Search alerts, web feeds, and RSS


Use search alerts to easily stay informed about the latest research in your discipline.

Contact your liaison librarian for further help with search alerts and current awareness tools


Alert delivery methods: Choose email or RSS 

Alerts may be delivered via:

  • email, and/or
  • RSS (Really Simple Syndication).

depending on the publisher website or article database vendor. The key difference is in how you see your updates.

Most journal publishers and database providers (e.g. EBSCO, ProQuest) offer both RSS feed and email alert services.

By email

Email alerts will appear in your email inbox, and you will receive separate emails for each alert you've created.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) 

RSS alerts will appear in your RSS reader (mobile app or webpage), with all alerts collected in one feed that you scroll through.

You may need to install an RSS aggregator or reader to use RSS.

See Current Awareness Tools (UBC) for more info on RSS feeds and links to RSS aggregators and readers.

Search alert types and set up 

Table of contents alerts (a.k.a. "journal alerts" or "publication alerts")

Use table of contents alerts to: 

  • Track when a new issue of a journal of interest is published
  • See all current articles from a single issue at a glance.
Learn how to set up a table of contents alert

Set up ToC alerts directly from journals via the publisher's website [Recommended]

Many key academic journal publishers have their own platforms and offer table of contents alert services via email or RSS feed.

ToC alerts from journal publishers are generally more immediate than an alert from from a database vendor (e.g. EBSCO or Proquest). 

To set up a ToC alert

  1. Use a search engine to find the journal's home page on the publisher's website
  2.  Look for an option to sign up for alerts via email or RSS.  For example:

screenshot of the Cambridge Journals website showing the icons for RSS and email alerts

Set up ToC alerts in article databases, such as an EBSCO database

To set up a table of contents alert from within an article database:

  1. Search for your journal in the A-Z journals list to find which database carries the journal
  2. Click on the database's link
  3. In the database, look for a link to set up an alert or search the database's help documentation for steps on how to set up an alert.

Set up ToC alerts using journal aggregators

Use Browzine. Browzine is service which brings together academic journal content from many publishers.

Saved search alerts

Use saved search alerts to:

  • Track when a new publication matching your search criteria is published
  • Save time and energy -- the alert re-runs saved searches automatically.
Learn how to set up a saved search alert

To get an update every time an article is published matching your search term(s):

  1. Use a search engine to find the website for the publication or publisher you seek, or consult the Library's journal article database list
  2. Set up a personal account on the website for the publisher, publication, or database if you haven't done so already
  3. Conduct your search
  4. Look for a link to set up an alert or search the website's help documentation for steps on how to set up an alert.
  5. Save your search string as either an email alert or RSS feed.

Sample how-to guides for setting up saved search alerts in common databases:

Current Awareness Tools (UBC)
Covers: EBSCO databases; Google Scholar; JSTOR; OVID; ProQuest databases; PubMed; Web of Science

Keeping Current in your Field (City University of Hong Kong)
Covers: EBSCO; Web of Science.

Alerts and Current Awareness Services: Database Alerts (Vancouver Island University)
Covers: EBSCO databases; OVID; ProQuest databases; PubMed; Web of Science.

 Meet with your liaison librarian to come up with the best search strings for your research purposes.

Citation or author alerts

Use citation alerts or author alerts to:

  • Track new article citations or references on particular subjects or by specific authors
  • Note: Not all article databases offer this service. 
Learn how to set up a citation alert

While some academic journal publishers offer a citation alert service, not many SFU article databases do. However, many databases, such as ScienceDirect, JSTOR etc. will show citation metrics next to the article.

For Web of Science citation alerts, see their Citation Alerts Help.

In Google Scholar, conduct and save a citation search then set it up as a saved search alert

Add the LibKey Nomad browser extension to gain immediate access to full text from your email/RSS reader rather than going through the Library's website.

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Visit Selected new books and other items purchased by the Library to see some of our new additions.

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