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RSS Readers, Article Alerts, and New Ways to Keep Up: Setting Up Article Alerts and Feeds

This guide details several different methods for keeping up with new literature in your field, be it through article alerts, RSS feeds, or a combination of the two in new article discovery systems.

Electronic Tables of Contents

Before we discuss article alerts in databases, let's talk about electronic tables of contents (eToCs). An eToC alert service is usually available directly from the journal, but you can also use eToC services in journals hosted on platforms like Project Muse and JSTOR. 

Project Muse makes documentation about its eToC services available here.

JSTOR makes documentation about its eToC services available here.

Publisher platforms, like Wiley, Elsevier, or the Institute of Physics, generally make their article alert signups available from specific journal pages. There will often be a link for being alerted or updated; sometimes, you will find a box to enter your email. If you are having trouble locating the eToC service portal, Google the name of the journal and table of contents alerts.

Setting Up Article Alerts and Feeds

In each database platform, how you find the article alert and RSS tool differs.

First, a tip about databases! In our Databases A-Z list, you will see the names of many databases when you do a search for a specific type of database (example: geology). When you go to a few, though, you may notice the same color scheme, branding, and platform logos — such as ProQuest, EBSCO, and so on. Citation databases on a platform usually share the same search result filtering tools and export options. You can also search multiple databases hosted on the same platform at the same time!

This page documents two major platforms that you will encounter in our Databases A-Z list: ProQuest and EBSCO. It also documents two database products, the Web of Knowledge and PUBMED. You can view screenshot instructions for any of these by clicking on the section title.

For a list of Yale University Library databases (and links to them), please visit

Here are some commonalities:

  1. For most platforms, you need to create a free-to-you account to manage your alerts. Some systems require accounts to generate RSS feeds, but others do not.
  2. Some vendors will set expiration dates for the alerts or RSS feeds. You need to log in periodically to ensure that your alerts are set up the way you want.

If you are in astronomy or physics, please note that while ADS, INSPIRE, and the astro-ph section of arXiv are not included, you have some options for preprint alerts. ADS indexes all of the arXiv. Aside from using Vox Charta, your best way to create alerts of any kind is to search the ADS and benefit from the additional search filters that will help you drill down to your exact subfield interest(s).

In the ProQuest database of your choice, conduct a basic search. You can use the refinements on the right side to narrow down to a specific range of publications, topics, &c. The image below just shows a basic search result page.

Click save search/alert, which will be on the right-hand side below the green search button. A menu will appear. You have four options for how to share your search.

When you create an RSS feed, the dialog box will provide customization options. Follow the instructions in the box to create your alert.

To create alerts, ProQuest recommends setting up an account for alert management. You can create your alerts by clicking Create Alert, and the following box will pop up:

You're done!

Search for something in EBSCO. From the results page, locate the Share button.

The Share menu includes a variety of options that you can use, including creating email alerts and RSS feeds.

The dialog box where you can select the type of alert you want.

A box will pop up asking you what kinds of options you would like to set for your RSS feed or article alert. Please note that you will need to create an account to set up an article alert.

And you're done!

After searching, PubMed makes it easy: the features you need are right below the search bar at the top! Set up an RSS feed easily based on your search:

To create article alerts, click "Create RSS" just below the search box. Once you have done this, move on to the next step.

Now you will be able to name your RSS feed and generate a URL. You can use the RSS feed URL in another application, like Feedly or Outlook.

You're done!

Navigate to the Web of Science. To create a search alert in the Web of Science, begin at the Web of Science homepage.

Once you have searched, see the blue text and bell that say "Create Alert." Click on it. If you don't have a Web of Science account, you will need to create one. This account is good across Clarivate Analytics products; you will use the same login information to access EndNote Online and other tools.

Now that you have logged in or created an account, save your search history! While the Web of Science once supported RSS, it now only does email alerts.

You can edit your saved alerts from a single screen. The screenshot below shows you where to find the manage alerts button in the dialog box, and you can also manage your alerts by clicking Saved Searches and Alerts on the Searches and Alerts drop-down menu on the search screen. Please note that alerts expire after a few months and will need to be updated.

You're done after you save!

Science Research Support Librarian

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Kayleigh Bohemier
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