Monday, 18 November 2013

Creating email alerts in article databases

One of the first things you do as when you embark on a new research project is to get a lay of the land by doing an extensive literature search.  You go to your favourite database and create a perfect (or near perfect) search strategy that retrieves the key articles in your research area.

You design your research project and then are swept away in collecting data.  A few months (maybe even years later!) you come up for some air and realize that you should probably find out what other researchers are doing in your field.  You think back to your initial search strategy created, which you likely have forgotten and have to spend significant time recreating it from scratch. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone could just tell you every time new article is published in your field instead of having to search for it yourself? 
You are in luck! The alerting systems found in most databases will keep you up-to-date by sending you an email letting you know when a new article that fits your search criteria has been published. Email alerts are useful for those interested in staying current on a particular topic or working on a long-term project. Whenever a new article is added to the database that meets your search criteria, an email will be sent flagging it for you.

Alerts can be very quickly set up after you do a search in the database.  Many of these alert systems allow you to set certain parameters, such as the frequency of email alerts (e.g. monthly or weekly).

Most databases require that you first set up a free account – most of which require a valid email address.  If you are interested in setting up an alert, please sign up for the account and login before you do your search as in some databases search results will be lost if you login after the search.

Please refer to our Creating email alerts research guide for instructions on how to create alerts in Ovid Medline, PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science.

So create an alert, sit back with a cup o’ java and let the database do the work for you!

*Warning! Before setting up an alert, make sure you have created a search strategy that retrieves a few targeted articles.  Setting an alert for a very broad topic, (e.g. a search for ‘pediatric dentistry’ or ‘dental caries’) will result frequent or extensieve email alerts as many articles are published in very broad research areas daily.  These alerts can become overwhelming in your eamil inbox.  If you need help creating a search strategy that retrieves a small subset ofarticles that are targeted to meet your specific research project or research interest, please visit us at the Dentistry Library.

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