Staying informed

Key messages

Key messages

  • Research is constantly progressing and keeping up to date is important  
  • Many databases have in-built features that send email alerts of new content 
  • There’s a bit of work to set them up - but it’s worth the effort!

Alerts, in the form of an automatic email, can be a ‘set and forget’ way to see new journal content, new publications by a researcher or new results in a database search based on a topic. Being selective and targeted avoids getting too many emails in your in-box or saved to folders that never get reviewed.

Individual databases may refer to these services as "alerts" or "saved searches."  Some may require the creation of a user profile. 

Manage alerts by setting aside a dedicated time to review them and identify those ‘gems’ to read or add to your reference management system. Periodically review alerts for continued applicability to your current research interests and keep, amend or delete them. 

Note: Alerts to subscription databases may require an institutional email address making them less transportable if you leave the organisation.

Which database?

  • Choose the database or databases which best meet your needs. A large multidisicplinary academic database such as our own Te Waharoa or Google Scholar may be effective or you may find you need a subject-specific database. For example a PhD student in psychology may use the database APA PsychInfo.
  • A PhD student or academic researcher will want a more comprehensive set of alerts than a person wanting the latest celebrity gossip.
  • Delete, modify or create new alerts as your needs change.
  • If you are not sure which databases to use do some test searching for your topic or authors.
  • You may need to set up alerts in more than one database to cover everything you need to be aware of.
  • Your Subject Librarian can help.