Alerts: Keeping Current in Your Discipline: Journal and News Alerts

Alerts refer to notifications when something of interest to you has been published in a new journal issue or added to a database or website. Covers basic techniques for setting up alerts (a.k.a. current awareness services).


Depending on the resource, news updates are usually available via RSS feed, blog, email alerts, twitter, and/or Facebook.  Almost all major newspapers and television networks offer news updates.  Locate their website and look for information on alerts or RSS.

  • Chronicle of Higher Education: Once you are on The Chronicle of Higher Education main page, scroll all the way to the bottom. There is a small link for "Site Map" near the center of the page footer. Click on Site Map to go to The Chronicle's list of RSS Feeds page.
  • Google alerts offers the ability to save searches and be notified when new content is added to Google. Similarly, you can limit alerts to just Google News, blogs, videos, Google Groups, etc. Results can be sent via email or RSS feed.
  • Google News: An automated news aggregator. Users can request e-mail alerts on various keyword topics by subscribing to Google News Alerts. E-mails are sent to subscribers whenever news articles matching their requests come online. Alerts are also available via RSS and Atom feeds.
  • SciCentral: Gateway to the Best Science News Sources.  

Basic Instructions

In general, there are 2 ways to locate instructions for other database or journal alert services:

  1. Within a Database: Log into whichever database/journal is of interest to you - e.g., Physical Education Index or the Journal of Irreproducible Results. Once the database or journal page has loaded, look for a HELP or INFO button. Instructions for saved search or alert services are usually provided as part of the help screens; however, keep in mind that these services are not available for all databases.
  2. Within the Journal's or Newspaper's Homepage: Go to the publisher's homepage (a search of the journal name on Google should quickly identify their location). Look for a link labeled Alerts, Journals or Electronic Journals. Once you get to the main page, look for links labeled Alerts or My Account and follow directions for setting up these services with that particular publisher. Most publishers will provide alerts free to anyone, even if the library does not have a subscription to the journal. It usually requires a registration process because they will need to have your email address and preferences on file.



Alerts using Usearch

Using Usearch:  You are able to keep current with new library acquisitions (books, journal articles, digital resources) by setting up alerts in the new University Library Catalog. Log into My Account on the advanced search page. You can set a query to become an alert, that is, to run automatically. You will receive an email notification once new items answering your search criteria are identified. Once you do a search, you are able to save the query by clicking on the Save Query at the bottom of the column on the right. This process may also be used for receiving Table of Contents alerts.

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