What is a Current Awareness Auto Alert?
An Auto Alert is a saved search that runs automatically each time new data is added to a database. The search profile you create retrieves any new article citations that match your search criteria and the results will be emailed to you without any effort on your part. Alerts can be added, edited, deleted or terminated at any time.
Many of the databases provided by the HSCL Administration offer alert services that automatically send email notifications.

The names (alert, autoalert, sdi) and the procedures for setting up these services vary among vendors, but they generally operate in the same way. You specify the search terms or the journal titles and the database automatically provides you with updated results via email. For some you must register with a password and establish a profile or personal account; for others you simply provide your email address. Some alert services limit the number of searches you can save. In many databases you can define how often a search is run.

Types of Current Awareness Auto Alerts

There are many databases that provide some or all of these types of current awareness auto alerts. Check your favorite database or publisher for details.


You are following a topic of interest and would like to be automatically emailed when any new articles appear in the literature. Simply create a search strategy that covers your topic and save that strategy as an auto alert.

Tables of Contents

You want to have the tables of contents for journals in your area automatically emailed to you. You can receive individual emails for each journal or have one email for multiple journals.


You are interested in everything certain authors are writing about. Construct a search strategy covering these authors and receive email notification of each new article published by any of them.

Article 'cited by' notification

If there is an article of particular interest, maybe even one that you have written, you can receive email notification each time someone else cites the article in his or her reference list or bibliography