LabArchives: Linking to files and folders outside a notebook

You may have files that are too large (>4GB) or too numerous to attach to a notebook. If those files are part of the research you are entering in the notebook, you may want to link to files or folders from inside a notebook entry to ensure you are accurately recording evidence of those data files. LabArchives does not have the ability to check the integrity of these links. Therefore, files you link to should be stored in a permanent location; one that is not tied to a single person's account so that access to files is not lost if that person leaves the university.

LabArchives provides a number of ways to link to files outside the notebook. However, using HTTP (or FTP) to access files on a local store from within a web application like LabArchives is not recommended because it poses a security risk. Most browsers block this because it could allow websites to access server settings, read sensitive data, or exploit system vulnerabilities.

The methods below, which involve linking to files from within LabArchives using secure file sharing protocols, are recommended instead.

Link to files or folders stored in a UW-Madison file sharing service like UW Box or UW Google Drive

NOTE: To avoid losing data when individuals leave the university, keep files you link to in accounts tied to your lab's Principal Investigator or in group accounts, such as in UW-Madison Box - Project Directories.


Clicking on the link you created will open the file or folder directly, through the UW identity management single sign-on mechanism.

Link to files stored on a networked campus server using client/server protocols native to your computer’s operating system:

Note: If you are off-campus, you will need to create these links and access them using WiscVPN since firewalls associated with campus Active Directory domain will block incoming traffic from IP addresses that are off-campus.

On a Windows computer

Contact your server administrator if you are unsure of the appropriate drive letter or path to the file.

On a Mac computer

  • In the URL field, enter a valid URL/path to the file or folder using either the smb or afp protocol. The URL should be of  one of the following forms:
    • smb://ServerName/ShareName
    • afp://DOMAIN;User@ServerName/ShareName
  • Depending on the server hosting the file, one or the other protocol may be preferred. Contact your server administrator if you are unsure.

For more information, see Apple’s support documentation.

  • Click OK. 
  • This will paste the entire URL in the entry as a hypertext link, creating a permanent record of the file name and location in the notebook entry.

Note: once you have created the links to files/folders inside a notebook entry using the above methods, you may be required to enter your username/password associated with the network drive/file share in order to open them. In addition, your experience accessing and opening the linked files/folders may vary depending on browser settings.