Studying Effectively

Saving searches and creating email alerts

Saved search alerts allow you to save searches on chosen keywords/authors and then schedule them to run automatically against new citations in the database at a chosen frequency. You will receive an email notification of the results.

Some databases, such as Web of Science, allow you to set up a citation alert. This will notify you by email when a particular article of interest is referenced or cited by another author.

Alternatively, a number of databases allow you to:

  • store search sets created during a search session
  • log off and return at a later time and re-run the search, without having to retype each search set manually

You will usually have to register with the database to use this feature.

Running saved searches automatically

Saved search alerts build on saved searches by:

  • allowing you to save searches and then set them to re-run automatically at given intervals
  • be notified by email when recent articles match your previously submitted searches on specific databases.

NB: Saved search alerts generally expire after one year, but you can delete or renew them at any time.

A number of databases available via NUsearch [UKChina, Malaysia] allow you to set up a saved search alert.

For example:

Ovid databases

Ovid hosts such databases as EMBASE, INSPEC, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, MEDLINE and PsycINFO.

These databases allow you to create an auto-alert which will email you a report of new data associated with your saved search strategy. See a demonstration of setting up an auto-alert [sound is provided in this demonstration]

Checking a saved search alert




Further reading

Reading and interpreting sources and data

Finding resources

Search skills


People who can help

Talk to someone in your school or a specialist support service


Studying Effectively

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