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Using alerts to stay current


Most databases have options to help you keep up with the current literature.  By setting up alerts, you may receive via email or RSS feed any new articles by a particular author, those on a subject of interest to you, or the table of contents of your favorite journal’s most recent issue.  This may be accomplished by setting up an account that you can use to save searches and then set up an alert based on the search.

EBSCO (including Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, America: History and Life, MLA Bibliography and CINAHL among others)

To create an account, you may click on "Sign In" which is the first tab on the dark blue toolbar to the upper right.  On the next screen, you will see the option, "Create a New Account" in the upper left corner of the Sign In box.

When results are displayed from your search, you will see Alert/Save/Share on the right of the box.  Three options are offered; to add all results to the folder as well as the search, to create an email or RSS feed alert and to use a persistent link to the search.  When you click on "Creating an alert," you are prompted for your email address, how often you wish to receive alerts and what citation format is preferred (brief, detailed or bibliographic manager).

To retrieve your alerts, click on Search History under the searching area and then select Retrieve Alerts.

See the tutorial on YouTube for more information:

Ovid  (including Biosis Previews, HealthStar, Medline, and PsycINFO)

In each of its databases, Ovid makes “Your Workspace” available to you.  To create your account, click on “My Account” in the upper right corner of the search screen.

To save a search, move your mouse to “More >>” under Actions in the Search History to display the pull down menu with save, auto-alert, and RSS.  If you have yet to log into your account, you will be directed to do so first.

Ovid offers an additional option, “My Projects,” to account holders to create folders for organizing search results and journal articles.  You’ll notice the button on the lower right of the citation box along with Annotate for your notes.

Help pages for the various aspects of “My Workspace” follow.

          Quick Reference Card to My Projects 

OvidSP Quick Reference Guide  (information about saved searches and auto-alerts begins on page 8)


ProQuest  (including GeoRef, Biological Sciences Collection, Congressional Publications, Education Journals, and more)

You can save searches, set up alerts and manage the content and supporting materials you find in ProQuest databases by setting up a My Research account.  To create an account and sign in, click on the profile icon and select the “Sign into My Research” link which is located in the upper right corner of the ProQuest search page.  The link to “Create a My Research account” is to the right of the Sing In box.  If you have a RefWorks account, you can choose to link your RefWorks account with your My Research account by selecting the optional RefWorks field.  You will be cued for your RefWorks log in name and password.  Once you create a My Research account, you will have access to the following items:

  • Documents – Save, view, and organize ProQuest documents. If you have a RefWorks account synced with your My Research account, you will also see your RefWorks records and folders here.
  • Searches – Save searches to provide easy future access to search strategies and results.
  • Alerts – Manage any alerts that you create while logged in to My Research.
  • RSS feeds – Manage any RSS feeds that you create while logged in to My Research.
  • Widgets – Create and embed ProQuest search boxes in web pages and subject guides to make new access points to ProQuest.
  • Account – Adjust your account settings and preferences to personalize your ProQuest search experience.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides a means for you to create alerts that does not require an account.   When you enter your search terms and receive the results, the green line which has Scholar on the left and the number of results on the right will include an envelope symbol and a link to “Create an alert.”  The next screen will cue you for the email address where you wish to receive the alerts.  A confirmation email will be sent to the address you entered.  The message will contain a check box for you to mark so the alerts process will take place.  The following excerpt from the Google Scholar Help section has more details. 

Get email alerts for new publications


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