In general, "alert services" refer to features included with scholarly databases or made available by journal publishers that allow you to be notified by email or text message when something of interest to you has been added to a database or published in a journal. Alert services can be set up to notify you about newly published resources on a specific topic or when new articles are published in a journal.
The library subscribes to a number of databases that make electronic alert services available to users. Three different types of alert services are:
Table of contents alerts -- updates of the table of contents of the most current issues of the journals you specify when signing up.
Daily/weekly email alerts -- alerts that notify subscribers of articles matching submitted topics. Alert frequencies vary depending on the publisher's database updates.
Saved search alerts -- emailed notifications of recent articles matching previously submitted searches.
While conducting a literature review, content alert services can be especially useful because:
They can alert you to new articles in journals of particular interest or that you know are most likely to publish research on the topic you are investigating.
Databases that index journals from a variety of different fields of study offer you multidisciplinary coverage of articles related to your topic of interest.
They can alert you to new "pre-published" research [essentially final drafts of articles] before they are distributed to libraries and subscribers.
Multidisciplinary alert services that notify you when a new issue of a journal is published:
JournalTOCs -- Journal Table of Contents covers almost 30,000 journal tables of contents from more than 430 publishers. You can search for journal titles, view the latest table of contents for each journal, link to the full text of around 390,000 articles (where institutional or personal subscription allows), export table of content feeds to popular feed readers, and select and save journal titles in order to view future table of contents (you need to register to ensure your ‘MyTOCs’ are permanently saved). Registration is free.
Publisher Websites -- Publisher websites generally can provide updates to their table of contents. You can find links to the table of contents RSS feed or email alert on each journal's website. You will likely need to sign up for an account with the publisher.
Procedures for setting up alert services from indexes and databases available from the library:
Project MUSE -- Allows you to set up alerts by journal name or by subject area or both. You will need to set up an alerts account with a username and password and an email address. You can make selections for journal titles individually or with a mix of subject collections.