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Library Tutorials: Keeping up to date

Why keep up to date?

Once you've carried our your initial searches, you'll need to develop techniques for keeping up to date with new publications and research in your subject area.  So many ways, and one size doesn't fit all.

Strategies for Keeping Up to Date

Academic Resources Academic Networking Sites Social Media
Journals & Databases Twitter
Books/ebooks Mendeley Facebook
Official Professional Associations Mailing Lists Blogs
Institutional Repositories & Theses Research Gate Mailing Lists
Conferences YouTube


Keep up to date

Keep up to date with the published research in your field by using automatic alerts.

Inform you of new results from your saved searches (Search Alert)
Send you the table of contents of new journal issues (Table of Contents Alert)
Let you know when an individual work is cited (Article Citation Alert)
Let you know when an researcher publishes further works (Author Alert)

Search Alerts - You can save your searches in most databases. New results for your queries can be sent directly to you by email or RSS allowing you to keep up to date with recently published research, saving you time and effort. 

Table of Contents Alerts - no longer worry about missing an issue of your favourite journal! You can have the table of contents (ToC) of journals emailed directly to you. This function is available in most databases. You can also go to most individual journal websites to set up ToC alerts if the database you like using does not offer this service.

Citation Alerts - want to know when a key work is cited? Many databases offer a citation alert service that will inform you when a chosen work is cited.

Author Alerts - want to know when a key researcher publishes new material? In many databases you can follow an author to receive email updates every time a new work by that author is indexed in that database. You can also set an author citation alert in some databases such as Scopus that inform you whenever anyone publishes a work that cites a particular author.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. An RSS “feed”, contains a summary of content or headlines from a website – title, description and link.

Advantages of RSS feeds include:

Save time
Convenience – have all your updates in one portal
Keep updates separate from email
Don’t usually have to give out personal details

RSS image example     

To use an RSS feed, you must have an RSS reader. Most RSS readers are available to download free on the Web and can be desktop readers or web-based options. Examples include:


Other methods of keeping up-to-date include:

Email Discussion Lists – Search and browse for relevant lists at

Preprint Servers – E.g. for Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics

YouTube –

Podcasts – Search for academic podcasts in iTunes and listen via your PC or on mobile apps for various devices including Android smartphones

Slideshare – Find presentations on the latest research from academics and conferences

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Academic Networking & Social Media for Research

The A to Z of social media for academia
Why should academics be using social media? Times Higher Education has teamed up with Andy Miah, chair in science communication and future media at the University of Salford, to offer you the definitive guide to the social media tools available to academics, and how you can use them as you go about your scholarly work. There are many, many tools, but we have tried to give an idea of how higher education professionals might use them.

Researcher profiles Identify the key researchers in your field. 

ORCID ID – - register for your unique research identifier.

ResearcherID – search the registry to see profiles of researchers. Each researcher has a unique Researcher ID number. 

Scopus Author Identifier – each author in the Scopus database is assigned a unique number

A variety of social networking sites are available for researchers to create public profiles to attract interest in their work, publications and skills.  Some of those currently available are identified below.  Options for freely distributing work, and non profit alternatives should be considered e.g. Institutional Repositories.  Be aware of the Terms and Conditions of each of the sites here and your responsibilities.

  • - Designed for graduate students and academics, as a platform for academics to share research papers, monitor deep analytics around the impact of their research, and track the research of academics they follow.
  • Google Scholar Citations Profile - A simple way for authors to keep track of citations to their articles. You can check who is citing your publications, graph citations over time, and compute several citation metrics. You can also make your profile public, so that it may appear in Google Scholar results when people search for your name.
  • Humanities Commons - A non-profit network open to all scholars to post their work and access the scholarship of others.
  • LinkedIn - A social network for professionals..Think of LinkedIn as a more dynamic and visual version of your resume.
  • Mendeley - A desktop and web program produced by Elsevier for managing and sharing research papers, discovering research data and collaborating online.
  • ResearchGate - Originated from Germany in 2008 and now has 2.7 million members. Designed for researchers to set up profiles and identify their work, publications, interests and skills; to engage in discussions and collaborate on projects with other researchers.
  • Zenodo - A repository for research data . It is funded by the OpenAIRE Consortium (an open access network) and CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.


What are Blogs:

  • Personal or institutional internet journals or diaries
  • 300 - 1200 words approx.
  • Frequently updated
  • Written in a personal tone
  • Encourages comments
  • Easily shared & followed

Mailing lists are e-mail based discussion groups. By joining a mailing list, you are automatically connected to like-minded colleagues and you are also kept up to date with current thinking and research in your field, also a good source of information to keep you up-to-date with new conferences, calls for papers etc.

However it is worth remembering that mailing lists can generate a large amount of information emailed to your inbox so be careful not to over-subscribe!

Most of them have an archive so you can check on the quality of the information and the number of messages that are sent out before you sign up. Remember that some mailing lists allow you to receive your messages in a daily digest instead of individually, which allows you to manage the information better.

Browse the Irish listservs hosted by HEANET

Find interest group mailing lists hosted by JISCMAIL

An example of a mailing list for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is H-Net Online.

Newsgroups also keep you up-to-date and bring like-minded people together. They can be formed around any number of topics or professional interests, eg. Google groups. You can send and receive messages, but you access the newsgroup’s files.

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