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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.

Basic Instructions

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

  1. 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. Go to the journal publisher homepage (a search of the journal name on Google should quickly identify their location). Look for a link labeled Journals or Electronic Journals. Once you get to the main journals 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, but it usually requires a registration process because they will need to have your email address and preferences on file.

News Sources

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.

Your Librarian

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