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Keeping Current in your Field

This guide was created to keep you up-to-date with research information

Search alert

Search Alert - Notification of new articles matching a search query

Most Library-subscribed article databases provide Search Alert so that search queries can be saved and re-run automatically on a regular basis.

After setting up a search alert, you will be notified of the new articles matching your search queries via E-mail or RSS.

This page assists you to set up E-mail search alerts and RSS search alerts.

How to set up e-mail search alerts?

The ways of setting up of search alerts differ in different databases. Below are steps generally applicable to most databases.

Step 1: Perform your desired search from the search page (basic search or advanced search). For example:

  software engineering 

Step 2: On the result page, select "Save search", "Save alert", "Alert me" or "Set up alert", etc., depending on the database you are using. Then create your search alert.

    [from Web of Science]

Step 3: For most databases, you will be asked to log into your personal account. Register for a personal account with the database you use if you have not done so. 


Step 4: Depending on the database you are using, you may then be asked to i) create a name for your search; ii) set the alert frequency; iii) set the maximum number of records to retrieve; iv) save the search as an alert; iv) enter your e-mail address, etc. Then save your e-mail alert.



You will be notified of new search results via e-mail as soon as they become available.

How to set up RSS search alerts?

Steps taken to add an RSS search feed vary depending on the databases and the RSS reader/aggregator you are using. Below are some steps generally applicable to setting up RSS search alerts in most databases.

Step 1: Install an RSS reader/aggregator on your computer, or register at a web-based RSS reader, such as My Yahoo. For more about RSS, read the "RSS" page of this guide.

Then open or log into your RSS reader/aggregator.

Step 2: Perform your desired search from the search page (basic search or advanced search). For example:


Step 3: Select "Search alert", "RSS alert", "Create alert for this search" or click the  or button on the result page, depending on the database you are using.

   [from EBSCOhost]

Step 4: You may then see a Syndication Feed link or a "Subscribe to this feed" link. The ways to add a feed vary depending on the article database and RSS reader/aggregator you are using. You can copy the URL of the feed, or right-click on the "Subscribe to this feed" link and select "Copy Shortcut" for IE or "Copy Link Location" for Firefox from the popped up menu.


Then paste the URL into your reader manually. You can change the feed title, if desired.


You will be alerted of new search results via your RSS reader as soon as they become available. 


Which databases provide search alert?

Below are some article databases or e-journal collections that provide search alert services: