1. Keeping up to Date with Research
in the Social Sciences
Susan Heaster - Faculty Team Librarian
Tony Simmonds - Faculty Team Leader
2. Learning outcomes
Enable you to:
Set up table of contents & saved search alerts
Subscribe to RSS feeds in your subject area
Create a personalised webpage
Consider the role of social media in the
3. Keeping up to date
Vital for all researchers; BUT
Volume of new information is huge
Tools to manage information overload
4. Alerting services
Helps save time by capturing relevant
information and delivering directly to desktop
Set up a profile (username, password, email
address). Do not need to be the same as your
5. Receiving Alerts for new publications
Publisher websites allow you to set up an email alerting profile
to receive details of new titles for subjects of interest to you.
Examples of key publishers in the area of social work:
Jessica Kingsley http://www.jkp.com/
Policy Press http://www.policypress.co.uk/
6. Communities of Interest: Mailing lists
The mailing list provider for the UK academic community.
A directory of the public LISTSERV lists on the Internet.
A directory of publicly available Yahoo groups
Browse current and an archive of posts from 1995.
7. Services for keeping up to date
with internet resources
Watch That Page
8. Alerts - journal publications
Table of Contents (TOC) Alerts - email notification when new issue of
a specific journal title is published. Often receive the alert in advance of
Saved Search Alerts - save searches on chosen keywords/authors,
then schedule to re-run automatically against new content in the
database at a set frequency. Receive an email notification of the results.
9. Table of Contents (TOC) alerts
ZETOC (British Library)
Access to the British Library's Electronic Table of Contents (ETOC).
Covering all subject areas - approximately 28,000 current journals +
6,000 conference proceedings published every year. Alerts by email or
10. Setting up saved searches
Some databases allow you to save search sets. Register
with the database to use this feature.
Database interfaces differ, but principles of saving
searches broadly the same.
Saved Search Alerts - re-run saved search automatically
Generally expire after a year
delete / renew regularly (many expire after a year)
Social science databases
Some databases for you to try…
ProQuest host (e.g. ABI/INFORM, ASSIA, British Education Index, IBSS,
Sociological Abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts)
Business Source Premier (EBSCO)
Web of Science
All allow creation of Alerts which will deliver a report of new data
associated with your saved search strategy via email.
12. Citation Alerts
Feature of Web of Science and Scopus
Notify when an article of interest is referenced
or cited by another publication.
13. General tips
Databases may use different names for alerting services look for links to “Alerts”, “Updates”, “SDI”, “Save search”
Most databases allow multiple alerts:
Use separate alerts for different subjects
Give alerts meaningful names to organise them
Be ruthless! Amend or delete any searches which
are not returning helpful results.
14. What is an RSS feed?
RSS = Rich Site Summary (or "Really Simple Syndication“)
Pushes automatic updates when new content is available
Suits frequently updated web sources - blogs, news
Need an RSS Reader (also called feed readers, feed aggregators &
news readers) to receive feeds
desktop-based (e.g. Outlook)
browser-based ( e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox)
web-based (Netvibes, Bloglines)
Find out more http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10628494
15. Have a go…
Register for one of the feed reader services (e.g.
Identify a discussion group in your subject
Set up an alert for your favourite journals
Set up a saved search or a citation alert
16. Communities of Interest: Social Media
• Web services where content is generated by users
– Social interaction: communicate and collaborate
– knowledge exchange: produce, disseminate, discuss and
Social media: A guide for researchers
18. Social media tools for researchers
Social & professional networking tools
Social citation sharing
Research & writing collaboration tools
Reference management and sharing tools
Online diary + multimedia
Fast, easy, free web publishing
Float ideas / reflect on developments?
Feedback – informal peer review?
Disseminate research findings?
Engage with public outside HE?
Build your profile / reputation?
21. Blog writing tips
PGR Tips on writing great blog posts
So, You Want to Start an Academic Blog? Four
Tips to Know Before You Start
22. What is Twitter?
real-time information network
Updates tailored to what you find interesting
Tweet is a burst of information 140 characters in
length (e.g. „headline‟ with links)
contribute or just follow conversations
good for networking - “virtual water cooler”
23. “Why do you find Twitter useful as
an academic?” http://markcarrigan.net/
Isolation of a PhD
- engage with global community
- discussion, support, advice, exchange references
Engage with practitioners and experts
- reality check
Keep up to date
- policy issues, developments, new ideas, blogs, publications, etc
- augments F2F academic conferences, extends the conversations
- increased visibility
- spread word to non-academic audiences (public engagement)
- shameless self-promotion