Keep up-to-date

On this page you can find information about current awareness and alerting services.




What are current awareness and alerting services?
Every day new research is published, policy documents are written and guidance is issued. The purpose of a current awareness service is to keep you up to date with the new information which is relevant to you in your work, research or specialist area of interest.

What alerting services are available to me?
There are a number of ways to keep up to date, depending on your information needs preferences.

Alerts are usually delivered electronically, either by email, RSS feed or both. The frequency of the alerts can sometimes be tailored to your needs.

Keeping up to date is an important aspect of evidence-based practice and our own continuing professional development. In a time where there is so much information available to us, it is important that you strike the right balance of remaining comprehensively informed and up to date in your chosen areas whilst at the same time not being overwhelmed to the extent that it is burdensome. The alerts need to meet your own personal information needs and the library staff are happy to help and advise you in discerning what might be the most appropriate services for you.

Resources tailored for staff groups
You might like to see the resources for staff groups pages which draw together a range of current awareness services by broad subject area from different sources.

Table of Contents Alerts
You can keep up to date with the latest articles published in specific journals by registering for a Table of Contents alert, known as ToCs. The ToCs simply gives you a summary of the latest journal issue content, from which you can then make a decision as to whether there are any articles which you wish to read in full text.

Can I set-up my own ToCs?
You can obtain ToCs freely by registering with the site JournalTOCs  and then selecting the journal titles for which you wish to receive TOCs. Journal coverage includes medical sciences, orthopaedics, rehabilitation, disability, pharmacy and pharmacology, social sciences and welfare. You can receive the alerts as RSS feeds or by email if you prefer.

Note: JournalTOCs is a free service provided by Herriot-Watt University. Useful step by step instructions for registering and using JournalTOCs can be found on the Cornell University website at

Often you can also sign up for TOCs directly online from a journal’s homepage. If a journal title you want to sign up to isn’t included in the JournalTOC service above this is an alternative option.

Can I ask the Library to create my TOC alerts for me?
If there are journal titles you would like ToCs for which are unavailable on JounalTOCs, or if you prefer us to help you create your ToCs, please contact the library.

Ovid eTOC Alerts!  As RJAH subscribe to many journals via OVID, you also have access to Ovid eTOC alerts. Click here for further information and instructions on how to set this up.

Update alerts from the healthcare databases
To help keep you up to date on newly published papers by specific authors or on a particular topic, a search strategy is derived and then automatically re-run every month from one or more healthcare databases (e.g. MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL) of your choice. Any new results from within the last month (or whatever timescale is chosen) are emailed to you as references and abstracts.  Also, if the full text is available to you of a result, there will be a link within the reference to the full text (ATHENS password required). 

Current Awareness Services

  • KnowledgeShare - The Library subscribes to KnowledgeShare which matches your professional interests with the latest guidelines, policy and high level evidence resulting in a regular email bulletin.  You can sign up for KnowledgeShare by printing and completing a form here or by logging into KnowledgeShare at: with your NHS OpenAthens account.
  • CASH (Current Awareness Service for Health) aims to keep health professionals up-to-date with new developments for the benefit of patient care and improved decision making. It is a collaborative service provided by librarians from around England and includes current awareness bulletins on major topics including: cancer, cardiology, children and young people, commissioning, critical care, information management (statistics), later life, long term conditions, management, nursing, orthopaedics and rheumatology, patient safety, primary care, quality and service improvement. The content is added to the central CASH database and is made available to search or be streamed as a newsfeed, using RSS technology. CASH also has a dedicated Netvibes portal, including email alerts for each of the newsfeeds and specialist bulletins. 

NICE Evidence bulletins and alerts


Further sources of current awareness and alerting services
There are many more sources of current awareness and alerting services available, depending on your individual requirements. You might also like to consider:

If you can’t find what you are looking for please contact us. We will be happy to help ensure you have the information to suit your needs and keep you up to date.