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Keeping up to date: an online guide

Guidance on online services and tools for keeping up to date on topics

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.

Alerting Services

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!


Getting started

  • Get an RSS Feed Reader (Feedly and FeedReader are two examples; Google 'RSS feed reader' to look at others)
  • To add feeds, copy and paste the URL associated with the orange buttoninto your feed reader. 



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. You can register for this service on journal publisher's websites.

You can also use JournalTOCs, a free collection of international scholarly journal contents.

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.


Set up a Proquest alert to be notified of new publications.


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. and WatchThatPage, or to pull together updated content across the web on an area or person of interest, e.g. Google Alerts.

Set up a Google Scholar alert

Beware Google Scholar Alerts search for new material that has been added to the Google Scholar database, not necessarily newly published material.

Other tools

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.


General networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yammer

Academic networks:, ResearchGate, MethodSpace

You can use the online tools to collate and share bookmarks and research papers with others - a useful way to see what other researchers are using.

Tools include: CiteULike, Mendeley, Zotero and

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.

You can set up your own blog using software such as TypePad or WordPress.

The University offers support for postgraduates and staff who wish to use blogs and wikis to aid their research.

Dimensions Plus

Dimensions Plus is a modern and innovative, linked research data infrastructure and tool, reimagining discovery and access to research: grants, publications, citations, clinical trials, patents and policy documents in one place.  The Guide to the Dimensions Data Approach provides an overview of the Dimensions database content

For comprehensive information and support, use the Dimensions support site.

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