Skip to Main Content

Alert Services: A How-To Guide

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.

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.

"Alert Overload" cartoon making fun of a wide variety of alert types - from http://www.dolighan.comIn 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 notifications when someone cites a specific journal article.

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

If you have any questions regarding alerts for your subject area, feel free to contact the librarian on the right side of this page).

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

Friendly URL for this guide

Your Librarian

Profile Photo
Lorrie Pellack
Head, Research & Instruction Services Dept.
150c Parks Library
Ames, IA 50011-2140
Phone: 515-294-5569