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Internet Basics: Web Addresses

What is a Web Address?

The web address contains information about the location of the webpage.

It is also known as the URL (uniform resource locator).

Like the address for your home, a web address organizes information about a webpage's location in a predictable way.


This is how to break down the information using the following URL as an example:


This is a set of connected webpages. The address for the network is typically the same as the homepage of a website. Under that website will be a variety of webpages. The last part of the network address is the top level domain name.

From the example, is the network section of the URL, and the top level domain is .gov.

Top Level Domain:

This indicates the type of network, and can give you clues about the purpose/owners of a website. Websites based outside of the United States will often include a country code as part of the domain (e.g. .uk, .ca, .ng, etc.)

Common domain names:

  • .com (business)
  • .org (organization)
  • .edu (education)
  • .gov (government)

Note: there are few restrictions about what domain name a website must use. A business can choose either .com or .org. Only a government site can use .gov, but you may find some government sites under other domains (e.g. some public schools use .org).

Folders & subfolders:

Just like on your personal computer, a website may have a variety of folders and subfolders to organize all of the content on the website.

The example above has a folder called opinions that contains a subfolder of PDF documents from 2012 called 12pdf.

File name:

The last part of a web address gives the name of the individual file that displays when you go to that address. Web address often end with the file name .htm or .html, which indicates that you are looking at a regular webpage.

The example address above has the file name 11-697_d1o2.pdf. Because the file name ends with .pdf, it will display a PDF document.

Webpages in the Walden Library

Because the Walden Library is on the Internet, it can sometimes be difficult to know when you are in the Library or on a different website.

Walden Library webpages have web addresses that start with:

Walden University Quick Answers have web addresses that start with:

Walden Library Database pages will include the following somewhere in the web address:

Accessing Databases through the Walden Library:

The Library subscribes to databases from database vendors. This means that most of the web address is for the website of the vendor, but in order to access the database the vendor has to know that you are affiliated with Walden. You do this by accessing the database's website via the Walden Library. Once you log in, that little bit of web address ( is added to the web address of every page you visit.


NOTE: you can sometimes access a database without being in the Walden Library. If that happens, you may be able to search, but you won't have access to full text. How do you know if you're in the Library's version? Look for in the web address.

Database web address via the Library (full text access):​

Database web address on the Open Internet (no full text):

Linking to individual articles

Unlike most webpages on the Internet, the web addresses of individual articles may not be stable. This means that you may not be able to bookmark an individual article. Instead, look for a persistent link.

Persistent link: a web address that is stable over time. Also known as permalink.
Use the persistent link to reopen an individual article.

Each database has a different way of providing a persistent link to an article. Here are some of the most common examples:

  • On the article record, click permalink in the right column and then copy the address that appears (EBSCOhost databases)
  • On the article record, look for the Document ID at the bottom of the page (ProQuest databases)
  • Open the full text and copy the URL in the address bar (ScienceDirect, SAGE)
  • On the article record, choose the e-mail option (OVID)

Tip: the persistent link must have to work.