I’m finishing up my 4th year as a PhD Student in Archaeology and I can say one of my biggest challenges has been keeping up with the most cutting-edge research in my field. In archaeology, as is the case with most other disciplines, scholars are constantly publishing on the newest findings, methods of data collection and theoretical perspectives.
In past years I would find myself browsing through archaeology journals in the library and doing periodic online searches for the newest articles. Luckily I recently discovered the power of Google Scholar Alerts to stay updated with the latest research in my field. With Google Scholar Alerts, I receive a weekly email with the most recent articles and publications in archaeology. The process is quick and easy and has led me to a number of important publications related to my dissertation topic. Below I’ve outlined the steps to create your own Google Scholar Alerts and start receiving updates in your email.
- Log on to the Google Scholar Alerts website.
- Click the red “Create Alert” tab.
- In the “Alert Query” field, enter the string of text you would like to search for in Google Scholar as well as the email address where you would like to forward your alerts. As a graduate student specializing in African Archaeology I set my string as “African archaeology” so I will notified when new articles are published with the those two words next to each other in the title or body of the document.
- I left the “Number of Results” as ’Show up to 10 results’ and clicked “Update results” to get a preview of the types of articles that would appear in my weekly email digest.
- Finally, satisfied with the results, I clicked “Create Alert.”
You can create an endless amount of word combinations in the “Alert Query” field depending on your interests—all the general search operators apply. You may want to follow the research of a particular author, a particular journal or a particular theme/area of specialization. I’ve set up an alert for each of my committee members so I know when my advisors are publishing. If you have publications of your own, it can also be a good way to monitor who is citing your work. As far as I know there are no limits to the amount of alerts you can create although too many could potential clutter your email inbox. Theoretically you could also set up a gmail filter to add tags to all emails received from “firstname.lastname@example.org” and file them away for better organization.
How do you stay up-to-date with the latest literature in your field? Share your workflow in the comments below.