Skip to Main Content

Beyond Deakin: Supporting you into the future

On this page

Keeping up to date with work related information is important for both personal and professional development.  Learn to use social media, database search alerts, and other feeds of information to keep up to date with developments in your industry.

Keeping up to date

Image: news icon representing keeping up to dateKeeping up to date with work related information such as changing research, new policies or health news (also known as current awareness) is a skill that can be used for your personal and professional development. It can be a time consuming process, but there are ways to make this easier. This involves making use of current awareness tools.

Maintaining your current awareness of new policies, research, debates and ideas in your professional area is important throughout your career.

There are numerous ways to maintain your current awareness, depending on the nature of the information you need. You will likely need to keep up to date with information from a variety of sources.

 Using social media

Image: social media icons surrounding megaphoneMost people probably think of social media as something for personal use. But it can be a powerful tool for maintaining your current awareness.

Traditional methods for communicating scholarly activity can be very slow, so researchers are increasingly using social media to share and discover research. ‚ÄčFor example, you can follow researchers, news sources, organisations, or professional associations on Twitter. With Twitter you can also watch hashtags assigned to conferences, to see what research and ideas are being presented in real time.

Social networking sites are also increasingly popular for health professionals to keep their knowledge up-to-date by providing tools to communicate about professional and social topics or to engage in debate about policy with other practitioners. Many health professionals join online communities where they can share relevant articles, discuss health developments, or ask for input from colleagues regarding workplace issues. 

Some examples of organisational social media profiles that may be of interest are:


Many health care organisations have guidelines about how to use social media in an employment context. Make sure you check with your workplace if they have issued any policies.

Database search alerts

Image: magnifying glass search image in red alert circleKeep up to date by setting search alerts through databases. Databases include journals from multiple publishers.

Search alerts can be set up for new work added by a particular author, or work that matches your search criteria. This means you don't have to re-run your search, and you are automatically alerted to new material when it becomes available.

It is also possible to set up citation alerts. This is a notification when new publications cite a particular article.

Many databases offer an alert feature. Usually you will need to register for a free account to receive notifications.

Be aware that these alerts provide citation information and usually an abstract only. Unless the article is open access, the full text for an article will need to be purchased or sought through a library membership.

PubMed is a database that will still be freely available to you after graduation. There is information available on setting up search alerts with PubMed.

You can also set search alerts through Google Scholar. Google have provided tips on using email alerts.


Use a personal email not your Deakin email so that you can continue to receive alerts even after you leave Deakin University.


Refer to the Free and Open Access Health Resources Guide for other resources to find scholarly literature. If you have a Deakin Library Alumni membership there are also a number of databases for you to search.

Journal email alerts

Image: mail alertResearch is changing all the time and journal Table of Contents (TOC) alerts are another way you can keep up to date with the latest research. Many journals will email you the TOC from the latest issue when it is available for free.

To set this up, there is usually an alerts option on the journal’s homepage. You may need to create a personal account.

As with database alerts, the information sent to you may simply be citation data, but possibly the abstract too.  Unless the journal or individual articles of interest are open access, you will need to explore options for obtaining full text.

While studying at Deakin, if the Library has a subscription to the journal you will be able to view the full text of the article.


Use a personal email not your Deakin email so that you can continue to receive alerts even after you leave Deakin University.

                              Learning Activity

Web feeds (RSS feeds)

RSS feeds (information feeds) can be a useful way to collate information from news sites, journals, blogs, podcasts or web pages on different subjects, which makes them a good option for keeping up to date.

You can collect numerous 'feeds' of interest to you direct to your email or a news aggregator, such as Feedly or Digg Reader. This means you don't have to visit all the web sites individually to see if there is anything new.

Some people say RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, while others say it stands for Really Simple Syndication.

Organisations may have e-newsletters or blogs that you can sign up to and that will be emailed to you. Blogs originally were created as online personal journals and as such were considered to be of little scholarly value, but this is no longer the case for all blogs.

Some examples of RSS feeds:

There are some other resources that provide excellent information and may be useful to add to a current awareness bulletin or help you keep up to date.

The Conversation - This free online site sources news and views from the academic and research community. You can select Get newsletter to subscibe to a daily email alert. Other options for keeping up to date include Facebook, Twitter and RSS feed.

Analysis & Policy Observatory (APO) - This free online site provides access to full text research reports and papers, statistics and other resources essential for public policy development and implementation in Australia and New Zealand. Select Subscribe to get email alerts from APO. Other options available are RSS feeds, Twitter and Facebook.


To see if a RSS feed is available look out for the RSS icon or a link to the RSS feed, it might say 'alert'. Some sites will have the RSS feed option available from their home pages but others may have it available on other pages.