Alerts: Keeping Current in Your Discipline: Home

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).

What are Alerts?

Having trouble juggling information and keeping up-to-date?  Alerts can help!  Instead of being buried by alerts, use this guide to learn more about managing your alert options.

In general, alerts refer to notifications when something of interest to you has been published in a new issue of a journal or added to a database or website. Definitions, terminology and frequency of notification vary from publisher to publisher. These services are not available for all databases and journals, but are becoming popular features.

TIP: Email notifications require you to register your email address and preferences. Any email address will work; it does not need to be your official university email address.

Types of Alerts:

Saved searches (or subject alerts) do not save the records you were looking at in your search; they save only the topic so it can be easily re-run to look for newer articles.

Table of Contents alerts are automatic notifications when a new issue of a specific journal has been published.

Citation alerts are less common.  They are notifications when someone cites a specific journal article.

Web Page alerts - are notifications when a specific web page has been updated.

Alternatives to traditional email alerts are RSS feeds, blogs, Twitter and/or Facebook news feeds.

If you have any questions regarding alerts for your subject area, feel free to contact a Subject Specialist .


My Thanks to the creators of the LibGuide, Alerts: How to Guide,  at Iowa State University for much of this content.

Alerts Powerpoint


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Donna Ziegenfuss
Liaison to the College of Education,
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