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Civil Engineering - Graduate Student Resources

Resources & tips for Graduate Student research in Civil Engineering

What are Alerts & Why Should I Use them?

Alerts are an easy way for you to keep up with new articles in your research area without you having to remember to go search for them every once in awhile. You don't even have to remember your search statement to be able to recreate it.

Alerts can be set up:

  • For a journal that is critical for your research, so you get notice when new issues or articles are released
  • In a Database or Index, to tell you when articles appear in using your search parameters. In essence, you can save a search and the database will routinely check to see if anything new pops up using that same search, then send you an Alert if it does

Most databases have some form of Alert system. Keep in mind it might be called "Keep Me Posted" or KMP. It may also utilize an RSS feed. Below you will find some examples describing how to set up Alerts Albertsons Library's databases.

RSS Feeds

RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication", which are free content feeds from websites.

RSS Feeds are very similar to Alerts, but rather than sending you an email with updates on what's new, RSS feeds require you to have an RSS Reader app like Feed Reader, FeederNewsBlur, or Inoreader.  If you don't want your email junked up with numerous Alert messages, or you're not in the habit of checking your email regularly, RSS Feeds and a Reader app might be for you.

Setting up Alerts in Specific Databases

American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications

You can set up RSS feed for your favorite American Chemical Society publications:

Setting up a Search Alert or RSS Feed

Once you have completed a well targeted search, You can save the search and receive updates when new articles appear, or create an RSS feed to see new articles. From the search results page:

Find the Follow Results option in the upper right of the screen, just under the menu icon (3 horizontal bars).

By clicking the plus (+) sign you can save your search and create an eAlert to get updates

By right clicking on the RSS icon (RSS icon) and copying the link, you can set up an RSS feed to see new search results.

Follow results option with the plus sign and RSS feed links circled and labeled


Setting up an RSS Journal Feed

When you are logged into ACS Publications, to the right of the search box click on the Menu icon (3 horizontal lines)

Tabs to the right of the ACS Publications search bar with menu button circled

Under User Resources, select RSS & Mobile

Right click on the journal you want to follow, and copy the link into your RSS Reader


Once you have a completed a substance or reference search and have a set of results, you can tell SciFinder to Keep Me Posted (KMP). SciFinder will periodically rerun your search then send you an email if it finds new articles.

To set up a KMP Alert use the "Save and Alert" button in the right of the top navigation bar


Top right of navigation bar with Save and Alert button circled


You will receive a SciFinder-n Alert Results for References email automatically to notify you via email when new records on your topic become available.

Example of a SciFinder Keep Me Posted Alert Email

Science Direct

Within Science Direct, you will need to be Registered using your Boise State email address and logged in before you can set up an Alert or an RSS Feed for a Journal or for a database search.

Setting up a JOURNAL Alert / RSS Feed:

Once you have searched for and found your Journal, Click on the Articles & Issues tab:

Arabian Journal of Chemistry shown with Articles & Issues tab circled

In the menu that drops down, look for links to:

  • Set up an Alert - Automatically sets up an Alert to be emailed to you when new content is published in the Journal. The link changes to "Edit My Alert" if you already have an alert set up
  • RSS - Gives you a link to copy into an RSS Reader so you receive regular feeds of content.


Setting up a SEARCH Alert:

Once you have done a search in Science Direct that is well targeted for your research topic, look in the left navigation bar. Right under the number of records retrieved by your search you'll see a link with a bell icon labeled "Set Search Alert"

Set Search Alert with bell icon

Give your Alert a descriptive name that will clue you in to the nature of the new articles when you see the Alert. Select the frequency of the Alert (weekly or monthly) than click Save.

Search Alert dialog box showing Alert name box and frequency


PubMed will require you to log into a secondary account (ORCID, Google, Microsoft, etc.) before you can set up Alerts or an RSS feed.

Once you have done a search in PubMed and have the results list on the screen, you will see buttons to "Create Alert" and "Create RSS" right under your search box.

PubMed search box with Create Alert and Create RSS buttons circled

To set up an Alert

To set up an RSS Feed

  1. Click the Create RSS button
  2. Your RSS feed will automatically be named for your search unless you give it a different name
  3. Click the Create RSS button
  4. Click the Copy button to copy the link, then put it into your RSS Feed Reader

RSS feed dialog box showing feed name, create RSS button and link to copy

Google Scholar

Once you have found results for a well targeted Google Scholar search, you can set up an Alert so every time new content is added in your research area, you receive an email notice.

From the search results page, scroll down to the bottom of the left navigation bar

Click the Create an Alert link

 Google Scholar create alert link

To make sure the Alert will be going to the correct email address, Click the Change Email tab and enter your preferred email address.

The name of the email Alert sent to you will automatically be your search statement. Click in the box and edit if you'd like the Alert to be called something else

You have the option of checking a box so Google Scholar will include additional less relevant results, i.e. materials that Google Scholar found that are close but missing some of one or more of your search parameters. This has the potential to increase your Alerts, and include more extraneous results that you may not want.

Click the Create Alert button

Google Scholar Create alert dialog box showing change email link, search statement box and Create Alert button