Last modified on 30 December 2013, at 21:21

Chemical Information Sources/Keeping Up and Looking Back

Current Awareness, Reviews, and Document Delivery

IntroductionEdit

With the tremendous volume of primary chemical literature appearing each year, chemists need efficient methods for identifying newly published articles focused on their research areas. Current Awareness or Auto-Alert, services provide a range of simple and effective tools that can help scientists keep up with newly published articles critical to their research. The numerous Current Awareness options described below make it possible to: define an area of interest and receive alerts when new articles are published in that area; have tables of contents sent to you when journals you specify publish a new issue; and notify you when a given article is cited.

Just as Current Awareness services are useful for managing newly published literature, Review Articles can be useful for sifting through previously published literature, since they typically survey large bodies of literature, summarize significant findings, and provide critical reviews on particular topics. This can be especially useful when there is the need to get up to speed quickly on an new topic, or when beginning a large project. Methods for identifying research articles and book chapters are given below. Since it is likely that all of the items needed will not be found in any one local library, it may be necessary to use Document Delivery or Interlibrary Loan services to obtain articles and books, these services are described below.

Current Awareness: Auto-AlertsEdit

An impressive variety of current awareness services, or auto-alerts, are available to help chemists stay current on the published research literature. Auto-alerts allow you to save a search specific to your research interests, have it automatically re-run each time new citations are added to a database or publisher website, and have the new citations delivered to you, as an email or an RSS feed. Other names for these current awareness services include: email alerts, and SDI (selective dissemination of information).

Auto-alerts were formerly available only from subscription article/research databases, but are now also available from: publishers, Google Scholar, and additional less formal (and generally less comprehensive) options including: Twitter feeds; user communities or social networks; podcasts; YouTube Channels; smart phone and tablet apps; and search widgets.

To identify the auto-alert(s) that best meet their needs, researchers need to be aware of the different types that are available:

  • Search Alerts: Allow you to save a search on a: topic, substance, reaction, author, or journal name (options vary by database and publisher). Your search is rerun either when new records are added, or at an interval you specify.
  • TOC (Table of Contents) Alerts: Send you the table of contents when a new journal issue is published (also called journal issue alerts).
  • Citation Alerts: Notify you when article(s) you specify are cited.

The Search Alerts, TOC Alerts, and Citation Alerts sections below list options for creating various types of auto-alerts using chemistry and general databases, major chemistry publishers, and Google Scholar. Each section indicates what each type of alert is Best for, and which option is the Best choice, for setting up an alert (database, publisher, etc.) Within each section, the most robust options are listed first. Each entry includes: a brief description; the provider’s name for the alert; links to web pages or PDFs that explain how to set up each type of alert; coverage; requirements for access; and available formats.

Search AlertsEdit

Allow you to save a search on a: topic, substance, reaction, author, or journal name (options vary by database and publisher). Your search is rerun either when new records are added, or at an interval you specify.

Best for: staying current on a topic, substance/reaction or author
Best choice: article/research databases, significant publishers in your field


A) Database Search Alerts:
Most databases listed here require subscription (paid) access, which is generally provided through your academic institution library or employer. For those with access, a free login/account is usually required to use the alerts service.


CHEMISTRY DATABASES:
SciFinder: Keep Me Posted (KMP): KMP Alerts can be set up for both topics and substances.
Coverage: SciFinder indexes all of chemistry and chemical aspects of other fields and includes journal articles, patents, dissertations, meeting abstracts, and additional sources. This makes SciFinder Alerts the most robust option for staying current on the chemical literature.
Required: Access to SciFinder, personal login (a prerequisite for SciFinder access).
How To Set Up:
How To Create A Keep Me Posted Alert (PDF)
How To Set Up A Keep Me Posted Alert:
Format: email only.


Reaxys: My Alerts: Reaxys MyAlerts can be set up for: keywords, authors, journal titles, patent numbers, substances, and reactions.
Coverage: Reaxys indexes selected chemistry journals and patents – those that focus on experimental data in organic, inorganic, and organometallic chemistry.
Required: Access to Reaxys, personal login.
How To Set Up:
Reaxys My Alerts
Reaxys My Alerts Help
Format: email only. Additional Info: up to 50 alerts can be saved.


GENERAL DATABASES:
Web of Science: My Saved Searches: Any search that can be done in Web of Science (WOS) can be saved and turned into a Search Alert. Options include: topic, title, author, publication (i.e., journal) name, and others. Both WOS and Current Contents are products of Thomson Reuters (formerly ISI) and use the same Web of Knowledge platform, so the process of setting up Search Alerts for these databases is very similar.
Coverage: Web of Science indexes all academic disciplines. As such, it covers fewer chemistry journals than SciFinder, but provides a broader focus of all of science.
Required: Access to Web of Science, register for personal login (sign in).
How To Set Up:
WOS Help: Save History/Create Alert
WOS Help: Save Search History
Format: email or RSS feed.


Scopus: Search Alerts:
Coverage: All academic disciplines. As with WOS and Current Contents, Scopus can be expected to cover less chemistry than SciFinder, but provides a broader focus on all of science. See also: Summary of Scopus Coverage, Full Content Coverage Guide.
Required: Access to Scopus, Register for personal login.
How To Set Up:
Scopus Search Alerts PDF
Format: email only.


Current Contents: Search Alerts: Searches done in Current Contents can be saved and turned into Search Alerts. Both WOS and Current Contents are products of Thomson Reuters (formerly ISI) and use the same Web of Knowledge platform, so the process of setting up Search Alerts for these databases is very similar.
Coverage: All academic disciplines. As with WOS and Scopus, Current Contents can be expected to cover fewer chemistry journals than SciFinder, but provides a broader focus on all of science.
Required: Access to Current Contents, personal login.
How To Set Up:
Current Contents Help - Save History/Create Alert
Current Contents Help - Save Search History
Format: email or RSS feed.


B) Google Scholar Search Alerts:
Google Scholar: Email Alerts:
Coverage: As with all things Google, coverage is not specified, and may not be consistent, but Google Scholar is freely available. For more on Google Scholar coverage see: Content Coverage, Google Scholar Help
Required: nothing. Google Scholar alerts do not require: a subscription, a login, or even a Google account (simply enter the email address where you want the alerts sent). Accessing most journal articles will still require a personal or institutional subscription.
How To Set Up:
Google Scholar Email Alerts
Format: email only


C) Publisher Search Alerts
Many publishers offer the ability to save searches on a given topic and have them run automatically. Search alert options available from some major chemistry publishers are listed below. No attempt is made to list all relevant publishers. See the next section for Publisher TOC Alerts.


Coverage: Note that Search Alerts from publishers will ONLY include their own publications.
Requirements: A free login/account is usually required to use publisher alert services, an institutional or personal subscription will required to access journal articles, but citations and article abstracts are usually freely available on the internet.


American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications:
Register for ACS ID
Use the search form or Advanced Search Form to create searches
To set up an alert, use the “Save This Search” option which appears on the search results display (lower left).
After logging in, use YOUR PROFILE page to access, edit, and manage Saved Searches.
Help Searching ACS Journals


Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Publishing:
Register for RSC account or Log In to your RSC Account
Use the Search Box or Advanced Search page to conduct a search
Click SAVE THIS SEARCH (top right) to set up an alert.
Use MY PROFILE to access, edit, and manage Saved Searches (My Saved Search link: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/search/history).
After logging in, access your saved searches within My Profile.


Elsevier (ScienceDirect):
Register for an Account or Log In.
Use the Search Form or Advanced Search page to create a search.
Select SAVE AS SEARCH ALERT to set up an alert.
After logging in, use the My Settings or My Alerts links to access, edit, and manage Saved Searches.
How To Set Up:
ScienceDirect Help: Saving A Search Alert
ScienceDirect Help: Alerts


Wiley:
Register for an Account or log in (top right).
Use the search form or the Advanced Search page to create a search.
From search results screen, click SAVE SEARCH to activate Search Alert.
After logging in, use the Alert Manager and the Saved Searches links (both available under My Profile to access, edit, and manage Search Alerts.
How To Set Up:
Wiley Help: eAlerts
Wiley Help: Registering for Email Alerts


TOC (Table of Contents) AlertsEdit

TOC Alerts, or Journal Issue Alerts, send you the table of contents when a new issue is published.

Best for: keeping up with specific journals
Best choice: the journal’s publisher


A) Publisher TOC Alerts
TOC Alerts available from some major chemistry publishers are listed below. No attempt is made to list all relevant publishers. Note that most major publishers offer TOC Alerts. Databases may offer TOC alerts as well, but generally provide less timely results than publishers for this type of alert.
Requirements: A free login/account is usually required to use publisher alert services, an institutional or personal subscription will required to access most journal articles, but citations and article abstracts are usually freely available on the internet.
Coverage: TOC Alerts, by definition, provide a Table of Contents for newly published journals. Some publishers, also provide ASAP, or As Soon As Publishable alerts as well.


American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications:
Register for ACS ID
You can recieve TOC Alerts as either:
email e-Alerts
RSS feeds
After logging in, use YOUR PROFILE page to access, edit, and manage saved TOC Alerts.
Help:Help Searching ACS Journals


Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Publishing:
Register for RSC account or Log In to your RSC Account
Sign up for TOC Alerts as either:
email eAlerts
RSS feeds
To manage your TOC alerts, use the ‘personalized subscription page’ link included on each emailed alert or the registration form
Help: RSC eAlert FAQ Page


Elsevier (ScienceDirect):
Register for an Account or Log In.
Browse through journal and book series titles published by Elsevier to identify TOC Alerts you would like to receive.
Check the Volume/Issue Alerts box to receive emailed TOC Alerts.
Check the Article Feed box to receive RSS TOC Alerts.
Also available: Articles in Press alerts.
After logging in, use the My Settings or My Alerts links to access, edit, and manage TOC Alerts.
Help: ScienceDirect Help: Managing Volume/Issue Alerts
ScienceDirect Help: Adding RSS Feeds
ScienceDirect HELP: Alerts


Wiley:
Register for an Account or log in (top right).
To set up an alert you can either:
  • Use the Publications or Browse By Subject links to navigate the the home page of the journal. Then, from the journal’s home page, click either the “Get New Content Alerts” link for an email alert or the “Get RSS Feed” link.
  • Use Browse By Subject, select the relevant subject (i.e., "inorganic chemistry"), then choose “View All Products in [subject]” and limit to journals. This will get you a list of Wiley journals in that subject area. To set up a TOC Alert for any journals listed, click the check-box by the journal name, then click “Get Email Alerts”.
After logging in, use My Profile to access, edit, and manage TOC Alerts.
Help: Wiley Help: e-Alerts
Wiley Online Library Quick Guide
Wiley Online Library User Guide


Springer:
Register for an Account or log in (top right).
To set up an alert, use the SpringerAlerts page to:
browse journals by title
or browse journals by subject
Use the check box to identify TOC alerts you would like receive.
To manage alerts (unsubscribe or change settings) use the Change Alert Profile (under My Springer).
Help: Springer Alerts
My Springer Account Help



B) Database TOC Alerts
Note: TOC Alerts from databases generally provide less timely results than those from publishers.
To set up a TOC Alert in an article database, follow the instructions given in the Database Search Alerts section. Instead of searching for articles on a topic, search for the name of the journal you want TOC Alerts for, and limit your search to the Journal Name/Publication Name field (the name of the field varies from one database to another). See “How to Set Up” links for each database given in Database Search Alerts section.




C) JournalTOCs Alerts Service
JournalTOCs: This is a free service that searches tables of contents (TOCs) of current issues of journals that produce TOC RSS feeds.
Coverage: Only includes journals that produce TOC RSS feeds. Covers over 18,000 journals from over 1,000 publishers, with over 600 chemistry journals. Publishers include: Elsevier, Springer, Wiley, ACS, RSC and open access journals. See: publishers included, or journals by subject.
Required: Register for personal login or sign in.
How To Set Up:
See "Following" subheading in: Instructions on setting up an RSS feed
Instructions on Exporting your List of Journals to an RSS Reader.
Format: Email and RSS feed.


Citation AlertsEdit

Citation Alerts notify you when article(s) you specify are cited. This is a good way to keep track of who is citing your articles, or articles related to your research. Note that there are limited options for obtaining this type of alert.

Best for: Keeping track of citations to article(s) of interest
Best choice: article/research databases that provide this service


A) Database Citation Alerts
The databases listed here require subscription (paid) access, which is generally provided through your academic institution library or employer. For those with access, a free login/account is usually required to use the alerts service.


Web of Science: Citation Alert: Web of Science (WOS), which includes the well-known Science Citation Index, was the first database that allowed researchers to easily identify and retrieve articles citing other articles.
Coverage: Web of Science indexes all academic disciplines, but does not index as many chemistry journals as SciFinder. It is however, one of the few databases that provide Citation Alerts.
Required: Access to Web of Science, register for personal login (sign in).
How To Set Up:
Sign in to WOS, and search for the article of interest. Click on the article’s title to get to the full record page, then click CREATE CITATION ALERT icon (on right). To manage or modify alerts: While signed into WOS, click MY CITATION ALERTS link (in toolbar at top of page) and click the MODIFY SETTINGS button.
My Cited Articles List
WOS Help Index
Format: email or RSS feed.


Scopus: Document Citation Alert: Scopus and Web of Science are currently the major players among general databases which provide citation tracking features.
Coverage: Scopus indexes all academic disciplines, but does not index as many chemistry journals as SciFinder. It is however, one of the few databases that provide Citation Alerts. See also: Summary of Scopus Coverage, Full Content Coverage Guide.
Required: Access to Scopus, register for personal login.
How To Set Up:
Document Citation Alerts
Note, this document indicates:
“Non-Scopus documents (abstracts available on platforms external to Scopus) and citations derived from Scopus references are not included in Document Citation alerts.”
Format: email or RSS feed.




B) Google Scholar Citation Alerts
Google Scholar: Citation Alerts:
Coverage: As with all things Google, coverage is not specified, and may not be consistent, but Google Scholar is freely available. For more on Google Scholar coverage see: Content Coverage, Google Scholar Help
Required: nothing. Google Scholar alerts do not require: a subscription, a login, or even a Google account (simply enter the email address where you want the alerts sent). Accessing most journal articles will still require a personal or institutional subscription.
How To Set Up:
Google Scholar Help See Email Alerts section, headings for: How do I get notified when my papers are cited? and How do I get notified when a particular paper is cited?
Format: email only



C) Publisher Citation Alerts
Coverage: Note that Citation Alerts from publishers can be expected to include only citations from their own publications.
Requirements: A free login/account is usually required to use publisher alert services, an institutional or personal subscription will required to access journal articles, but citations and article abstracts are usually freely available on the internet.


American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications: Citation Alerts:
Register for ACS ID
How To Set Up:
After logging in, use the ACS Publications page navigate to the journal and article of interest.
Click on the article’s title to bring up the full record for the article.
In the Toolbar on the right, click on CITATION ALERTS.
This will add the article to your ACS Citation Alerts list, and you will receive an email alert whenever the article is “cited by newly published content.”
Use the YOUR PROFILE page to manage Citation Alerts.


Wiley:
Register for an Account or log in (top right).
How To Set Up:
After logging in, navigate to the journal and article of interest.
Click on the article’s title to bring up the full record for the article.
In the ARTICLE TOOLS toolbar on the right, click on “GET CITATION ALERTS”.
Citation alerts for this article will be added to your profile.
Use My Profile to manage Citation Alerts.
Help: Wiley Help: e-Alerts


Additional OptionsEdit

Current Awareness services began in the late 1950’s, well before both Internet access to article databases, and digital publication of journal articles, became ubiquitous. During the 1950's and 1960's, these services were commonly called “selective dissemination of information” (or SDI). These services used computer programs to identify and collect abstracts for recently published journal articles. “Interest profiles” (searches on topics, based on keywords) were developed for broad areas. The resulting collections of abstracts, focused on broad topics, were distributed in print to subscribers.

Some services based on this model are still available (see below). Their primary advantage is that they offer a more thorough literature search than can be accomplished via free options (Google Scholar, Journal TOCs, etc.), and although these services are fee-based, they do not require on-going subscriptions to article databases.


Provides various search interfaces, analysis and visualization tools geared to information professionals, available from CAS division of ACS. Current awareness alerts are available from the STN Express and STN on the Web products. STN Current Awareness User Guide provides more information about the current awareness alert options avialable on STN.
Profile-based current awareness service, available from Thomson Reuters. Results delivered via email, sent daily or weekly.


For additional information on SDI, see:

Hensley, C. B. 1963. Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI): state of the art in May, 1963. AFIPS '63, Proceedings of the May 21-23, 1963 Spring Joint Computer Conference: 257-262. Accessed December 11, 2012, DOI: 10.1145/1461551.1461584
Connor, J. H. 1967. Selective Dissemination of Information - review of literature and issues. The Library Quarterly 37 (4): 373-391. Accessed December 11, 2012, URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4305823.

ReviewsEdit

All of the sources in the previous section are aimed at making you aware of the existence of new primary literature as soon as it is available. REVIEW articles (or book chapters) serve a different purpose: they provide critical reviews of the published literature on particular topics. This can be very useful when there is a need to get up-to-speed on a new topic quickly, or when beginning a large project.

Reviews generally: are written by experts in a field, survey a large body of literature, summarize significant findings, and sometimes provide novel interpretations of results. Compared to “standard” journal articles, reviews generally: do not present new results, are longer, and provide substantially more references. Reviews may be published in: primary journals, conference proceedings, journals that specialize in publishing reviews, serial works that look like books, or multi-volume monograph sets. Examples of sources for reviews are given at the end of this section.


Finding Reviews

Many, but not all databases, permit searchers to limit results to only review articles, often as a second step after executing a search. The exact definition of what qualifies as a review article varies somewhat from vendor to vendor. To find reviews either use an article database, and limit your results to document type "review" (see below for instructions); or go to a known source for reviews in your area, such as those listed at the end of this section. The librarian at your institution, or a nearby academic library can help you locate additional sources for reviews.

Using SciFinder to Find Reviews:
First conduct your search. From the results page, use the REFINE tab (on the right) to limit your results to DOCUMENT TYPE: REVIEW.
Using Web Of Science to Find Reviews:
First conduct your search. From the results page, use the REFINE RESULTS tool bar (on the left) to limit your results to DOCUMENT TYPES: REVIEW.


Examples of sources for reviews: Title (Publisher)
Review Journals
Accounts of Chemical Research (ACS)
Chemical Reviews (ACS)
Chemical Society Reviews (RSC)
Serials
Annual Reviews in Analytical Chemistry (Annual Reviews)
Annual Reviews in Biochemistry (Annual Reviews)
Annual Reviews in Physical Chemistry (Annual Reviews)
Annual Reviews in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Annual Reviews)
Reviews in Computational Chemistry (Wiley)
Chemistry of Heterocyclic Compounds (Wiley)
Multi-Volume Sets
Comprehensive Chemistry series (Pergamon/Elsevier), many titles including:
Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry
Comprehensive Heterocyclic Chemistry
Comprehensive Inorganic Chemistry
Comprehensive Medicinal Chemistry
Comprehensive Organic Chemistry
Comprehensive Organometallic Chemistry
Comprehensive Supramolecular Chemistry

Document Delivery and Interlibrary LoanEdit

DOCUMENT DELIVERY and INTERLIBRARY LOAN are terms used in libraries to refer to methods of providing access to items the library either does not own, or does not own in the desired format.

Interlibrary Loan refers to the process where a library patron requests an item not owned by the library they are affiliated with (i.e., their university or public library). The library where the request is made: identifies libraries that own the desired item, borrows it from another library, loans it to the patron, then returns it to the owning library. The lending library generally sets the due date, any usage restrictions (i.e., library use only), and has total discretion over what in their collection they choose to lend. Print copies of journals generally are not lent, instead a photocopy or PDF of the article is usually sent. Libraries generally pay fees to obtain materials through interlibrary loan, these may or may not be passed on to the end users. Because costs are involved, libraries generally provide Interlibrary Loan only for patrons affiliated with their library (e.g., the affiliated users of a university library are usually current students, faculty and staff at that university). Interlibrary loan policies and fees vary between libraries and institutions. Copyright restrictions can affect what can be lent, and in what format, particularly for digital materials (online books and journals).

Document Delivery can refer to the practice of purchasing individual copies of items (usually articles or documents) to be given to the end user (perhaps at no charge or only a partial charge to the end user). Document Delivery can also refer to the practice of providing a digital copy of a print item owned by the library (almost always limited to articles and documents, may be fee-based or free).


Making an Interlibrary Loan Request: OpenURL Link Resolvers

Most libraries have online forms that allow patrons to request Interlibrary Loan or Document Delivery services. In addition, patrons can usually request an Interlibrary Loan from within article databases via OpenURL link resolvers, when their library does not own the desired item(s). OpenURL link resolvers are used by libraries to allow patrons to connect from article databases (and other resources) directly to subscription content (such as journal articles and books). If the library has a subscription to electronic content, the link will resolve to the online article or book. If the library has a print subscription, the link will resolve to the library's catalog, which provides the information needed to access the print journal or book. If online or print access is not available, most OpenURL link resolvers also include the option of requesting an item via Interlibrary Loan.

Examples of OpenURL link resolvers include:

Ex Libris SFX,
OCLC WorldShare License Manager,
Swets SwetsWise Linker,
Serials Solutions 360 Link,
Innovative Interfaces WebBridge,
Ovid LinkSolver,

and others. Many educational institutions apply "local branding" to the OpenURL link resolver they use.

SummaryEdit

Given the volume of scientific literature produced today, scientists need to be able to identify newly published items relevant to their research. A wide range of mainly web-based current awareness, or alerting services, have been developed to meet this need, providing an efficient and focused approach to the new literature. A focused approach for scanning the older literature is to identify review articles, either by using the search features in an article database, or by reviewing known sources for reviews in your research areas. When publications are needed that are not owned by the library you are affiliated with, Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery can be relied upon to provide the needed materials in the majority of cases.

SIRch Link for Keeping Up and Looking Back

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