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How to keep up-to-date: DIY Current Awareness Services
- Would you like to find out regularly about new articles published in your subject area?
- Would you like to be automatically informed, via email, as soon as the latest issue of your favourite journal title has been published?
This page aims to give you information about ways to keep yourself
up-to-date with recent publications. Library staff will be happy to offer support and advice. The Library can also provide monthly updates, lists of new publications in your subject
area or the new table-of-contents from your
favourite journals - click here for more
details. Each week we also send out an email listing which new journal issues have arrived in the library, contact us if you would like to sign up for this service.
Regular searches on bibliographic databases
Setting up a PubMed email alert
- go to www.pubmed.org
- enter your search words in the search box and click Search
- now click "Save Search" underneath the search box
- sign into your MyNCBI account (if you do not already have one, choose "register for an account")
- enter a name for your search and choose 'Yes' to receive email updates
- enter your email address, choose the frequency and format of the email and the number of references to include in the email (make sure you choose a high enough number) then click OK
- to amend or cancel email alerts log into your MyNCBI account using the link on the left-hand toolbar and follow the on-screen instructions.
You can also save a search as a bookmark to run again later. To do this, first perform the search, click the "Details" button then the "URL" button. This will display a unique URL (quite long!) for the search in your Web browser's location box and you can simply add a bookmark or add to Favourites as usual.
Setting up a PubMed RSS feed
To use this feature you will need access to an RSS reader/aggregator. A list of these is provided here.
- enter your search in the Search box as usual and click Go. (warning: very broad search terms will produce an unmanageable amount of information and are best avoided.)
- click the 'RSS' link underneath the search box
- click the 'XML' button on the resulting menu and then PubMed will create a web page for your feed. Either click 'Subscribe to this feed' or copy/paste the web address into your RSS reader.
Web of Science/Knowledge
Web of Science is available to the Institute of Neurology staff and students via the Web of Knowledge service. You may save a search strategy and re-run it on a regular basis to obtain only those references recently added to Web of Science.
- go to http://wok.mimas.ac.uk and 'Click here to access Web of Knowledge' (you will need to use your UCL account to log in if working from home)
- select the Web of Science tab
- do a search as usual and then click 'Search History' near the top of the screen
- click the 'Save History / Create Alert' button
- log into your Web of Knowledge personal account (NB: you need to click 'Register' if you have not already set up a personal account; your UCL login details will not work)
- complete the form, choosing the options you require (remember to tick the 'Send Me E-mail Alerts' box) and click 'Save'
Note that the resulting confirmation page also contains an 'XML' button which can be used in an RSS reader if you use one.
OvidSP provides access to a suite of databases, including Medline, Embase, PsycInfo and these instructions will allow you to set up alerts for any of the databases in the suite.
- access the OvidSP databases via our databases page and perform a search as normal
- click 'Search History' near the top of the screen
- click the 'Save Search History' button at the bottom right of the search history
- give the search a name and change the setting from 'Permanent' to 'AutoAlert (SDI)' using the drop-down menu
- complete the form, choosing the options you require and click 'Save'
Note that there is also an RSS button at the bottom of the search history which can be used in an RSS reader if you use one
NHS Evidence databases
NHS Evidence provides access to a suite of databases, including Medline, Embase, PsycInfo and these instructions will allow you to set up alerts for any of the databases in the suite.
- go to www.library.nhs.uk/booksandjournals/advanced/
- log in with your NHS Athens account and choose the database you want
- select 'advanced search' for the database you require and perform a search as normal.
- click one of the buttons above the search history to either 'Save Selected Rows' or 'Save All'
- give the search a name and click the 'Save & Create Alert' button
- complete the form, chossing the options you require and click the 'Save Alert' button
Tables of Contents (ToCs)
Most ejournals allow you to register for an email alert which will let you know when a new issue is published. The method of registering for
email alerts varies from journal to journal and most ejournals offer information
and advice on their websites. Please contact the
Library if you need any assistance.
Alternatively, you may set up ToC alerts using Zetoc. Zetoc offers access to the British Library's Electronic Table of Contents service. The database covers journals in the fields of science, technology, medicine, engineering, business, law, finance and the humanities with coverage from 1993 onwards and with daily updating. Guides to the service are at: http://zetoc.mimas.ac.uk/support.html#materials
- access Zetoc at zetoc.mimas.ac.uk
- choose Zetoc alert and log in with your UCL account or NHS Athens account
- enter your email address, give the alert a name and click 'Create' at the bottom of the screen
- on the next screen, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click 'Add Journals' to select the journals you want to include.
- on the right-hand side of the screen, locate the journal you require and click "Add" next to the title to add it to your list.
- each time a new table-of-contents is added to the Zetoc database for one of the journals in your list, you will receive an alert email
Bibliographic Software: importing references into your own customised database
If you retrieve a large number of references from various bibliographic databases, you may want to store & manage them using bibliographic management software. Various packages are available, including:
- Endnote - available to UCL staff (free) & students (for purchase) - details here
- Reference Manager - available to UCL staff (free) & students (for purchase) - details here
Book alerting services
- Amazon books http://www.amazon.com - Amazon.com Alerts allows you to set up a search profile and each time new material becomes available Amazon will alert you by email.
- MedBioWorld (formerly Science.Komm) http://www.medbioworld.com - lists medical dictionaries and encyclopaedias, new books and book recommendations. The service also offers links to scientific book publishers.
Newspapers and News-tickers
- BBC Newsline news-ticker this can be inserted onto your desktop to track the latest news and can be customised to a certain extent.
- My Yahoo (free) http://my.yahoo.com - an example of an intelligent agent. You can customise your own webpage to include latest news headlines that are of interest to you. You can include keywords for a news-ticker. My Yahoo will then search for latest sites that it has found that contain these keywords. You customise what is delivered and choose how you want to view it.
- Crayon (free) http://www.crayon.net/ - an example of an intelligent newspaper. Allows you to create your own newspaper from a given list of subject areas of interest to you. Then decide on the layout of the paper. Bookmark this and every time you return to it in the future it will recognise who you are and dynamically refresh the page and update the information contained within it.
- Newstracker (free) this news tracker/clipping service hosted by the Excite channel, has now closed. Click here for alternatives.
Medical Press News
- MDLinx newsletters http://www.mdlinx.com/register.cfm - via MedBioWorld (formerly Science.komm). Subscribe to these free daily email newsletters in various medical specialties for updates on the best of the new links, publishers news and more.
Monitoring Web sites using Intelligent Agents
- Web ferret (basic version is free) http://www.ferretsoft.com/
This search meta-tool queries multiple databases and search engines simultaneously. By default it searches Alta Vista, AOL Netfind, EuroSeek, Excite, InfoSeek, LookSmart, Lycos, Search.com, Yahoo. Watch out for flying fur balls!
- Citeline (basic version is free) http://www.citeline.com/
CiteLine Professional systematically identifies, indexes and organises the Web sites of value to healthcare and parmaceutical professionals and provides access to pages that are normally invisible to traditional search engines databases such as PubMed. Sites are carefully screened by subject specialists in an editorial team meaning that there will be fewer irrelevant results retrieved. Citeline Pro (charged for) will notify you of new sites relevant to your research interests and will allow to you monitor web pages of interest for changes and updates
- Netscape What's Related (Free)
The latest versions of Netscape Communicator 4.5 now have a "What’s related" button to the right of the search box. This uses a company called Alexa Internet (http://www.alexa.com) which uses Related Links Technology to provide a list of sites related to the current page displayed in your browser. Related links are generated using data mining techniques along with intelligent technologies, both of which identify usage patterns and the relationships between pages based on common hypertext links and similarities in textual content. The technology sits in the background and communicates with the chosen browser to call up site statistics and related links. It can then provide you with information which is difficult to obtain, for example
- information about the site you are visiting - who owns it, how often is it updated, how popular is it?
- can the information on the web page be trusted?
- which other Links could you follow - this information comes both from monitoring pages and links that other visitors have used and from finding other web pages using the words and phrases appearing on the web page.
The strength of this utility is that it learns from the user community by tracking what people are looking at and where they are going and uses this to predict other pages that a user may be interested in. The disadvantage is that results rely on the sources other users have visited and so is not useful for retrieving subjects or pages that other users have not searched.
- OMNI (Organised Medical Network Information) http://www.omni.ac.uk
OMNI is a gateway to Internet resources in medicine, biomedicine, allied health, health management etc. It provides comprehensive coverage of the UK electronic resources in these areas and access to best resources world wide. Each resource added includes a short description which allows you to decide in advance whether it will contain the information you require. Resources are assigned a subject heading using Medline MESH headings. OMNI What's New (http://omni.ac.uk/whatsnew/) gives new sites added to the database in the last couple of days.
- Tracerlock http://www.tracerlock.com/
TracerLock requires a fee for use. It monitors hundreds of the most popular online news sources, with the busiest sites being checked every fifteen minutes, and scans each new article that it finds. If an article matches your search query, TracerLock emails you the URL of the article and an excerpt of the matching text. You may also tailor the service so that it will check only news sites you have nominated.
- Web Page Change Detection http://stevenbell.info/keepup/wpcd.htm
Steven Bell provides a useful summary of the main contenders in the market - essentially offering an alerting service to let you know about any changes made to web pages you have nominated, some charging a fee for the service.
What are Intelligent Agents ?
are computer systems that communicate with their users via text, graphics
and speech. They react to changing conditions and learn about
users habits, preferences and interests. They are suited to hypertext environments
like the World Wide Web.
The role of an intelligent agent is to take initiative and collaborate with other agents. Key players in the development of intelligent agents are businesses, governments, IT suppliers and consumers. There are many technical challenges remaining in their development and a lack of standards especially for security.
Interested in intelligent agents? Check out the following site...
- Autonomy http://www.autonomy.com - a sophisticated retrieval agent that uses pattern matching techniques to follow the users preferences. In a way it is similar to AltaVista indexing agents but it is proactive, preparing information for the user. It uses a cartoon dog as the agent.
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