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Keep Up to Date

Search while you're sleeping

How do you keep up to date in your field?

This guide is designed to give you some options and suggestions to help you keep up to date with information and research in your areas of interest. We will look at:

  • alerts
  • RSS feeds
  • researcher communities
  • conferences
  • reference managers

Tools are developing and improving all the time - if we haven't covered something here that you would like to share - please let us know!

What is an Alert?

An alert is an easy and effective way to get recent articles on your topic.

You can set up alerts in many databases. Alerts can tell you:

  • new table of contents of a journal
  • new work by an author
  • when an article is cited
  • when new articles are published that match a saved search

It works like this:

  • If you register with a database and save a search, you can ask most databases to re-run this search automatically for you weekly, monthly or quarterly.
  • The results of the re-run search are emailed to you as an alert. The email includes citations and links to the full text of the article (you may be prompted to enter your AUT login and password).

What is RSS feed?

RSS = Really Simple Syndication. You will often see this RSS feed icon on websites

RSS is used for frequently updated content typically published on news websites, blogs and academic journal databases.

To receive RSS feeds you usually subscribe to a feed from a blog or similar, and have it delivered to a Feed Reader.

Formats - the most common formats are RSS and Atom. You may also see the word XML (Extensible Markup Language).


RSS feed readers

  • See this list for some free RSS readers.
  • Outlook, Internet Explorer and Firefox also include Feed Reading functionality
  • Personalized home pages, such as Netvibes are also popular and free for RSS feeds
  • RSS feed reader apps for mobile are reviewed here and here

There are advantages in choosing a well know reader, like those mentioned above.  Databases and websites often point to them automatically. This means a one click process to add a feed.

Alerts vs RSS Feeds






  • Most library databases and Google Scholar
  • JournalToCs website
  • Publisher websites for latest journal issues (if not on JournalToCs)
  • Most library databases
  • JournalTOCs
  • Websites - blogs, news sites



  • Search results are emailed to you as an alert. 
  • Includes citations and links (you may be prompted to enter your AUT login and password).

  Feed Reader

  • Feeds are sent to a RSS reader which you sign up with. (e.g. Feedly)




  • Search alerts (keyword search for a topic or a search for a specific author)
  • Citation alerts (Scopus, Google Scholar and Web of Science)
  • Journal issue alters alerts
  • Table of contents of your favorite journal
  • Search alert feeds (Search for a topic or an author)
  • Journal issue feeds
  • Journal table of contents
  • Feeds from research networks
  • Updates on a website or blog or news source

Keeping up to date video

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