What is Current Awareness?
Current awareness is a term that describes the methods used to keep up-to-date with the most recent information in your subject area. Current awareness methods include RSS feeds, saved searches and content alerts.
Email alerting services
Many journal suppliers provide an email alerting service for their journal titles. Usually you can select the titles you are interested in and they will automatically email you on a regular basis with the list of the most recent table of contents. Alerting services include:
- ZETOC [http://zetoc.mimas.ac.uk] This is the most comprehensive alerting service. It covers approximately 28,000 current journals and 16,000 conference proceedings, covering all subjects. A list of journal titles covered by the database is available. The database covers 1993 - present; it is updated daily. You can also set up ZETOC alerts to email you contents pages from selected journals.
- JournalTocs [www.journaltocs.ac.uk] JournalTocs is a large free searchable collection of Tables of Contents (TOCs). It covers over 22,000 journals. You can select a set of journal titles, view the latest TOCs, export your TOC feeds to popular RSS feed readers, and to set up email alerts.
Saved Database Searches and Search alerts
Some databases allow you to save your searches to run again at a later date or will automatically run a saved search against the updates to the database and send you the result by email. This can save you an enormous amount of time, and is an easy way to keep up to date. You'll have to set up a free account first and decide how often to receive the alerts.
Citation alerts are available from ejournals and from bibliographic databases, for example Web of Science and Scopus. You can set them up to notify you by email or RSS feed whenever a journal article that you select is cited by new documents added to the journal or database. You will usually find guidance on setting up this facility in the help pages for the journal or database.
One simple way of keeping up with the latest contents journals and blogs is to use RSS feeds. To use RSS feeds you will need an RSS Feed Reader e.g. Feedly [www.feedly.com] or Blogtrottr [https://blogtrottr.com]. Instead of having to go to lots of different websites to keep up to date you can use RSS to be notified directly of any updates.
New books from publishers
You can stay up to date with new publications by registering for email alerts from publishers' web sites, such as
Social media includes websites, blogs, Twitter, and social bookmarking sites such as Delicious. All offer RSS feeds and some email alerts. They are people driven- you can see what other people are talking about/recommending. They are more up-to-the minute than other methods.
Academia.edu [www.academia.edu] is a free social networking tool for those in academia. By creating an account, users can follow other users in or out of their field of study, and keep up to date on the latest research. In addition, the site will notify you when a new article is published under your listed research interest topics.
Blogs can be useful for discussing current topics and there are many available. Some useful philosophy blog lists include:
Consc.net [http://consc.net/weblogs.html] has a list of blogs on analytic philosophy or by analytic philosophers
Achille Varzi’s website [www.columbia.edu/~av72/links.html#Weblogs] List of philosophy blogs by subject and philosopher.
Twitter [www.twitter.com] Many bloggers now use Twitter instead of RSS to update people about articles, news, postings etc. Twitter uses hashtags, similar to social bookmarking tags, which you can use to search or browse for tweets on trending topics. It is therefore useful for networking, sharing resources, and discussing topics. Hashtags are often designated at conferences for users to post and read comments and updates on conference events, and share key ideas.
A list of philosophers on Twitter, provided by Rani Lill Anjum is available here: http://twitter.com/ranilillanjum/lists/philosophers-on-twitter
Facebook [www.facebook.com] A lot of individual philosophers, organizations and publishers now have 'fan' pages on Facebook which can be 'subscribed' to so that you can keep up to date with their news via your Facebook page.