Automate Your Research

How Can You Keep Up?

The number of new academic papers produced in a given year is staggering. For 2006, the total was estimated at 1,350,0001. For 2012, Biological Abstracts alone contains data for over 500,000 papers. How are researchers to keep abreast of developments in their field?


Academic journals and databases offer tools that automatically notify you about new developments. One of the easiest and most popular is signing up to receive a journal's table of contents in your email. Usually, that just involves going to the journal's home page and entering your email address.


Below are some more advanced techniques to customize your information diet.


Search Alerts from a Database

Search alerts let you save a search in a database. The database will automatically email you with new results that match your search. This service is available from most of the Library's databases. It often requires signing up for a free account.

EBSCO Databases

To set up an email alert from any EBSCO database, run your search, then click on the "Share" dropdown menu in the upper right and select "E-mail." The "Create Alert" screen appears. Choose your options and click "Save Alert."

EBSCO Databases include Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, CINAHL, Communication Source, ERIC, SocINDEX, SPORTDiscus, and many more.



Google lets you set up search alerts, but the feature is carefully hidden.

Project Muse

Click on "Tools" at the top of the page, then select "Email Alerts." If you are asked for a proxy string, use:

Proquest Databases

ProQuest offers alerts for specific searches, and for publications. Both options begin with a search. On the search results page, click the "Save search/alert" dropdown in the upper right, and choose "Create Alert."

Proquest Databases include ABI/INFORM, Ethnic Newswatch, GenderWatch, MLA International Bibliography, Proquest Research Library, and more.


Run a search and then click on "Save search alert" at the top of the search results page. You will need to set up an account, but this is quick and free.

RSS Feeds

RSS is a technology that allows you to subscribe to "feeds" in order to keep up with news from websites (including blogs) without having to actually visit the website every day or having your inbox cluttered with frequent updates.

In order to subscribe to a feed, you need to use an RSS reader. Feedly is a popular choice, as are The Old Reader and Newsblur. Firefox has a built-in reader ("live bookmarks"). Chrome users may want to install the RSS Subscription Extension to make it easier to subscribe to feeds.

Contact Us

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College Librarian
(607) 274-3182
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Web Services Librarian
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Search Argos

Journal Table of Contents Alerts

The JournalTOCs Tables of Contents service allows you to browse, view, save, and search across thousands of journal tables of contents.  You can create a customized list of journals and use export options such as email alerts, RSS feeds, formats for bibliographic managers, and customizable API for web pages. 


If This Then That is a service that lets you use RSS feeds as a data source for other services. You could, for instance, set up an IFTTT Applet such that anything added to a custom RSS feed is added to your Evernote account.