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Alert Services: A How-To Guide   Tags: alerts, blogs, current_awareness, e-journals, facebook, how-to, rss, table_of_contents, twitter  

Covers basic techniques for setting up alerts (a.k.a. current awareness services) - including table of contents and saved searches via email, RSS feed, blogs, twitter, and Facebook.
Last Updated: Jun 6, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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General ToC Services

The following offer the ability to monitor multiple table of contents for researchers:

  • Scitation (physical sciences)
    Scitation covers journals from a wide variety of publishers, including: AIP, APS, ASCE, ASME, IEEE, IoP, NACE, NIST, SIAM and SPIE.
  • TechJournalContents
    Table of Contents (TOCs) for technology-related journals.
  • JournalTOCs
    Find 12,741 scholarly journal Table of Contents (TOCs) from 450 publishers.

Related Guides

  • Cited Reference Searching
    For in-depth information on how to do cited reference searching.
  • Preprints
    The term “preprint” most often refers to a manuscript that has gone through a peer-review process and now awaits publication in a traditional journal.

Guide updates

Guide originally created by Joyce Lindstrom in April 2004.  Format was revamped and additional content added in 2010.

Text last updated on 6/11/12.

Links checked 8/18/10.


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 or added to a database or website. These can be on specific topics or from specific journals. 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.
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.

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 (or use the ISU Librarian chat box on the right side of this page).

Image used with permission of Tim Dolighan - "Alert Overload" originally published on 7/28/05.

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