Alerts and feeds provide an automated way to stay current on what's new in an area you care about.
Alerts are sent from publishers and indexes/databases. Common alerts are table of contents, search alerts, citation alerts and new publication alerts.
Table of Contents Alerts
You subscribe to a journal's table of contents so it's sent to you when a new issue comes out. Most publishers will provide this service for free (so a library subscription to the publication is not needed, but often requires registration to the publisher's site and may charge a fee.
To determine if you have access to the journal through the University Libraries' you will need to check the E-Journal List.
Most databases have an alert feature. This feature allows you to set up a feed based on a search so that articles that fit the search criteria are sent to you when they are added to a database. An alert runs a saved search automatically every few days or weeks. If new items are found, you receive an email listing the results.
To find out how to set up an alert in a database, perform a search and look for the word Alert on the screen. If you don't see it listed with the results, look for a way to save the search. Once a search is saved, you may see an option to set an alert for it.
News aggregators, also called feed aggregators or RSS readers, are a great and easy way to stay informed by retrieving the latest content from publishers and other web sites. Instead of going to many websites to look for new content, you can set up a news aggregator to receive all the content in one place. There are many aggregators available.