to the content.

If you are still reading this post, you must be really interested in this stuff!

So, you will certainly want to know about a NEW SERVICE that shortens lengthy DOI URI addresses called shortDOI™ Service.  The shortDOI Service functions exactly like TinyURL, but is operated by the International DOI Foundation, whom the whole world trusts implicitly.

This is an excellent 149 word introduction to DOI:

DOI is the acronym for a Digital Object Identifier.  On the surface, a DOI functions the same as a mini-URL or a permalink.  But DOI’s are really only used for journal articles, academic books (book chapters), and soon datasets.  They are used primarily by the academic and scientific communities, and are created and managed by a small group of not-for-profit organizations ( ).  A DOI is really not an URL or an URI, but acts like one and it will always link to the same article or book.   Within the publishing industry DOI’s are considered 99.99% permanent (more reliable than TinyURL).  The main advantage of a DOI is when citation of the original content is required (footnotes, bibliographies, etc.).  The DOI is now an integral part of the global bibliometrics system whereby authors (professors, scientists, students, etc.) receive recognition and funding (money) based on how much they publish.  Short DOI


Have you seen my earlier post?  TINY URL – Now Everyone Can Make Permanent Mini-URL Addresses on the Fly (Just like Twitter)




14 October 2010 Posted by | Archival, Self Publishing, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

XML: A SIMPLE & SHORT INTRODUCTION for people who want to understand WHY IS XML SO IMPORTANT?

Attached is a brief, 7-slide PowerPoint presentation explaining in very simple English why XML is important to publishers, authors, universities, and almost anyone who is creating content to be loaded onto websites, published as an e-book, stored in a digital archive / institutional repository, or needs to be findable via Google or other search engines.

[This PowerPoint presentation is a excerpt of a longer presentation I gave to the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) on 2010 September 17, entitled:  FUTURE TRENDS OF ACADEMIC PUBLISHING:  Creating an Efficient Access & Distribution System for Japan’s Research Output.  A copy of the JST presentation has been translated into Japanese and is available either from JST or by contacting me directly.]

4 October 2010 Posted by | Archival, Digital Publishing, Self Publishing, University Publishing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Future Library Should Focus on Collecting and Formatting In-house, Locally Created Content

My vision for the future library is to have it focus on collecting and formating all local content into a single knowledge base. When all content: data sets, science notebook, papers, books, reports, manuals, blogs are part of the same knowledge base, then the archive, search, and distribution interfaces are easily managed and updated as technology evolves. In concept, this is similar to what Adam Bly refers to as a “digital core,” but Adam’s vision is global. The focus here is making the local institution’s in-house content future friendly.

27 April 2010 Posted by | Archival, Digital Publishing, University Publishing | , , , , , | Leave a comment

INTERDISCIPLINARY LEARNING EXERCISE for Archivists, Archivalists, Perpetrators of National Memory Projects, Storage Fans, and People Who Are Losing their Memory has collected an excellent series of websites and videos that all pertain to memory: human, machine and corporate. Entertaining and instructive at the same time.
Here it is:

If you’re not sure you want to spend the time watching each video, here is an 2-minute summary article “The Future of Memory” from the New York Times online edition which includes a few of the more popular items. Here is the link to the NYT article:


23 March 2010 Posted by | Archival, Digital Publishing | , , | Leave a comment

The Key to an Efficient Archival System Must be How Quickly You Can Access the Content

Librarians have always been good at storage. And to a lesser degree, so have publishers. But the KEY TO EFFICIENT STORAGE MUST BE EASE OF USE. Most archival systems are evaluated in these terms:

– Permanence. Will it be there for the next generation?
– Responsibility. Who is going to build it? Who will maintain it?
– Buy-in. What percentage of our authors are contributing to the archive?
– Completeness. How comprehensive is the archive, how far back does it go?
– Copyright. What are the legal limitations of these archived materials?
– Cost. Can we afford to archive it?
– Accessibility. How do we get the data back out?

In my experience, the last requirement ACCESSIBILITY is not emphasized enough. From the design stages, the end user experience must be kept at the forefront. How user-friendly will the final product be is crucial to the success of all archival systems. If librarians and publishers have successfully stored away the past 200 years of scholarship, but you can’t find it on Google, how useful is it really? If the archived content is not being used, there is a danger it will be considered irrelevant and useless. Certainly, rarely accessed archives that receive little attention will find it difficult to raise funds when needed upgrades are due.

Archival solutions must fit the way humans think and must work with the tools we have on hand now. They must mesh smoothly with the popular search engines. A 2009 study by Dotov, Nie, and Chemero on the impact of inefficient tools on the human brain (citation into with DOI at bottom of this post), consistently shows that learning slows radically when the brain – tool link malfunctions.

If it takes too long to get there, the brain stops focusing on the subject, and starts focusing on packaging (the tool being used to access and evaluate the subject). Or in the case of online searching, if you are used to a search taking 3 seconds, and suddenly it takes 9, your rhythm is interrupted and your brain slows down. When I was at EBSCO we used to call it the “3-Clicks, You’re Out” rule.

An archival system that does not allow for near-immediate access is like frozen steak in the bottom of the freezer downstairs in the basement. If you’re hungry the food in the kitchen is what you’ll eat. Even worse would be a frozen steak in your neighbor’s basement!

Archival and storage systems from the onset must have the end-user access in mind. Just locking it away safely is not enough.


Dotov DG, Nie L, Chemero A (2010) A Demonstration of the Transition from Ready-to-Hand to Unready-to-Hand. PLoS ONE 5(3): e9433. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009433

20 March 2010 Posted by | Archival, Digital Publishing, University Publishing | , , | Leave a comment


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