Keep up-to-date with new pulications in your area

At the beginning of this month I posted about a helpful and time saving current awareness tool, email alerts, and how to set up a search alert in an article database. Today I want draw your attention to another current awareness tool, Table of Contents (TOC) alerts and to JournalTOCs, an excellent aggregating service that allows you to get TOC alerts for specific journals. JournalTOCs contains the latest Tables of Contents of over 20 000 scholarly journals, 4 400 of which are Open Access.

By setting up an account for free (simply a username and password) you can search or browse for the journal titles you want to follow, then JournalTOCs alerts you when new issues of your followed journals are published. You can save and import your selected journal titles into your favourite RSS feed reader, set up TOC email alerts, or both. There are other customization options to explore as well.

Visit the website, sign up, and give it a try. One way to look for journal titles in your discipline is to go to Browse > Subject and then scroll through the alphabetical list. Once you select a subject, you can view those subject-specific journal titles as well as how many followers that title has. You can also see whether the journal listed is subscription-based or Open Access.

JournalTOCs has made it simple to go into your account and deselect journal titles you no longer wish to follow, and to add new ones. So don’t be shy and start experimenting with some of these tools that help to keep you on top of the latest research in your field.

Image from

Stay Alert

Are you looking for a way to stay on top of new research in your field or on a particular topic? Consider setting up an email alert in one or more research databases that you search regularly. Email alerts are messages sent after every weekly database update that contain any new records matching a saved query. To create alerts, most databases require that you register or set up a personal account. Registration in research databases is free and it’s a good idea to set up an account anyway, as you may want to take advantage of other features available to you when you are signed in.

It’s as simple as signing in, plugging in your search and then on the results page, clicking on “Create Alert” (or some variation on that, depending on the database). You will now receive an email each time new content matching your search is added to the database. Compendex, the premier research database for engineers, has a “Create Alert” option and this is what the button looks like:

Once you click on it, the alert is created, and if you want to remove it, you click on “Remove Alert”. If you need help, click on the “help” button at the top of the page (most, if not all, databases have a help button). These help pages are very well organized and within the table of contents, look for the topic about creating and working with email alerts.