How to Incorporate Links Successfully

Given the benefits and the challenges, Cognella has some recommendations for including links in your interactive textbook.

First, and most importantly, make sure the content can be included. It is a violation of copyright law to include a link to illegally posted copyrighted material.

  • Keep clear and detailed notes on any online content you want to include, including its web address, site name, the date you found the content, etc. Sharing this documentation with your Project Editor will help to ensure the links are thoroughly reviewed for quality. A documented list of links will allow editors to check if any links are broken or taken down over time.
  • Look for the term open access in the fine print at the bottom of the webpage; this indicates that the content may be available for reuse or republication. However, this does not mean the content is free. There may be licensing fees attached to using it in a textbook. Content not labeled as open access may be included if the web source is reputable and the content does not appear to be pirated. Our editorial teams will review links in manuscripts to ensure students are not led to content posted illegally.
  • Consider whether the content may be behind a paywall (like newspaper articles). Other professors and students may use your interactive ebook with different access to resources than your university or class of students.

Carefully Consider the Number of Links

We recommend limiting the number of links per chapter and throughout the book.

Use links to enhance and supplement your book’s content, rather than relying on links to build your content or distract from it. We suggest no more than 3 links on a page. Too many links can distract the reader, and some readers may not navigate to external resources.

  • Some authors prefer to list a collection of links in a single section in each chapter.
  • Other authors prefer to space links throughout the chapter.

Make sure all questions and activities in the book can be completed by students, even if they are unable to use the links.

  • If links are being highlighted as a pedagogical feature, please include explanatory writing presented with the link.
  • If the linked content is critical to the chapter content, consider referencing the link and describing the content’s main points (citing it fully and correctly).
  • Links can also be used to send readers to a related page when a particular word, phrase, concept, or event appears in the manuscript text.
  • Consider including lists of other recommended reading, listening, and viewing online, just as you would for additional recommended books and articles. These can come at the end of each chapter or the end of the book and feature the full URL for each recommendation, which students would pursue independently.