Keeping up to date in your subject area can appear daunting in our information intensive digital environment.
A range of online services and tools are available to help you find and manage new content in areas of interest to you, saving you time and keeping you up to date with the latest research.
RSS (Really Simple Syndication): instead of having to check for updates on your favourite websites, blogs and news sites, you can use RSS technology so that content is sent to you - a great time saver!
You can use your email instead of a feed reader. Here are instructions for Outlook.
Many book publishers provide an alerting service and will email details of new books in your subject area.
Typically, you will need to register for this service on the publisher's website.
These alerts will send you the contents tables of journal issues as they are published.
Zetoc is one of the world's most comprehensive research databases, giving you access to over 29,000 journals and more than 52 million article citations and conference papers through the British Library's electronic table of contents.
Look for citations of journal articles and conference proceedings via search forms, using one or more words in various fields, such as title, author and date.
Zetoc Alert is a current awareness service that sends email Alerts matching your search criteria whenever relevant new data is loaded into the database.
Alerts may include journal titles, authors' names and keywords from the titles of articles and papers.
Set up feeds for individual journals.
Zetoc provide a list of journals with an RSS link beside each journal (where this is available). You can subscribe to the feed in various ways, depending upon your chosen RSS reader.
For more information
Use the Zetoc Screencast Video Series to familiarise yourself with the service. Login to Zetoc and use the workbook to practise using the service. Set up some alerts for journals or authors in your research area.
Many databases enable you to save searches, which can be rerun periodically in order to capture new results. Some can be set up to do this automatically.
Content which matches your search is then fed to you by email or RSS feed. Some services can also alert you when an article or author you are interested in is cited in other publications.
Web of Science, Scopus and ScienceDirect all provide this citation alert option.
Use conference alerts for details of papers presented at conferences, which can be a vital flag of new research findings.
Conference Alerts is a free service which will notify you of conferences worldwide which match your interests.
Many free services are available to monitor particular web pages and notify you when content is added or changed, e.g. ChangeDetection.com and WatchThatPage, or to pull together updated content across the web on an area or person of interest, e.g. Google Alerts.
Beware Google Scholar Alerts search for new material that has been added to the Google Scholar database, not necessarily newly published material.
Social media platforms facilitate the exchange of information between individuals, and are useful for highlighting and discussing current issues and developments.
New services are constantly appearing but some of the major current examples are noted below. The Research Information Network provides a social media guide for researchers with a more in depth list of available options.
Also see the Getting Yourself Known guide for more information.
Mailing lists are used by individuals and groups to discuss common interests.
JISCMail hosts thousands of lists for the UK Education and Research communities.
Individuals can participate via email or web browser, and some lists are available for RSS feeds.
Individuals can join and leave lists at any time and can also browse and search list archives to identify relevant content.
Blogs are a popular method of disseminating timely information and facilitating discussion.
Many blogs allow you to use RSS feeds so that new content is automatically delivered to you.
The University offers support for postgraduates and staff who wish to use blogs and wikis to aid their research.
You can also find advice on what makes a good blog post.