Keeping your research current with alerting services

Keeping up-to-date with academic publishing in your research field can be time consuming. Researchers may focus on two or three key journals in their discipline area, manually checking them regularly for material of relevance to their work, and only run broader searches when a specific research question prompts them. But what if you could have everything on your topic at your fingertips? What if you could set up the journal databases to alert you, perhaps send links, to every new article produced in your particular areas of interest? Just like magic.

There are 3 types of alerts on databases, although names may differ. For more information have a look at the UON Alerting Services Guide.

  • Journal Alerts or ToC Alerts will email you the Table of Contents of a selected journal every time a new issue is published and added to the database.
  • Saved Search Alerts or Search Alerts  will save a favourite search to run automatically on the database, and have the results emailed to you at specified intervals.
  • Citation Alerts will email you whenever a specified journal article or author, usually yourself, is cited within a publication indexed on the database.

You will need to register on each database to set your alerts up. Depending on the breadth of your research area, you may find yourself doing a lot of initial leg-work creating alerts, but in the long run alerts will save you time and will only need the occasional tweak to keep on point.


This free current awareness service from the UK indexes nearly 30,000 journals from open access and subscription sources. UON does not hold an institutional subscription to the premium service, but the free option allows individual researchers to follow up to 30 journals, and the journal coverage includes a reasonable range of Arts, Humanities and Education titles.


  1. Register on the JournalTOCs platform.
  2. Once you’ve registered you will be sent a confirmation email, which will prompt you to sign up.
  3. Click “Account Settings” (top right of the screen) to set up your preferred frequency for alerts delivery or to temporarily deactivate all alerts.
  4. Click “Subjects A-Z” to browse journal titles or “Search” to search for a journal title.
  5. Tick any journals of interest, then click “Followed Journals” (top right) to see your list. A padlock icon indicates a subscription journal, therefore links in your alert emails may not open full-text. You can always check Newcat+ to see if the library subscribes to the title in these instances.
  6. Searches across indexed journals may be saved on this platform and run automatically. However, the interface is fairly unsophisticated. See the “Help” link for advice.


EBSCO Alerts

UON’s EBSCO subscription provides access to over 50 databases, including multidisciplinary titles such as Academic Search Complete and many subject-specific titles such as Education Research Complete, Art Full Text, Historical Abstracts, MLA Bibliography and SocINDEX. Setting up alerts on the EBSCO platform requires you to sign in (top of the screen).

Journal Alert: Click a journal article in your search results to open the full record, then click the hyperlinked journal title. From the journal’s Publication Details screen, click “Share” in the top right of screen and then “E-mail Alert” to have the TOC emailed to you when a new issue of the journal is added.


EBSCO provides an email alerting service even when, as in this case, the journal is only indexed on the database and the full-text is hosted on the publisher’s own website.

Save Searches / Alerts: Click the “Save Searches/Alerts” link (top of the Search History box) to keep a search to run again manually or as an Alert to be emailed as new material is added.


Choosing to save the search as an Alert allows you to specify how old search results should be, this ensures that only the most recent materials are emailed with each Alert, reducing overlap. Start with a wider time-frame, such as six months, to see how long it takes for new material to appear on EBSCO. You can easily edit your Alerts to reduce this time frame later.


ProQuest Alerts

UON’s ProQuest subscription provides access to the ProQuest Central suite of databases, Theses & Dissertations, ANZ Newsstand, LLBA, ERIC and ProQuest Education Journals. ProQuest requires you to sign into “My Research” (Head symbol top right) to create alerts.

Journal AlertClick a journal article in your search results to open the full record, then click the hyperlinked journal title. On the Publication Information page, click “Set Up Alert”, and then “Create Alert” to have the TOC sent to you when a new issue of the journal is added.

ProQuest provides an email alerting service even when, as in this case, the full-text of the journal is embargoed for 12 months. Check the catalogue to see if the library subscribes to the title through any other means and, if not, request the full-text of interesting articles via GetIt.


Save Search/Alert: Click “Save Search/Alert” (under the search box, top of the screen) to keep a search to run again manually or as an Alert to be emailed as new material is added.



Web of Science

Web of Science (WoS) is a Thomson Reuters database which indexes over 12,000 academic journals from a range of sources including Social Sciences Citation Index (1956+), Arts & Humanities Citation Index (1975+) and Current Contents Connect. Sign in to set up your alerts.

Journal Alerts: This type of Alert can only be set up for titles indexed on Current Contents Connect, one of the databases which can be selected on the WoS homepage drop-down list.

To add a Journal Alert, click the “My Tools” drop-down (right side of the WoS toolbar) and select “Saved Searches & Alerts”. Select the “Journal Alerts” tab and use the “Add Journals” button to search or browse for journals that cover your specific areas of research.


Saved Searches: Select “All Databases” to run your search across the whole WoS platform. Click “Search History” (right side of the toolbar, next to “My Tools”) to see the Search History Table, here you can combine searches to narrow your focus. Duplicates are removed in cross-platform searches so result numbers may be approximate. Click the “Save History” button. Saved searches can be accessed and edited under “My Tools”, on the Saved Searches tab.


Cited Author Alert: To follow citations for a specific author, yourself for example, you can use the search form drop-down to select a Cited Reference Search. Enter the author’s name as the surname followed by up to three initials or use an asterisk to pick up all endings.


Click search to retrieve a list of documents from WoS that are linked to this author’s name. Click “Select All” and deselect any that are incorrect before clicking “Finish Search.”


The search result list contains links to documents citing this author’s publications. Click the “Create Alert” icon (left side column) and follow the instructions to have notifications sent to you whenever WoS records another citation to any of these documents. To edit a Cited Author search click on “My Tools” and go to the  “Saved Searches” tab, not the “Citations Alerts” tab.


Citation Alerts: This type of Alert can only be created on the Web of Science Core Collection. Search for a specific article, or material in your research area, on this collection and click a useful article to open the full record. Click “Create Citation Alert” (on the right menu). Alerts can be accessed and edited in the “My Tools” drop-down >> “Citation Alerts” tab.



Scopus Alerts

Scopus is an Elsevier database which indexes over 21,000 academic journals from the Social Sciences, Arts, Humanities, Technology and Science. Login to set up your alerts.

Journal Alerts: Search for material aligned your research interest on the Scopus platform. In the search results list, click a journal title to open the source record. Click the button to “Follow this Source” (right of screen) and fill in the popup box to set the Alert criteria
Alerts can be accessed and edited by clicking “Alerts” or “My Scopus” on the toolbar.


Search Alerts: Run your search on the Scopus platform. On the toolbar at the top of the search results screen click “Set Alerts”, to fill in the Alert criteria, or “Save” to rerun manually later.
Alerts and Saved Searches can both be edited by clicking “My Scopus” on the toolbar.


Citation Alerts: Click a journal article in your results list to open the full document record. Click the link to “Set Citation Alert” (right of the screen) to create a document citation alert which will send you an email whenever that document is cited in Scopus. Alerts can be accessed and edited by clicking “Alerts” or the “My Scopus” on the toolbar.


Author Citation Alerts: Click an author’s name in your results list to open the Scopus Author record, or use the Alerts box at the top of the Scopus screen to browse for an author. Click the button to “Follow this Author” (right of screen) and fill in the popup box to set the Alert criteria to send you emails when a new document is added to that author’s record in Scopus.


You’re getting the idea now! Many databases and resources allow you to register on their platforms in order to save searches and create different kinds of alerts. Take a look at the alerts section on each database’s help pages to work out how to get the most out of their interface.

Happy alerting!

A very special thanks to Ruth Talbot-Stokes for this guest post. Ruth is UON’s Faculty of Education and Arts dedicated Faculty Librarian and has a wealth of expertise relating to all things library and its resources.

Slideshare for conference presentations

Your conference slides don’t get a lot of love, do they? You tend to use them to present at conferences, then throw them in a virtual desk drawer and forget about them.

But don’t under-value them. In their initial setting, only your direct audience gets to see them. So let’s begin to think about how you can extend their life and over time, reach a much wider audience. The humble slide may well be a tool to open up your path to collaboration, citation and impact. After all, slides are visual aids that tell important stories about your research. So, why not share them?

Today we’re going to show you how to get your slide decks onto Slideshare so the world can see them.

Complete the Slideshare basics

Slideshare is a popular free slide hosting service that many academics use to share their conference and classroom lecture slides.

First things first: visit Slideshare and hit “signup” in the upper right corner. Next, you can choose to sign up with an email address or with your Facebook or LinkedIn profile.

Choose a handle for your profile that matches your name or your blog or Twitter handle, so it will be easy for others to recognize you across platform.

Next, create a professional profile. If you’ve created your Slideshare account using LinkedIn, some of your personal information from LinkedIn will already be imported. If not, here’s how to edit your profile:

  1. Hover over the person icon in the upper right corner; select “Account Settings” from the the drop-down menu.
  2. Select “Profile Details” from the left-hand navigation bar. Click “Personal Details.”
  3. On the “Personal Details” page, add a photo (the same one you used for your LinkedIn account is perfect), your name, and information about where you work and what drives your research. Link to your website and click “Save”.
  4. On the “Contact Details” page, add links to your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook profiles. Click “Save.”

Now, whenever anyone finds your slide decks on Slideshare, they’ll be able to easily learn more about you and your research, and find you on other sites.

What to upload

You can upload your PowerPoint, PDF, Keynote, and OpenDocument slides. PowerPoint and PDF work the best, however; we’ve occasionally had problems uploading Keynote slides.

If you encounter errors uploading your Keynote or OpenDocument slides, a good workaround is to save your slides in PDF format and then upload them.


Note: If you’re in the practice of using the ‘Notes’ portion of your PowerPoint slide deck to leave reminders to yourself to “cite So-and-so’s 2003 paper here” or to “break down definitions here for beginners,” beware … others who download your slides can read these notes! Double-check your slides and their notes carefully before you upload a presentation to Slideshare.

Make uploading a snap

Next, we’re going to make it super simple for you to share your slides moving forward. To do that, we’ll need to connect your Slideshare account to the cloud storage platforms that your slides tend to live, and set a default license for all the slides you share.

Connect to the Cloud

Do you create your slide decks on your desktop and then add them to Dropbox or Google Drive when they’re ready to present? If you do, you know the advantage of not having to mess around with thumb drives when you’re presenting. Slideshare makes it easy to upload your content if this is your strategy. It connects to these cloud storage services, making it very easy to import your slide decks when they’re ready to share.


To connect your accounts, click the “Upload” button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. On the next screen, click the “Upload files from Dropbox…” tile in the lower-left corner of the screen.

In the dialog box that appears, choose the cloud service or email provider you want to connect to. Connect your account, and then connect any other accounts you might use in the future to store your files. When you’re finished, exit from the dialog box and–that’s it! Your accounts are connected from here on out, so it will be very easy to transfer files to Slideshare in the future.

Set a default licence

An intellectual property license applied to your slides gives others a clear idea of what they can and cannot reuse the slides for.

Slideshare allows you to either keep “All Rights Reserved” for your files or select a Creative Commons license. We recommend that you use a Creative Commons license if you’re sharing research slides. Doing so will allow others to blog about your work, cite you, and reuse and share your work in other ways that can increase your impacts.

To set a default license for your slides, hover over the person icon in the upper-right corner, choose “Account Settings,” and then select the “Content” tab from the left-hand navigation bar.

On the “Default License for your Content” drop-down menu, select the license you’d prefer. We recommend a CC-BY license, as it allows the most reuse and sharing of your content.


Got your default license selected and your cloud storage platforms connected? Now let’s share some slides!

Get your slides online

Choose a slide deck that you’re ready to share with the world. To get it onto Slideshare, click “Upload” in the upper right corner, and then find your file on your computer or cloud storage.

As your file begins to upload, you’ll be prompted to describe your file. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Category: Select the category most relevant to your talk. It’s likely the categories aren’t very useful to you; the most granular they get for education research is “Education”. That’s OK – we’ll add better information in the following fields.
  • Title: Keep it the same as the title of your talk, and feel free to add the conference name and date in parenthesis, so others can see in a glance if this presentation is the one they’re looking for.
  • Description: Include your presentation’s abstract in this field. You’ll also want to preface your abstract with a sentence that explains when and where you gave this presentation, and link to the talk’s related publication (if applicable).
  • Tags: List some keywords that others in your discipline might search for. Tags will help your slides’ SEO, making them more discoverable online.

Once you’ve adequately described your slides, go ahead and finish your upload. You’ll be prompted to share your newly uploaded slides on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networks. Do it!

Bonus: If you’ve got a video of your talk, you can add that, too! On your upload confirmation screen, click the “Advanced Settings” link.


On the next screen, click the “Edit YouTube video” tab, add your video’s URL, then select where you want the video to appear in the slide deck. We suggest adding it after your title slide.

Share your slides smartly

Now that you know how to get your slides online, let’s talk about all the ways you can get others’ eyeballs on them.

Some strategies for sharing your slides include:

  • Using the social share buttons after you’ve uploaded your slides to share them on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networks.
  • Autotweeting your slides while you’re giving talks at conferences.
  • Blog about your presentation after the fact, and embed your slides in your blog post .
  • Connect Slideshare to LinkedIn, so your slides will be  automatically imported and embedded in places where others might encounter your work.

Dig into slides’ impact statistics

Now that you’ve got slides online and are sharing them, you can track how often they’ve been viewed and, in some cases, how often others are reusing them.

On your slide deck’s page, scroll down to find the “Statistics” tab under the description section, and then click on it. Here you’ll find all the metrics related to others interest in your slides.

Some metrics you might accumulate include:

You can choose to receive email updates for your slides’ stats–we’ll cover that in a future challenge.

  • Views on both Slideshare and other websites
  • Embeds, which can tell you how many times and where others have shared your slides.
  • Downloads, which can tell you if others have liked your slides enough to save them to their device.
  • Comments, which themselves can tell you what others think about your slides.
  • Likes, which as you might guess, can tell you if others like your work.


Slideshare’s usability leaves a bit to be desired, and the amount of emails they send can border on spam. To fix the latter, go to “Account Settings” > “Email” and opt-out of any emails you don’t want to receive.

Slideshare also shares a limitation with social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn – it’s a for-profit company that sells your personal data and clutters your browser with ads. And due to its focus on sharing, the platform doesn’t give much thought to preservation guarantees. So, always make sure your slides are backed up elsewhere.

That’s Slideshare! It’s another tool at your disposal. So start thinking about how you’ll share your slides for maximum visibility after future talks.