Answered By: Heather Empey
Last Updated: Aug 22, 2022     Views: 2

The best way to keep up to date in your field is to set up alerts in the library catalogue or whatever database or publisher you use the most.  Alerts are offered by journal publishers and other databases to help you keep up with recent publications related your research interests. 

Types of Alerts

  • Search Alerts -- You receive automatic updates on search terms that you specify. You may be able to choose a delivery interval, or it may be set by the service.
  • Table of Contents Alerts -- You receive tables of contents for specific journals as each issue is published.
  • Citation Alerts -- You are notified when someone cites a specific article.

Results from an alert may be sent to you via email, RSS, or retrieved through a personal account that you set up. 

Should I set up my alert with a database or a publisher?

Database alerts are more comprehensive than those from publishers because databases typically include journals from many publishers. However, the alerting service of a publisher may be the most efficient way to identify new content in a specific journal or set of journals of interest to you. There will be a time lag between publication of an article and its inclusion in a database, with the result that a publisher's alert is often released earlier than a database alert. 

General information about creating alerts

The steps below are typical but may vary depending on the database/publisher.

  1. Create a free account with the database or publisher
  2. Run and save a search; or select a publication title
  3. Request that the search be run automatically and have the results sent to you

Alerting services for content that you access through the UNBC Library should be free, and can be revised or cancelled as you wish.

Vancouver Island University Library has instructions on how to set up alert services in the common database platforms.

If you would like help setting up an alert, please contact a Librarian.

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