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Graduate Research in the Sciences

Using Database Alerts and RSS Feeds

Many databases allow you to set up alerts so that you're notified whenever an article is cited, whenever an article is available that meets your search criteria, or whenever a new journal becomes available. For these services, you need to have an account/profile in the database.

Rich Site Summary (also known as Really Simple Syndication) or RSS is a type of web feed that will deliver updates for online content that you select in a standardized format. You will need a downloadable or web-based feed reader or news aggregator to read and manage your feeds.

Several types of alerts or RSS feeds are available, including:

  • Citation: To receive notification when a specific article is cited in another work.
  • Search: To automatically run your search terms in one or more databases on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. When new items match your search criteria, you will be sent an email message or a new entry will appear in your RSS feed.
  • Table of Contents (TOC): To have the newest table of contents of a specific journal delivered to you as it becomes available.

Setting Up Alerts and RSS Feeds

The following popular science databases have been identified as having alerts or RSS feeds available. This is not a comprehensive list, so check your favorite databases and resources for similar language on setting up alerts or RSS feeds.

  • ACM Digital Library:
    • To sign up for TOC alerts, select Sign Up from the upper right corner of the screen. Create a free web account, sign in on the Digital Library homepage, select the link next to "Personalized Services," and click on the TOC Service link.
  • ACS Journals:
    • Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and under FollowACS, select e-Alerts to pick the type of alerts you'd like to receive.
  • Dissertations & Theses Global, GeoRef, and SciTech Collection:
    • Follow instructions under ProQuest.
  • EBSCOhost:
  • See Saving Searches & Alerts. The first topic, Saving Searches, will be displayed. To see other topics (e.g., Setting Up a Journal Alert, One-Step RSS Search and Journal Alerts), scroll down to view the highlighted section in the left navigation menu.
  • Google Scholar:
  • Inspec:
    • Select Alerts in the menu at the top of the Engineering Village page, then either log in or create an account to use the feature.
  • ProQuest:
    • Select the My Research and Language Selection icon Image of My Research and Language Selection icon in the upper right corner of the screen. Log in or create a My Research account using the link to the right of Existing user - Sign in. Once you are logged in, select the tab to view or manage your alerts or RSS feeds. For more information, see Alerts or RSS Feeds.
  • PsycNet (PsycARTICLES, PsycBOOKS, PsycINFO, PsycTESTS):
    • Select My PsycNET from the menu bar at the top of the page. Log in or register for an account to set up alerts.
    • Select the link for APA's RSS Feeds to subscribe to APA RSS feeds, once you are logged in.
  • PubMed:
    • See Saving and Managing Searches.
    • Includes instructions for Setting Up Automatic E-mail Updates, Changing the E-mail Schedule of Your Updates, Running Saved Searches and Checking for New Results, Sorting Searches, Modifying a Search Query, and Deleting a Search.
  • Royal Society of Chemistry Journals:
    • To sign up for email alerts or to subscribe to RSS feeds, select the menu icon Image of Menu icon in the upper left corner of the page, and under More, click Subscribe (for alerts) or RSS Feeds (for RSS).
  • ScienceDirect:
  • SciFinder Scholar:
    • See Keep Me Posted Alerts. Watch the tutorial, linked at the bottom of the page, to learn more about searching and setting up alerts.
  • Web of Science: