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Study Skills

Wolfson College Academic Skills: Keeping up to date

Help with finding, managing and using information from the Wolfson Library Team.

Stay current

Conducting a thorough literature search can be very satisfying. Unfortunately it can go out of date almost as soon as it is complete. During the course of your research you'll need to monitor new publications in your field to ensue that your thesis cites current debates and reflects on the latest research.

How to receive updates

There are two main ways to do this:

  • Email You usually conduct a search on a catalogue or database and then save the search and input your email address. You'll receive an email whenever a new item is added which matches your search terms.
  • RSS (Really Simple Syndication) You can just view these in your browser on a case by case basis. However, they are most useful when subscribed to. You'll need to set up a feed reader to view updated feeds and get alerts about new content. ​See some suggestions below.


Feed readers
  • Feedly -  makes feeds look good and includes images. You can keep up with YouTube subscriptions, receive keyword alerts directly from Google and create collections to make lengthy information easier to get through. 
  • Feeder -  has a Google Chrome and a Safari extension so you can subscribe and access feeds directly while you're browsing. It is also configured for mobile with an iOS app and a responsive web version for Android or Windows Phone users.

You might find that, as with Social Media, you spend most of your time deleting irrelevant posts. Luckily there are lots of filters out there which means you can limit the amount of data you receive and therefore need to read. 

  • FeedRinse is one such service. You limit what you see or block keywords, authors or tags. Upload your feeds, edit them and then return them to your reader.

Please note that you will need to sign up to these services. We recommend that if you use your Cambridge email address, you do not use your Raven password but choose another one instead.

Click on the type of resource below to find out how to set up feeds and alerts

Books ▼

  • New books in all Cambridge Libraries that match search terms (Email alerts- see video below)

Set up alerts so that you are notified every time a new issue of a journal is published. These two services can be searched like a database, but they are designed to generate RSS feeds and so it is very straightforward to set them up:

  • ZETOC contains over 30,000 journals and more than 52 million article citations and conference papers through the British Library’s electronic table of contents (Email alerts and RSS)
  • ​ticTOCs has an equally large database of journals and specialises in Open Access material, meaning you might be more likely to have access to newly published material
  • Web of Science is, despite its name, a comprehensive database which covers all subject areas. It indexed 18 000 journals and providing full text access where we subscribe to content. You can set up an email alert to be notified when a paper is cited or a new paper matches your search terms. You'll need to register first, so you manage your alerts. When you set up an email alert you also have the option to view it an an RSS feed; you can then copy and paste the URL into a feed reader.
  • Google Scholar lets you set up email alerts for any email address. Watch the video below to find out how.You'll need a Google account if you want to be able to manage your alerts. 
  • JISC mail is a national provider of email lists for UK Higher Education. There are several lists for every subject area. When you subscribe you can determine how frequently you'll receive emails from the list, or choose to receive them as an RSS feed. They are really useful for finding out about current debates, call for papers, workshops and conferences, and funding opportunities. 
  • Google alerts is a way of monitoring new information on the web. Type in search terms and it will email you when something new matches them. It won't, however, let you know about updates to a page. You can select how often you receive emails and whether to get them one at a time or as a digest. 
  • Watch that page does just that: it monitors changes on specific pages. You can see when a profile is updated or news is added on a site. It is free for 70 downloads a week; that is 10 pages downloaded every day or 70 pages downloaded once a week.
  • ResearchResearch provides information about job vacancies and funding opportunities, as well as news for the Higher Education Community. You need to login to Research Professional from the home page by selecting 'University of Cambridge'. Carry out a search and then you'll have the opportunity to sign up for email alerts.

Social media is also a great way for researchers to stay up to date. We're developing resources to support you in this area too.