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Searching for information: a practical guide

Keeping up to date

Searching for information is not always straightforward. We got a bunch of librarians to suggest some insider pointers and useful techniques.

Keeping track of your searches

Some databases will let you save your searches for future reference. You may need to create an account with the database provider to do this. It may even be possible to set up alerts and receive a notification when new items are added which match your search.

If you can't save your searches in this way, you should still try to keep some record of your searches should you need to recreate them.

Procedures for setting up alerts vary in different databases but in general, after you have run your search, look out for boxes such as "Create Alert". Database help pages will give you more information, or speak to your Faculty Librarians for guidance on specific resources.

Social media

Social media such as blogs and Twitter can be useful when researching a topic and when keeping up to date with the latest research:

Mailing lists

Mailing lists can be an excellent way of sharing ideas and information with others working in your research area, as well as finding out about relevant conferences and other events.

JISCMail hosts a large number of groups that enable researchers to collaborate. You will need to sign up to the site and to individual groups.

Journal alerting services

There are alerting services available which send you details of newly-published journal articles in your area of study or research, for instance:

Re(a)d alert: Keeping up-to-date

Suffering from information overload? Need to get your social media to work better for you? Here we cover setting up alerts so that you get information in a timely and relevant manner.

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