Automate Your Research
Table of Contents
How Can You Keep Up?
Academic journals and databases offer tools that automatically notify you about new developments. One of the easiest and most popular is signing up to receive a journal's table of contents in your email. Usually, that just involves going to the journal's home page and entering your email address.
Below are some more advanced techniques to customize your information diet.
Search Alerts from a Database
Search alerts let you save a search in a database. The database will automatically email you with new results that match your search. This service is available from most of the Library's databases. It often requires signing up for a free account.
To save a search as an alert that can be automatically run, click the "alert" radio button. The "Save Alert" screen appears. Enter a name and description for the alert and choose options such as frequency—saved searches are run at your selected frequency and the results are sent to your email address.
EBSCO Databases include Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, CINAHL,Communications & Mass Media Complete, ERIC, SocINDEX, SPORTDiscus, and many more.
Google lets you set up search alerts, but the feature is carefully hidden.
Click on "Tools" at the top of the page, then select "Email Alerts." The page will ask for a proxy string. For IC, use:
ProQuest offers alerts for specific searches, and for publications. Both options begin with a search. On the search results page, click "Create Alert."
Proquest Databases include ABI/INFORM, Ethnic Newswatch, GenderWatch, MLA International Bibliography, Proquest Research Library, and more.
Run a search and then click on "Save as Search Alert" at the top of the search results page. You will need to set up an account, but this is quick and free.
RSS is a technology that allows you to subscribe to "feeds" in order to keep up with news from websites (including blogs) without having to actually visit the website every day or having your inbox cluttered with frequent updates.
In order to subscribe to a feed, you need to use an RSS reader. Feedly is a popular choice, as are The Old Reader and Newsblur. Firefox has a built-in reader ("live bookmarks"). Chrome users may want to install the RSS Subscription Extension to make it easier to subscribe to feeds.
This 2013 article from PC Magazine describes a number of RSS readers, web-based, desktop, and mobile.