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Research Guides


A guide to resources and tools for chemistry research. For information on the A.D. Allen Chemistry Library spaces and services, please visit

Setting up current awareness profiles

Database Alerts

Current Awareness searches or Alerts allow you to keep up with all the newest articles on a specific topic.  You create a search and then it is run by the database provider on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule and sent to your email or RSS feed. You can search a topic, author, cited author, chemical name or reaction depending on the database. The search can consist or more than one step too - topic search then limited subject or doc type, etc.  Do not use a date limiter or you will only get articles from that date range. Be cognizant of the number of hits you get in your search to make sure it is not too broad so you won't drown in updates. You can have multiple alerts in the same database: a couple of topic searches, an author search and a reaction search,etc.  Different databases will also give you different sets of articles so it might be wise to run similar searches in both Scifinder and Reaxys for example if you want to be comprehensive. If you want a multidisciplinary search, then a search in Web of Science or Scopus would be useful.

Scifinder, Reaxys, Web of Science and Scopus all have tools to push the latest articles to your mailbox.  You can tailor the results to a topic, author or chemical/reaction type, etc.

In Scifinder, you can take any search you have done and as it as a Keep Me Posted search which will be run every week or month.


Reaxys works in a similar way. You will have to register an account first (top right corner then choose Register NOT Institutional login!) so that Reaxys has an email address for you. Run the search you want, look in History, then mouse over VIEW and you will see the ALERT option. Name your alert and choose the frequency (after each update or monthly) 

Reaxys alert


Web of Science also has an alert service. You must also register for WoS to use this (top right hand corner). After you have done your search, go to Search History and you can create an alert for the last set created. Updates can be set to daily, weekly or monthly.  BONUS! You can set up a cited author search on WoS if you want to see who is citing your own work or that of a researcher you are interested in - just do the cited author search and save that search as an alert!


Scopus also has an alert function once you create an account and login. It works similarly as Web of Science - do the search and then mouse over the View to see the Alert option.

Scopus Alert

Journal Table of Contents Alerts

Most journals also allow you to request the Table of contents as each new issue is published. You will also have to register with the journal in order to get the ToCs. Note: if you are reading them off campus, you may not be able to link through to the articles directly unless you set up a VPN or log on via the U of T Proxy first.

The U of T Libraries have secured access to Browzine which will allow you to create an electronic bookshelf containing your favourite journals and will keep the latest issue always available to you - even across platforms. Articles of interest can be saved to be read offline later.


browzine bookshelf