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Keeping Up-To-Date : Current Awareness > Alerts

This guide aims to teach you how to set up your own current awareness system with basic tips and tools.

Topic alerts & search alerts

These types of alerts notify you when new publications related to a topic or a search strategy saved in a given database are added.

The document below demonstrates how to subscribe to a topic alert in Compendex.

Most of the Library's databases offer this alerting feature, including the following ones, which are widely used at Polytechnique. If necessary, consult their help section for more information.

Google also allows you to receive email alerts when a keyword is mentioned on the Web.

New publication alerts

The Library highlights some recent publications in various fields. After selecting a topic, click on the RSS symbol to subscribe to an RSS feed, and be automatically notified when new documents are suggested.

Journal table of contents alerts

Most academic journals publish a web feed (email alert or RSS feed) that contains the table of contents of the latest issue or of individual articles that have just been accepted for publication.

When available for a journal, this link is posted on the website of its publisher.

The site below offers a "one-stop shop" interface to subscribe to journals' tables of contents:

Citation alerts

A citation alert notifies you when a specific publication or author is cited by another document that has been published recently.

   Citations are only collected from the documents
indexed in the respective database.

 

Citation alerts are possible in the following two databases: 

Standard and patent alerts

The most recent editions of published standards and newly granted patents keep you up-to-date on the state of technology in a given area of interest.

What is an email alert?

An email alert is an email message sent automatically when a new publication corresponding to a topic or a search strategy is issued.

Some alerts are sent on a regular basis, whether or not anything new has been published and some are sent only when something new has been published.

The content of the alert can vary; it can include only the citation, the citation and the summary, the hyperlink to the full text, etc.

   Most email alerts are also offered as RSS feeds 
and users have to choose which of the two they 
prefer.

 

 

Evaluating your strategy

You can estimate the average number of documents you will receive by considering the total number of documents published in the last complete years and then by calculating the average per week or per month.

This evaluation helps determine:

  • Whether your search strategy is too general or too specific in connection to your information need;
  • If you will be able to consult the documents you expect to receive.

For example, consult (p.9):