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Course & Subject Guides

Database Alerts & RSS Feeds

A guide to alert services designed to save you time and make the research process easier.

Keeping Up

  • Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of time it takes to stay aware of the latest research and trends in your discipline?
  • Do you have so many articles and journals in your "to read" pile that they end up being irrelevant by the time you get to them?
  • Do you have a term paper due, but can't find time to check back for the latest updates on the topic?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this guide is for you. A large number of databases available to Pitt faculty and students offer free alert services informing you of new journal issues, recently published articles related to your interests, and more.

This guide will take you through the steps of setting up and customizing these alert services for resources available from the University Library System.

With these tips, you'll never fall behind in your research again!

Types of Alerts Available

Table of Contents (TOC) Alerts

These alerts inform users about new journal issues. Depending on the database and your preferred method of delivery, you will receive a table of contents for the issue or links to the full-text articles. Most TOC alerts are delivered via email, but they can also be subscribed to via RSS.

Saved Searches

A saved search alert will notify you when the database identifies new articles related to a customized search. You can specify how often you would like to receive updates (weekly, monthly, etc.).

Citation Alerts

These alerts will inform you when a specified article is cited in a new publication.

Custom & Shared Folders

Creating shared folders is a great way to share articles with colleagues or fellow students.

Signing Up for Alerts

Most databases and journals use e-mail alerts to inform users of new content.

Many databases also use RSS feeds to deliver alerts. RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication." To find out more about RSS, check out this article or view an introductory video by clicking on the RSS Feed Readers tab.