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Keeping up to date in Science & Engineering - Library Guide: Home

How to keep up to date in your field: a guide for science and engineering researchers and postgrads

Updatepile of books

Your research proposal has been accepted, you've carried out a really comprehensive literature search, and now you're armed with all the information you need to begin your research. BUT ... new research is being published all the time


What if a really important paper were published two weeks after you completed your literature survey?  You can't risk missing important articles once you've completed your literature search ... so it is really important that you Keep up to date.



Learned Societies


Keeping up to date happens in different ways and on different levels. While it is essential to keep abreast of the literature relating to your specific research project, it is also important to be aware of what is happening in the broader field in which your research lies. The web sites of learned societies and professional organisations can help you with this, and it could be worth your while to sign up for membership in one or more of these societies.


So take some time to browse the web sites of relevant learned societies.  They will provide you with information about:


  • Latest news in your field
  • New books and journals 
  • Forthcoming meetings and conferences
  • Interesting new research and "hot" articles
  • Training opportunities or webinars
  • Useful contacts 
  • Employment opportunities
  • On many of these sites you can sign up to receive newsletters via email.




Current and Completed Research 

This database provides information on approximately 150 000 South African current and completed research projects including theses and dissertations in all fields of science since 1919. English titles are given for projects not in English. It also includes abstracts. A limited number of records contain links to the full-text. The NAVTECH (university of technology) research projects are included in the database.  There is no alerting service.

To search for this database in SACat, you need to mouse over 'SEARCH' at the top of the page, then click on Current and Completed Research.


OpenUCT - Recently launched - a growing collection of UCT's output and includes MSc & PhD theses.

Dissertation Abstracts (ProQuest Dissertations and Theses – A&I)

With more than 2 million entries, PQD&T is the single, central, authoritative resource for information about doctoral dissertations and master’s theses. Dissertations published from 1980 forward include 350- word abstracts written by the author. Master’s theses published from 1988 forward include 150-word abstracts. Titles available as native or image PDF formats include free twenty-four page previews. UMI offers over 1.8 million titles for purchase in microform, paper or electronic formats.  You can create search alerts (email or RSS feed) for theses in your subject area.

The British Library's Electronic Theses Online Service provides access to doctoral theses from participating institutions in the UK.  The database contains more than 380,000 records, including some for theses from non-participating institutions, but coverage of the latter is not comprehensive. You can register a free account and will be able to download theses free of charge.  Un-digitised theses from participating universities can be requested, and they will be digitised and added to the system.  In some cases you will be asked to pay a digitisation fee.  There is no alerting service.

National ETD Portal South Africa: South African Theses and Dissertations:   This site is run by the UCT Computer Science Digital Libraries Laboratory on behalf of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.  It provides access to the full text of many thousands of doctoral PHD and some other dissertations produced in South African universities. These cover the full range of science, social science and humanities topics. There is some coverage from as early as the 1970s although there are larger numbers of post 2009 records. Search by keyword or browse. There is no alerting service.

NDLTD (Theses and Dissertations) 
The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) is an international organization dedicated to promoting the adoption, creation, use, dissemination and preservation of electronic analogues to the traditional paper-based theses and dissertations.  Part of the Open Access Initiative, the NDLTD can be searched via Sabinet Reference and RSS feeds may be set up for your searches.

OAIster is a multidisciplinary database of records that represent digital resources from more than 1100 contributors worldwide that can be searched via OCLC WorldCat. Typical collections include: theses, technical reports, research papers and image collections.  Search for your subject and refine your results to Thesis/Dissertation in the Format facet on the left hand side.  If you register an account in WorldCat you can save your searches, but the refinement of the results will not be saved.  There is no alerting service.

SACat is available on the Sabinet Reference platform.  It includes the Union Catalogue for Theses and Dissertations (UCTD) which indexes bibliographic records of theses and dissertations at master's and doctoral level submitted to universities in South Africa since 1918.  Honorary doctorates are also included.   The database is updated annually and unfortunately there is no alerting service.  To search for theses in SACat, you need to mouse over 'SEARCH' at the top of the page, then click on the database in the drop down list called (UCTD) Union Catalogue for Theses and Dissertations.

WorldCat Dissertations and Theses—OCLC
Covers all catalogued dissertations and theses to the present and currently has over 17 million records.  It contains records of dissertations, theses, and published materials based on theses cataloged by OCLC member libraries, for all subjects and in all languages. Many citations link to full text licensed from NetLibrary and other electronic providers as well as to free electronic materials available from educational, government and other websites. All show library locations for all types of material.  If you register an account in WorldCat you can save your searches.  There is no alerting service.  To manage your saved searches, log in and click on previous searches.

Mailing lists, Blogs & Social Networking


Research Information Network in the UK has produced a useful guide entitled: Social media: A guide for researchers which is accompanied by Web materials 1: links and resources and Web materials 2: researcher case studies.


One way of keeping abreast of new developments, meet other researchers in your field, and share information is to join an academic email list or discussion group.  There are thousands of mailing lists covering nearly every academic subject, most of which have searchable archives.  To find a suitable mailing list you can search the mailing list directories mentioned below.  Mailing lists can be time-consuming and can quickly result in a bulging inbox ... but most lists allow you to change your settings in order to receive weekly digests of the items posted to the list.


CataList, the official catalog of LISTSERV lists:  This web site is a front end for the LISTSERV  LISTS database, which contains information about all the public LISTSERV lists on the Internet.


JISCMail : is the United Kingdom's National Academic Mailing List Service, which is designed specifically for the higher education and research communities, and has a worldwide membership of well over a million subscribers.  JISCMail can be used on the web or via email.  You can find relevant groups by browsing the various subject categories or searching.


Online discussion groups are similar to mailing lists but are conducted on the web.  You can find discussion groups on Google Groups.


Academic social networking sites enable researchers to create an academic/professional web presence, collaborate with others in their field, and share information. is a platform for academics and graduate students to create an online academic profile, share research papers, monitor the impact of their research, and track the research of academics they follow. Currently 31,007,934 academics have signed up, added 8 million papers, and over one and a half million research interests.  Registration is free.


LinkedIn is a vast social network for academics and professionals, with over 400 million members.  It allows you to create an online professional profile, stay informed about developments in your field, and find the contacts you need to advance your career.  Registration is free.


Created by scientists for scientists, this academic social networking site has 8 million subscribers from around the world.  It enables you to share your publications thereby increasing the visibility of your research, access publications, publish your data, access statistics about the impact of your research, find employment opportunities, collaborate with others in your field, and get answers to your research problems.  Registration is free.



Either following and interacting on a Blog,  or creating your own Blog, can be used for rapid and informal communication with other researchers in your field—but, as with all social media, do be careful about what you put on the web.  You need to be sure that you are ready to go public with information related to your research, and that you do not disclose any sensitive information.


Where to find blogs:

GoogleBlogs ... search for blogs or blog posts on your subject of interest.


Some science blogs:

QuantumDiaries: Collection of bloggers from the particle physics field
Higgs boson and more:  mix of personal PhD and discipline blogging by Flip Tanedo
GeneticJungle:  Dr Leon v Eck – 2013 SAASTA winner
Science-Small-World:   Nanotechnology, various authors
Science-Politics:  The GMO debate
Brain-Flapping:   Dean Burnett (neuroscientist) various topics
Science Blogs
Bad Science:  Ben Goldacre
Inspiring Science:  “My goal is to communicate scientific ideas to non-scientists in a way that is enlightening, engaging or even inspirational.”
Microbiology Bytes
Blogging the PhD: by Erika Cule
Moving the lamp post 
The Thesis Whisperer:  a blog newspaper dedicated to the topic of doing a thesis, edited by Dr Inger Mewburn, Director of research training at the Australian National University.


Want to start your own blog?



Social bookmarking sites allow you to find, collect, tag, annotate, organize, and share bookmarks of  web documents.  By signing up on these sites  you can discover new information in your field and find people and groups working on subjects close to your own.   Examples of social bookmarking sites include CiteULikeBibSonomyMendeley and Delicious 



Once you have signed up an account in CiteULike, you can use the search function to find articles on your topic of interest:

To search, you need to use CiteULike's search syntax which is explained in the CiteULike Search Syntax Help page. To search for  carbon footprint AND mining  you would use && to represent the Boolean operator AND:    "carbon footprint" && mining

The search will find articles matching your search terms.  Clicking on one of the article titles will open a page with the full bibliographic details of the article and an abstract.  You can add tags, write a review, copy the article to your CiteULike library, export it to your reference management software, and more.


The search will also find other CiteULike users who have searched for similar topics, allowing you to click on another user's name and see the references in his/her library.  Once in the other user's library, you can submit a request to Connect to that person.  In this way you can build up connections to people with interests similar to you own; you'll be able to see their CiteULike activity in your Connections page; and you'll be able to send them messages and suggest interesting articles to them.


And it will also find CiteULike groups---groups of people working together, or with similar interests who have formed a group for collaboration purposes. Clicking on one of the "Groups interested in" your topic will open that group's library.  You can then click on Join to become a member of the group and interact with other members via forums or blogs.  You can also click on Watch to add the page to your "watch list" in order to keep track of new articles being added to the page.  You can also start your own (public or private) groups.



What is search alert?

It is a saved search query set-up to notify whenever new documents fulfilling the search criteria gets added to a database.

How do you get notified?

By email, usually with links to newly added documents.

Which searching database have search alert facility?

Scopus, Web of Science, EI Compendex, EBSCOhost and many more scholarly databases. 

Check 'Tools List' tab for more.

Key considerations

Your alerting is as good as your search query / search statement. 

Example: Set-up search alert in Web of Science on climate change and energy


Step - 1. Formulate your search statement


("climate change" OR "global warming" OR "greenhouse effect") AND (energy OR fuel OR electricity OR "solar power" OR grid OR "Off grid") 


Step - 2. Open Web of Science and sign in or register to be able to create alert



Step - 3. Search in Web of Science and set alert



A useful way to follow the development of a specific line of research, is to identify key authors or key documents in the field and then keep track of any new documents that cite those authors or documents.  To do this manually would be fairly time-consuming, however it is possible to set up citation alerts in certain databases.


Databases that offer Citation Alerts


Scopus (offers both author and document citation alerts)

Web of Science

Wiley Online Library


Document Citation Alerts 

Example: Web of Science Databases


Searching in Web of Science for global warming AND biodiversity, identified a useful document.  In the detailed record for the document, Web of Science indicates the number of times the document has been cited, gives details of the most recent citing article, and provides a Create Citation Alert link.



When you click on this link you will be asked to sign in, so you will need to have registered your personal account in Web of Science.  Once signed in you will see a page confirming your alert setting, and you will receive emails containing the details of any new articles that cite the article of interest.  You can manage your alerts by clicking on My Tools / Saved Searches & Alerts in the top menu bar.


Author Citation Alert

In Scopus it is possible to set up an author citation alert, which will notify  you whenever an new article citing a particular author is added to the Scopus database.  To set up an author citation alert, search for the author in the Author search tab:



Search an author by Surname, First name and affiliation. This will give you a results page where you can click on the author's name to open the author details page, which lists bibliometric information about the author's work.  



In the right hand column you will see a Documents box giving the number of documents published by the author and some examples of recent articles.  In this box you can set up a citation alert or click the 'Follow this author' box to receive emails when this author publishes new articles. 



This will take you to an alert setup page where you can name the alert and specify the frequency with which you would like to receive the alerts. You will need to set up a profile on Scopus to create author alerts.


Journal TOC alerting services deliver tables of contents to your email inbox every time a new issue of your selected journal is published.  These alerts may also come in the form of RSS feeds (See RSS feed box for more info). 


Journal TOCs may be offered by

  • learned societies for their own publications
  • a journal's home page 
  • journal aggregators
  • databases  

 Find list of some tools that offer Journal TOC alerts or RSS feeds from the RSS Feed box.

How to set up a Journal TOC Alert or RSS Feed in EBSCOhost databases:

Before you can set up alerts, you are usually required to create a personal account on the platform you have chosen.  These accounts don't cost you anything and they often give you access to more of the platform's functionality—such as the ability to store your references in folders, save searches, and set up alerts.  To set up a personal account in EBSCOhost,  go into any of our EBSCO databases and click on Sign in at the top of the screen. Then click on the Create a new Account link and fill in the form.   


To set up a TOC alert,

go into an appropriate EBSCO database (one that indexes the journal that interests you) and sign in to your personal account. Then click on Publications in the top menu bar:



This will take you to the publications list for the database, where you can navigate to the journal you want to keep track of.  Click on the RSS icon to set up your alert or feed.  (Clicking on the title of the journal will take you to the home page for the journal in EBSCO.)



Clicking on the RSS icon will open a box where you can set up your alert or copy the RSS feed code to paste into your RSS feed reader.



If you choose to save an email alert, the journal's Table of Contents will be delivered to your email inbox every time a new issue of the journal is published.  If you prefer an RSS feed, copy the feed code into your RSS Feed Reader, and the new article details will appear there whenever the journal home page is updated.


New ideas and research findings often make their first appearance at conferences, sometimes well before they appear in the journal literature.  In some disciplines  (such as computer science and certain fields of engineering), conference literature is as important as journal literature, if not more so.  It can therefore be useful to keep track of what is being presented at conferences in your field.  


In most databases that index conference literature, you can set up alerts to receive details of new conference records as they appear in the database.


ACM Digital Library ... You need to register a free personal account in the ACM Digital Library.  To find relevant conference proceedings you can Browse ACM Publications where you can choose to browse in Journals/Transactions, Magazines, or Proceedings. The Proceedings browse list is an alphabetical list of published ACM proceedings.  Altermatively you can click on Browse the Conferences to find conferences relevant to your field.  To set up a TOC alert or get an RSS feed, you need to go to a conference's home page and click on Publication Archive.  Open a specific conference record. When you do this, a Tools and Resources box appears on the right hand side, and under TOC Service, you can select either Email or RSS to get  table of contents alerts for that conference.


British Library:  One of the most comprehensive collections of conference proceedings is held by the British Library, which actively collects conference literature from around the world.  Its conference index contains records of 400,000 conference proceedings which the British Library holds, and about 16,000 new records added each year.  These records are brief catalogue records, however they provide you with the bibliographic information you need to follow up on papers or proceedings that interest you.  You can set up an RSS feed to keep you informed of new conference material as it comes out by searching Explore the British Library.  (See adjacent box.)


EBSCOhost databases:  The following database indexes conference literature, and allow you to limit your search results to conference papers or proceedings.  You can then set up a search alert to be alerted to future conference publications.

  • Biological & Agricultural Index Plus


ECS (Electrochemical Society) Digital Library : provides information about current, future, and past meetings, but does not offer alerts for these.


Engineering Village Databases:  Both Ei Compendex and Inspec index conference proceedings and conference articles, to which search results can be limited before setting up alerts.


IEEE Xplore Digital Library (IEEE/IET Electronic Library): indexes all IEEE and IET conference proceedings and the library contains more than 2 million conference records.  You can limit your search to Conference Publications and set up a search alert.   Alternatively, go to the My Settings section in the left hand column of the home page and click on Search Alerts. Choose the Conferences tab and check the box next to "I would like to receive weekly alerts"  to receive a summary of new conferences added to the database on a weekly basis.


Nature Events Directory: This website is maintained by the Nature Publishing Group and lists science events which can be searched by Date, Country and Research Area.  You can register a free account and sign up for email alerts or create an RSS feed.


PapersFirstThis is the OCLC index of papers presented at conferences worldwide.  FirstSearch PapersFirst covers every congress, symposium, exposition, workshop, and meeting added to The British Library Document Supply Centre's (BLDSC) vast proceedings collection since October 1993.  PapersFirst can be searched via our Databases list, but alerts are not available.


ProceedingsFirstFirstSearch ProceedingsFirst is an index of conference proceedings, providing tables of contents of papers presented at conferences worldwide. Each record contains a list of the papers presented at each conference. Like its companion, PapersFirst, ProceedingsFirst provides access to The British Library Document Supply Centre's vast collection of conference proceedings.  Alerts are not available.


ProQuest DatabasesWhen searching in ProQuest databases, you can refine your search using the Source Type in the narrow results by section, which includes an option for Conference Papers and Proceedings.  You can then set up an alert.


SciFinder:  You can limit your search by Document Type to Conference.  When you are happy with the results you are getting, click on Create Keep me Posted Alert to set up an alert for your conference search.


In Scopus you can limit to the Document Type: Conference Paper for your initial search and you can further limit your results by Source Type to Conference Proceedings if required.  You can then set up an alert.


Web of Science Databases:
In Biological Abstracts  and Zoological Record once you have searched for your topic, you can use the option in the Refine Results section to refine your search results by Document Type to Meeting, Meeting Report, Meeting Abstract, Meeting Summary, Meeting Paper, etc. and then set up an alert.  In MEDLINE you can refine by Publication Type and select Congresses, then set up an alert.




Use the Explore British Library search box to search for materials in your field.  Note that the Material type dropdown in the Advanced Search screen does not include a conference option.  (Conference proceedings can be published in a variety of material types, such as monographs, journal issues, special journal supplements, monographic series, etc.) 



Your results set will contain many different material types and genres. Use the Genre facet in the left hand column to refine your results. To limit your results to conference papers, click on Conference literature. If you want to limit to conference proceedings only, choose the Congresses genre.



You can then get your RSS feed code from the next results page:




ACM Digital Library On the home page go to the Browse the Conferences menu, where you will find a link to Recent and Upcoming Conferences. On this page you will get a list of all the upcoming ACM conferences as well as a list of all ACM conference proceedings from the past 12 months.  You can also subscribe to RSS feeds for the upcoming conferences, and for recent conferences (12 months).


AllConferences.comis a web-based worldwide conference directory.  You can set up a free personal account in and search for conferences in your field of work.  You can filter your results by country.  Once you are happy with your search, you can Save Search.  You will then be given the option to receive email alerts for all new conferences matching your search criteria.


Conference Alerts: Academic Conferences Worldwide.  This is a web-based conference alerting service.  You can set up a free account at which time you will be asked to supply keywords that describe your field of interest.  Once you have registered you will receive email alerts of conferences coming up in your field.


ECS (Electrochemical Society) Digital Library : lists upcoming meetings which can be browsed.


PubCrawler is a free "alerting" service that scans daily updates to the NCBI Medline (PubMed) and GenBank databases.  PubCrawler helps keeping scientists informed of the current contents of Medline and GenBank, by listing new database entries that match their research interests.


JournalTOCs ... This is a free current awareness service which provides tables of contents for more than 26,000 scholarly journals including over 8,800 Open Access journals. You can search for a particular journal or browse by subject or publisher.  If you sign up for a free account, you can tick the boxes next to your favourite journals in order to receive your TOCs by email, or you can set up RSS feeds in your feed reader.  You can even set up a feed for your whole list of journals at once provided your feed reader accepts OPML files  (Outline Processor Markup Language).  To do this, you need to sign in, select the journals you want to follow, and click on Save & Export below your list to save the list as a .opml file.





Academic OneFile ... you don't need to register for email alerts ... just fill in your email address.

[ACM Digital Library only offers TOC alerts]


EBSCOHost Databases, including:

Academic Search Premier
Africa-Wide Information
Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
Biological & Agricultural Index Plus
Computers & Applied Sciences Complete
General Science Abstracts

ECS (Electrochemical Society) Digital Library 


Emerald Databases, including:
Computer Abstracts International Database
Computer and Communications Security Abstracts
Emerald Management Reviews
International Civil Engineering Abstracts


Engineering Village Databases, including: 


IEEE Xplore Digital Library (IEEE/IET Electronic Library)


IMMAGE (Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining)


ProQuest Databases, including:


SA ePublications 


SciFinder  ... click on 'Create Keep Me Posted Alert'. 




Web of Science Databases, including:
Web of Science Core Collection

ACM Digital Library 


British Library


EBSCOhost databases


ECS (Electrochemical Society) Digital Library 


Engineering Village Databases


IEEE Xplore Digital Library 


Nature Events Directory






ProQuest Databases






Web of Science Database: MEDLINE 



ACM Digital Library On the home page go to the Browse the Conferences menu, where you will find a link to Recent and Upcoming Conferences. On this page you will get a list of all the upcoming ACM conferences as well as a list of all ACM conference proceedings from the past 12 months.  You can also subscribe to RSS feeds for the upcoming conferences, and for recent conferences (12 months).


AllConferences.comis a web-based worldwide conference directory.  You can set up a free personal account in and search for conferences in your field of work.  You can filter your results by country.  Once you are happy with your search, you can Save Search.  You will then be given the option to receive email alerts for all new conferences matching your search criteria.


Conference Alerts: Academic Conferences Worldwide.  This is a web-based conference alerting service.  You can set up a free account at which time you will be asked to supply keywords that describe your field of interest.  Once you have registered you will receive email alerts of conferences coming up in your field.


ECS (Electrochemical Society) Digital Library : lists upcoming meetings which can be browsed.



Although journal and conference literature are more important and more immediate, it is often useful to keep track of any new books being published in your field.  Most publishers and some bookshops are only too happy to send you newsletters and alerts about their latest publications.  If a book is really relevant to your research you can ask your departmental Library Representative to send an order request to the Library and we will purchase the book.



Cambridge University Press:  Sign up for a free account and then select your subjects from the alerts list to receive regular emails notifying you about new books in those subject areas.


CRC Press: Register your free account. Then log in and go to My Account, where you will find a link to Sign up for Email Alerts.


Imperial College Press & World ScientificClick on E-mail Alerts and fill in the form.


Morgan & Claypool:  Look for E-Alert Service and click on Sign up.


NHBS:  (publishes books on biological sciences and environment).  You can sign up for a monthly newsletter for information about new books.  Go to NHBS Services / Catalogues and newsletters.

Oxford University Press: Create a free account on the web site and click on Join our Mailing list (under Information and Services) to get information about new online products and books.  Alternatively, click on Academic, Professional, and General in the left panel, and in the next page, scroll to the bottom  and click on Subscribe to RSS feeds.  This will open a page where you can select the RSS feeds relevant to your subject.
Taylor & Francis:  Go to eUpdates to register for alerts about new books, journals, and conferences in your field.
Springer ... Springer offers an email alerting service for Springer books and book series.  You will need to set up a free personal account in Springer. From the Springer home page, go to Services and select Springer Alerts for Books. You can then select from a list of over 500 subject areas and create an alert. You will receive emails giving information about all new books published in your chosen subject areas.
Springer also offers a Table of Contents alerting service for books in Springer's numerous book series. From the Springer home page, go to Springer Alerts for Book SeriesYou can then browse by subject to find book series you want to follow, and set up an email alert.
WileyOn the Wiley home page go to the box Join an E-mail Listfill in your email address and choose your subject area.

RSS Feeds


What are RSS feeds?

RSS is a short for Really Simple Syndication, or Rich Site Summary. 

RSS is a system that alerts you when web sites of interest are updated. Whenever new content is added to a site that you are following, an RSS feed will send that content or a summary to your computer, where you can access it in your RSS feed reader with a link to the original document.  


By setting up feeds from all the sites that interest you, you will get the latest updates for all those sites in one place—your RSS feed reader—instead of having to continually visit a number of different sites for this information.  


RSS feeds are designed for keeping up to date with the latest news, so are usually available on news sites and blogs. You can also use RSS feeds to keep up to date with the literature—e.g many journals offer Table Of Contents (TOC) feeds, and  some databases offer feeds for getting new results from literature searches that you have set up. 


However, be aware that the information you get from a feed is often fairly limited and in many feed readers you will only be able to display the latest 10 or 20 items, regardless of the number of articles in a TOC or in your search results. So if you are going to use RSS feeds for keeping up to date, it is important that you choose an RSS feed reader that meets your needs.



In order to set up and use RSS feeds you need to get an RSS feed reader or sometimes known as news aggregator software.


Feed readers can be web-based or downloaded onto your computer. Many of them are designed for use on mobile devices as well. A web-based reader is useful if you want to read your feed content across devices.


Feed readers range from the very basic to the highly sophisticated. 

  • Basic readers: you can read your feed list and organize your feeds in folders
  • Highly sophisticated readers: you can customize a home page for your feeds and specify how you want your feeds to look, as well as add themes, widgets, images, videos, and podcasts, and connect to social media 


RSS feed readers for your considerations ... offers a free Personal Edition of their RSS feed reader.

FeedBooster ... is a free web-based feed reader, with customizable dashboard.

Feedly ... is a no-nonsense web-based feed reader for browsers Chrome, Safari, and Opera and for mobile devices running iOS or Android.

FeedR ... is a feed reader app. for mobile devices running on Android.

FeedReader ...offers both downloadable (FeedReader Client) and a web-based (FeedReader Online) readers. The standard edition of FeedReader can be downloaded free.

FeedShow ... is a free, fast web-based reader with a traditional layout.  It allows you to save items locally in pdf format.

FeedSpot ... is a free web-based reader which includes number of social media features. Can be used on Android mobile devices.

Good Noows ... is a free basic web-based feed reader offering 12 different layout styles.

Microsoft Outlook ... Your email account in Outlook has a built-in feed reader.  Scroll down the folders panel and you will come to a folder called RSS Feeds.  You can set up feeds in the File tab ... click on Account Settings.

My MSN ... offers a customizable dashboard, which includes adverts.  You can only show up to 10 items per feed.

My Yahoo ... allows you to customize your home page, and add widgets and feeds.  You can only display up to 10 items per feed.

NetVibes  ... offers a basic free web-based dashboard and reader that allows you to add widgets, feeds, podcasts, and more. You can only show up to 20 items per feed.

The Old Reader  ... is a traditional type web-based feed reader that is supported on all major browsers.

Omea Reader ... a free RSS feed reader, bookmark manager, and news aggregator, which you can download. Extra features include a clippings facility where you can save exerpts from larger documents, a variety of flags for setting priorities, and the possibility of adding your own annotations to items. 

ProtoPage ... is a web-based customizable dashboard where you can add feeds, and widgets. You can view as many items as you want per feed.   

RefWorks ... Your RefWorks account has a built-in RSS feed reader which you will find in the Search menu.  You can set up your RSS feeds to display there, and references may be imported into your RefWorks database. However the usefulness of this arrangement depends on the quality of the feed. Some feeds deliver only title and author information for search results (no journal title, volume, or page numbers), and do not provide links to the original records in the database or to the articles themselves, making it necessary to access the database and search for the records in order to import them to RefWorks.

Web Browser Feed Readers:  Most browsers offer built-in RSS Feed readers or an RSS extension that can be quickly installed.


Web pages (or databases or journal aggregators) that offer a feed will provide an RSS feed link—usually in the form of one of these buttons:


To subscribe to a feed, click on the link or button to open the feed.  In browsers that have built-in feed readers you can subscribe to the feed in your browser.  To send the feed to another RSS feed reader, just copy the feed URL and paste it into your feed reader.


Example of setting up an RSS feed in Feedly:


Feedly is a content aggregator that allows you to easily browse your favourite news sites and regularly visited website by feeding newly added information straight to your reader using RSS feeds. You can sign up to use Feedly by signing in with your Google, Facebook account, or by creating a new Feedly account.


Once you've signed in, you can search for content using the provided search box in the right hand corner, this is usually very effective for popular content. 



Content can also be added manually by using RSS links within websites. This is often the better option when wanting to stay updated on content that does not fall within the popular media, such as Journals, Databases, Author profiles etc. Selecting the green add content button on the bottom left of the page will open a search box within which RSS links can be pasted. This box can also be used to search for popular content. 



Once your link has been pasted, Feedly requires that you name the collection. The collection refers to all feeds that would fall within the same category, for example, all feeds from Journals within Computer Science could be put into a Computer Science Collection. Collections can be viewed to see updated feeds within Feedly. 



Journal table of contents (TOC) alerts may be set up in publishers' web sites, databases, and the home pages of many journals. Whenever a new issue of the journal is published you will receive an email containing its Table of Contents.


Alternatively you can set up RSS feeds that will feed details of new articles or TOCs into your feed reader.  Here are some examples:


ACM Digital Library ... You need to register a free personal account in the ACM Digital Library. Sign in and click on Browse ACM Publications where you can choose to browse in Journals/Transactions, Magazines, or Proceedings. Find the journal you are interested in and click on the title to get the journal's home page, showing top articles and bibliometrics.  To set up a TOC alert or get an RSS feed, you need to click on Publication Archive and open a specific issue of the journal. When you do this, a Tools and Resources box appears on the right hand side, and under TOC Service, you can select either Email or RSS.


American Association for the Advancement of Science ... offers a variety of alerts, including TOC alerts, daily headlines, and weekly summaries for the journal Science and TOC alerts for other AAAS publications.  Go to the AAAS web site and click on Journals and more in the top menu bar.  In the following page, click on Science to go to the journal's home page.  In the left hand column, in the section headed Sign up for eAlerts, enter your email address.  You can then select the alerts you want to receive. 


American Chemical Society (ACS) ...  Register a free personal account in the ACS web site and sign in.   Then click on Your Profile where you will see a link to eMail Alerts.  Click on that to select the ACS journals that you are interested in and set up alerts.


American Institute of Physics (AIP) ... Offers RSS Feeds for all AIP journals.  Go into their web site and click on Publications in the top menu bar.  Navigate to the journal you want to follow, and click on Subscribe to RSS Feed in the right hand column.


American Mathematical Society (AMS) ... Go to the AMS web site, click on Publications and then Journals.  In the right hand Quick Links menu, click on Journals Email Alert.  Then just enter your email address in the Manage your email alerts box, and click on Subscribe next to Issue notification.  You can then tick the AMS titles for which you want to receive alerts.

AMS also offers Article notification.  If you select this option you can choose from a number of subject areas and journal titles in order to set up email alerts that will inform you of all new articles published in your chosen subject areas and journals (or all AMS journals).


American Physical Society  (APS) ... offers RSS feeds for its journals.  Go to the APS web site and click on Publications.   In the Quick links menu on the right hand side, click on RSS Feeds.  This takes you to a page of feeds, including journal TOC feeds, feeds for specific subject areas within each journal, "Editors' Suggestions" feeds for some APS journals, and topical cross-journal feeds.


BioMed Central ... is the publisher of 252 peer-reviewed open access journals.  It offers RSS feeds for each journal.  Go to the BioMed Central web site and click on Journals to get into the A-Z list of titles.  Navigate to the title you want and then look for the Latest tab containing an RSS icon.  Alternatively you can register your free personal account in BioMed Central and sign up for Article Alerts for your preferred journals.


Cambridge University Press Journals Online ... offers email alerts and RSS feeds to over 300 peer-reviewed academic journals.


Compendex (via Engineering Village)- Search for a journal title by choosing 'source title' from the dropdown list in the search box. Click on RSS feed. Copy and paste the feed address into your feed reader.


Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa ... Click on the How-to Guide at the top right hand of your screen and go to Getting started.  Click on Newsletter registration options to sign up for alerts for selected sections from Engineering News and Mining Weekly.


EBSCOHost databases ... see Setting up a Journal TOC Alert or RSS Feed in EBSCOHost in the  Journal Tables of Contents tab of this guide.


ECS (Electrochemical Society) Digital Library ... Click on EMAIL ALERTS or RSS  in the right-hand menu.


IEEE Xplore Digital Library ... offers journal TOC alerts and RSS feeds for all IEEE and IET journals.  You need to create your free personal account in IEEE Xplore, then sign in.  In the top menu bar, click on My Settings / Content Alerts.  You will get a list of journals where you can tick the check-box to receive TOC alerts or copy the RSS feed code.


Inspec (via Engineering Village) - Search for a journal title by choosing 'source title' from the dropdown list in the search box. Click on RSS feed. Copy and paste the feed address into your feed reader.


Institute of Physics ... offers a journal TOC alerting service and RSS feeds via IOPScience (IOP's journal platform).  For email alerts, you need to create your free personal account.  Go to IOPScience and click on Login and Create an account.  Once registered, sign in and go to Journals and then Journals List. Navigate to the journal you want and click on the title.  When the journal page opens, click on Email Alert to set up your TOC alert.  Alternatively use the RSS Feed link to get your feed code.


MathSciNet ... This database provides RSS feeds to journal tables of contents.   Open MathSciNet, click on the Journals tab, and then search for the journal you're interested in.  Click on the title of the journal to bring up its bibliographic information page.  Use the RSS links below the journal details to go to the feed page and get your feed.  Tables of contents will be delivered to your feed reader whenever a new issue of your journal is added to MathSciNet. (Not all journals indexed by MathSciNet offer RSS feeds.) ... To get email alerts you need to register your free account in  Then click on Publications A-Z, where you can click on the title of the journal you are interested in.  In the home page of the journal, you will find links for setting up alerts or RSS feeds on the right hand side.  


Oxford University Press ...  The OUP offers Journal TOC alerts and RSS feeds for its journals.  Register your free personal account in the OUP site, then  go to Oxford Journalsnavigate to the journal you want, and click on its title.  When the journal's home page opens, scroll down to the Alerting Services box in the right hand column.  Here you can choose to get Email table of contentsEmail Advance AccessCiteTrack (for keyword, author, or citation alerts), or an RSS Feed.


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ... You just need to enter your email address in order to subscribe to email alerts.  In the home page, go to PNAS direct to your inbox on the right hand side.  Here you can sign up for full TOC alerts as well as subject-specific and keyword-specific alerts.  Or click on RSS Feeds to get a variety of feed options.


PubMed Updates See the video tutorial on how to save search strategies and set up automatic email updates in MyNCBI.


Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) ... Set up your free personal account in the RSC web site and sign in.  Then click on Journals & Books in the top menu bar.  On the Publications page, click on Alerts / Subscribe.  Fill in the short registration form and select the RSC titles you want to receive as TOC alerts.  Alternatively click on RSS Feeds to get the code to paste into your feed reader


SA ePublications  ... Register your personal account in Sabinet Sign in, then in the MySabinet dropdown menu, click on My Email Alerts.  Then click on Create New Alert and type in the title of the journal you are interested in.


Science (the journal) ... see American Association for the Advancement of Science above.


ScienceDirect ... You need to set up your free personal account in ScienceDirect.  Once registered, sign in and click on either Browse Publications by Subject or Browse Publications by title From there you can navigate to the journal you want and click on the title.  The home page for the journal offers a link: Subscribe to new article Alerts (next to the thumbnail image of the journal).   By clicking on the link, you set up your TOC alert.  There is also a Get New article feed icon.  Clicking on that takes you to an intermediate page from which you continue to the feed page where you can copy the feed code or click on a selection of feed reader links.  This page also offers HTML code for setting up a feed in your own web page.


Scopus ... offers New Article alerts for the journals it covers.  Click on Browse Sources in the top menu bar and navigate to the journal you want.  Click on the title of the journal to go to the journal's home page in Scopus.  Click the Follow this Source link in the right hand top corner.  To get an RSS feed, click on the Edit link. On the next page, click the Search icon. At the top of the next page click the Set Feed link and follow the steps to get the feed code.


Springer ... Springer offers an email alerting service for the TOCs of 2,200 Springer journals.  You will need to set up a free personal account in Springer.  Sign in, then go to Services and select 


Springer Alerts for Journals.  You can then browse the Springer journals by subject, check the titles for which you want to receive alerts, and click on Update near the top of the page.  


Taylor & Francis ... Set up your free personal account in the T&F site and sign in.  Navigate to the journal you want and click on its title.  An Alert me link (below the journal's thumbnail image) allows you to choose between and email TOC alert or an RSS feed.


Wiley Online Library ... Register a free personal account in the Online Library and sign in. Click on Publications and filter your list by Publication Type: Journals on the right hand side.  Navigate to the journal you are interested in and click on its title.  Once you have reached the journal's home page, go to the Journal Tools panel on the left hand side and click on Get New Content Alerts. The link will change to Alert Added To My Profile.  You can manage your alerts in My Profile.  Alternatively click on Get RSS Feed

See also 'How to keep up with the scientific literature' by Elisabeth Pain published in Science AAAS