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Current Awareness: Keeping up to date with new information: Welcome

Current awareness

Look What's New (printable)Once you have carried out your literature search and found the information you need, how do you keep your search up-to-date?

This short guide will help you use alerts and news feeds to keep up-to-date with current research, news, events and publications in your field.

Set up search alerts using email or RSS, to ensure you don’t miss out on new research.

Use citation searching to help you track key researchers or publications.

Have a look at our 'Social Media for Research' Library Guide to find out which social media tools could be useful for you.

Keeping up to date

Once you've carried our your initial searches, you'll need to develop techniques for keeping up to date with new publications and research in your subject area.

Click on the tabs to discover some great techniques for making our online resources do the work for you and deliver customised updates to your desktop.

Most of our databases offer search alert options. These enable you to store searches and set them up to be run again at regular intervals. Any new records which match your search will be delivered to you, usually by email or newsfeed. Options and instructions vary from database to database, and in some cases you might have to set up a separate profile, but it is well worth the effort.

Some of the major databases which enable alerts include:

  • EBSCO databases: with results displayed, click on Share, and look for Create an alert.
  • JSTOR: click on MyJSTOR. You'll need to set up a profile.
  • Library Search: log in, then click Save query in bottom left of results screen.
  • Proquest databases: with results displayed, click on Create alert.
  • Scopus: click on Alerts. You'll need to set up a profile.
  • Web of Knowledge: click on My Tools > Saved Searches and Alerts. You'll need to set up a profile.

Many journals enable you to set up alerts too, so you'll automatically receive the table of contents when a new issue is published. Just find the journal home page and look for an alert or table of contents option. Or try ZETOC, which enables you to set up alerts for thousands of journals and conference papers, or JournalTOCS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) helps you keep up to date with changes to your favourite online resources, whether it's a journal, blog, podcast or web page. You can subscribe to feeds whenever you see the orange RSS symbol. It means you don't have to keep checking back to see if sites have been updated, as you can view all your favourite feeds in one glance.

You can subscribe and manage your feeds in various ways, such as via Outlook, your browser, or a dedicated site such as Feedly. Other newsfeed management resources are described here and here.

Want to know more? The BBC has a simple guide, or watch the short video below.

Most researchers are used to looking through bibliographies of books and articles to see which references the author(s) has consulted for their research. However, that takes you backwards in time. Did you know you can also bring your search forwards in time with citation searching? In other words, finding out which papers or books have cited the work of interest to you since it was published.

You can do this in various ways:

  • Google Scholar: click on the Cited by link in the bottom left of any book or article reference of interest.
  • Proquest databases: click on the Cited by link under any reference of interest.
  • Scopus: with your results displayed, click on the number in the Cited by column on the far right to see more recent articles which have cited each paper.
  • Web of Knowledge: click on the number next to Times Cited on any reference of interest.

You can also set up citation alerts to find out when new papers cite an article of interest to you.

Science, technology and medical subjects use citations much more extensively than arts subjects, particularly in measuring the impact of publications. For more detail, please see our separate research impact guide

Traditional scholarly communication can be very slow moving, so researchers are increasingly using social media resources to discover and disseminate their research.

Tools such as Twitter and blogs offer fast, flexible and free ways of finding out about the latest research, and making connections with other researchers. We've highlighted the most useful social media tools for researchers on our separate guide.

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