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Alerts for Academic Use: Database Alerts

This guide is an informational tool on setting up notifications that alert individuals to information relevant to their interests.

Introduction to Database Alerts

Database alerts are capable of covering thousands of journals while publisher alerts are usually limited to a significantly smaller portion of journals.  Databases often are updated monthly or quarterly, therefore they may not have the most recent content. (For the most current content for a particular journal see the "Publisher Alerts" tab.)

Database alerts work most effectively for updates on specific subjects or searches. Publisher alerts, on the other hand, work best if you want a table of contents alert for a journal.

Use the following databases to help you to find information on your topic in journals, conferences, etc. and to set up alerts. The procedure of setting up alerts may vary from different databases and database hosts, however in most cases it is best to look for links or buttons labeled "Search History/Alerts", "SDI", "Create an Alert", or the RSS icon and then follow the directions. However, some websites will not display these options until after you have performed a search.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to Ask us!


ProQuest - One of the largest digital resource that utilizes multiple databases spanning a wide variety of subjects and topics in order to meet the needs and interests it's many members and their interests. 

To see how to set up email alerts please view the Video Tutorial!

Popular Databases on ProQuest Include:

For a complete list of Databases available through ProQuest please click here.

To set up alerts:

  1. Click on the "My Research" tab (Located on the upper right of the page) and sign in with your My Research Account. (If you do not have an account click the "Create a My Research Account" button and fill out the necessary information.)
  2. Once signed in, you will see options for "Create Alerts," "Create RSS Feed," and "Save Search" tabs appear in your search results.
  3. Simply click the desired action to set up alerts.

Engineering Village

Engineering Village - Combines 10 engineering literature databases to provide comprehensive coverage from trusted, reliable, and relevant sources, such as scholarly journals, conference proceedings, trade publications, patents, government reports, books, etc.

  • Chimica & CBNB
  • Compendex & Ei Backfile
  • Ei Patents
  • EnCompassLIT & EnCompassPAT
  • GeoRef
  • Inspec & Inspec Archive
  • PaperChem
  • NTIS - US government-sponsored research reports & studies

To set up alerts:

  1. Register or Login to the Personal Account on box the left side of the screen.
  2. Once you are signed in, you can save searches as well as set up weekly E-mail Alerts.
  3. It is not possible to sign up for Table of Contents Alerts in this database, but you can save a search that equates to a particular journal name search.
  4. Go to Help and then to the link "Saved searches and email alerts" for more information.

Ask a Librarian


EBSCOhost Databases -  home to a large selection of databases spanning a variety of subjects. These include well-known databases such as:

  • Academic Search Complete
  • Business Source Complete
  • Econlit
  • OMNIFile Full Text
  • And many more... (Click here to see the full list).

To set up alerts:

  1. To set up an alert you must access one of the EBSCOhost databases and search by subject or publication title.
  2. Select the tab on the search screen for "Search History/Alerts," then choose "Save Searches/Alerts."
  3. The next screen will ask you to sign in. (If you have not yet registered with EBSCOhost, click on "I'm a new user" and follow the directions in order to set up your account.)
  4. The service is free, registration is required in order to set up an automatic alert with your email address.

For more detailed instructions please follow this guide in Flash or Powerpoint.

Web of Science

Web of Science - A prime resource database for sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities, that is widely used and often updated.

  • Biosis Previews
  • CAB Abstracts
  • Conference Proceedings Citation Index
  • Core Collection (Science Citation Index, Social Science ...)

To set up alerts:

  1. Click the right sidebar of the welcome screen for links to register if you are a new user, or to view My Saved Searches or Citation Alerts. Here you can set up Citation Alerts or Saved Searches in the "My Web of Knowledge" tab.
  2. Use the Help feature for details on setting up alerts. Alerts are available via email or RSS feed.


For a more in depth explanation please watch the following video!

Other Commonly Used Databases


  • ACM Digital Library (computer science)
    Click on Register to sign up for TOC Service and My Binders.
  • Compendex (engineering)  
    On the left side of the screen, is a Personal Account box where you may register or login. After you register, you will be able to save records and searches, as well as receive weekly E-mail Alerts. It is not possible to sign up for Tables of Contents in this database, but you can save a search that equates to a particular journal name search.
  • IEEE Xplore (electrical engineering and computer science)
    IEEE Xplore provides full text access to IEEE transactions, journals, magazines, conference proceedings and standards. Users can browse Contents Updates or sign up for email alerts.
  • National Criminal Justice Reference Service
    NCJRS has citations and abstracts to federal, state, and local government documents, books, research reports, journal articles, and unpublished research in the field of criminal justice. Some publications are available in full text. You can sign up to receive information about new publications of interest.
  • Project Muse
    Alerts are available via RSS feeds or email. Follow Project Muse on Facebook or Twitter.
  • PsycInfo - see ProQuest databases
  • PubMed
    First you must sign up for a "My NCBI" account. Run a search that you wish to have as an Alert. Click on the link "Save search" at the top of the page and then the "Save" button, or you can type the search into the box. When the results display an orange RSS button will appear next to the search box.
  • ScienceDirect - Set up alerts in "My alerts" by following this tutorial.


And more: use our Research Guides to find databases that cover your subject area

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