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Keeping up-to-date

There are a number of techniques and resources that can help you keep up-to-date with newly published materials in your area of interest. These include:

  • searching relevant subject databases regularly
  • setting up email alerts or rss feeds from databases and publishers' websites

Setting up alerts on databases

Setting up email alerts or rss feeds based on your searches or on specific journal titles is the most efficient way to keep up to date with new publications in your area.

To use the alerting facilities on most databases you will need to create a personal account once logged in.

Databases covering all subjects

The following databases cover all subjects and are a good starting point for setting up alerts.


Zetoc is the British Library's electronic Table of Contents (ETOC) service which allows you to set up email alerts for the tables of contents from new issues of journals. Select from 20,000 current journal titles and around 16,000 conference proceedings published every year. You can set up alerts for specific journal titles, authors, or keyword searches. You can also set up an RSS newsfeed for alerts.

Web of Science

The Web of Science platform gives access to several databases including the Web of Science Core Collection (citation indexes covering all subjects and conference proceedings), Medline (biomedical sciences) and BIOSIS Previews (biological abstracts). You can search one or all of these databases and save your searches to re-run against the latest updates to the databases. You can also set up RSS feeds and citation alerts (so that you are notified when someone cites your key articles).

If you wish to set up email alerts you will need to search the individual databases within Web of Science. Just repeat your search and save it on each database on the Web of Science.

Subject-specific databases

Most databases provide an alerting facility. Instructions will vary, so check the help screens in the databases for details of how to set these up.

To find relevant databases covering your subject area use our subject databases list.