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Saving Searches and Sources (Staying organized)


  • Using a consistent system to keep track of sources and searches are the keys to saving time and avoiding accidental plagiarism.
  • Options include your Primo account, permanent links, database accounts, Zotero, and cloud-based options like One Drive.

Use links to stay organized

Permalinks are links website links that never break. Save these links to keep track of searches and sources.

▶️Watch a Video About Permalinks

illustrations of hands typing at a keyboard
Illustration by Freepik Stories

Article or E-Book Permalinks

Each Database or journal website puts permalinks in a different place. Review our Permalinks Basics Guide to see where to find permalinks in the database you’re using.

Search Permalinks

At the top of the search results in most databases, you will find a menu to save or share your search. One of the options will be a permalink 🔗

Screen shot of share option in Ebscohost
Ebscohost databases
Screen shot of Proquest search options
ProQuest Databases

Use Primo to Stay Organized

As a CUW student or faculty member, you have access to a free account through Primo you can use to save searches, search histories, and items.

Save items and Searches

  1. Sign-in at the top of Primo before you begin searching.
  2. Click the pin icon 📌 next to any item to save it.
  3. To save a search, click on 📌 “save search” on top of the search results. Primo will save any filters you added too. 

Access Saved Items and Searches

  1. Sign-in to Primo. Click on your name. 
  2. Click on 📌 Saved items or Saved searches to see a list of saved items and searches.
  3. Click on the search (or item) you need from the list.
  4. Add labels to items to organize items by assignment or topic.

Use Databases to Stay Organized

If you use a particular database a lot, it might be worth your time to create an account with that database provider to save searches, items, and search history.

Use Zotero to Stay organized

Citation managers are software students and faculty can use to organize their sources and create citations. With a Zotero Account, you can access and add to your Zotero library from any device.

Get Help on Campus: Ask a Librarian

Zotero Shield illustration

Use A Cloud to Stay Organized

Large article PDFs can quickly fill up computer storage and slow down your computer. Cloud-based storage also avoids file loss from computer crashes

Get Help on Campus: IT Help Desk

Choose a Cloud Option

  • Evernote or One Drive provides the most annotation and notes options for PDFs.
  • Google Drive and DropBox can be added as a folder to your computer for easier uploading.
  • Factors to consider: GB of free storage, Your operating system (Mac vs PC), and sync options available.

Sync and Organize your Cloud

  1. Create a free account and download apps, browser plugins, and email plugins on your devices for easy uploading and syncing.
  2. Create folders in your cloud to organize items by course or assignment.
  3. Always rename files before uploading with a simple, consistent format like Smith and Jones 2017
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