Online library resources make it easy to keep up with new developments in your research area. You can save searches and have results emailed to you or subscribe to RSS feeds from publishers, literature databases, and web search engines. This post has quick instructions for setting up topical search alerts for four key resources:
Free registration is required in most cases. A guide with more detailed instructions for setting up alerts in these resources and others is available here. For assistance setting up alerts in these or other resources, contact your librarian.
Engineering Village is not just for engineers! It includes Compendex, Inspec, GeoRef and GEOBASE, and is an excellent source for literature on for environmental sciences and ecology, and even some archaeology. For an email alert, registration is required, but you can create RSS feeds without registering. To create an alert, perform your search, then click either “Create alert” for email alerts or “RSS feed” to generate the RSS feed link. Engineering Village also includes the National Technical Information Service (NTIS, government reports), US and European patents.
You do not need a Google account to create an email alert in Google Scholar. To create an alert, perform your search, then click “Create alert” on the left side of the screen. You can enter any email address into the alert form; Google will send a verification link to that address which you must click to begin receiving alert emails. You can receive up to 20 results per email, and results are emailed as items are indexed in Google Scholar. Only email alerts are offered, not RSS feeds. Each email includes an “Cancel alert” link. Google Scholar indexes new journal literature from many diverse sources very rapidly and captures grey literature which many traditional databases exclude. More information about Google Scholar alerts is here. Because Google Scholar searches full text, it is possible to mine for specific words or phrases within papers, which you cannot do in traditional databases. This can be helpful if, for example, you want to track use of your online data or specimens from your collection in the literature.
Another way to stay current using Google Scholar is “My Updates.” If you create an account and add your own publications to your “My Citations” profile, the “My Updates” link will retrieve publications that are similar to your own publications. Click here to learn how to set up your Google Citations profile.
Scopus covers the physical, life, health and social sciences and includes journals, conference papers, and books. For an email alert, registration is required, but you can create and subscribe to RSS feeds from searches without registering. Perform your search, then select either “Set alert” for an email alert or “Set feed” to create an RSS feed from the search. You can subscribe to the RSS feed using one of the options offered in the Scopus interface or your favorite feed reader. To add the feed to your Outlook account, copy the feed URL from Scopus, then in Outlook right click on “RSS feeds” (below your mail account), select “add a new RSS feed,” and paste the URL into the box.
Web of Knowledge
Web of Knowledge is a suite of core databases covering a wide range of topics. Included in this resource are Web of Science, Current Contents Connect, Biological Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, Zoological Record and more. Register with Web of Knowledge to save searches and create alerts. To create an alert, perform your search, then click “Create Alert” to save the search and create an email alert. RSS feeds are automatically created when you create an alert. It is not possible to save searches for Web of Knowledge “all database” searches; alerts must be set up in each database separately. Your registration also allows you to create a “Researcher ID” and a researcher profile which you can use to share information about your work.
You can subscribe to an RSS feed using your favorite feed reader, or you can add the feed to your Outlook account, where it’s almost just like email. To add a feed to Outlook, copy the feed URL from the popup window in Engineering Village, then in Outlook right click on “RSS feeds” (below your mail account), select “add a new RSS feed,” and paste the URL into the box. For more information on RSS feeds, see Using RSS Feeds to stay current.
(This post is an update of a post made to this blog in November 2012. The update reflects changes in user interfaces for some of the resources, and includes a link to the alerts LibGuide.)