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Social Policy and Social Work: Keeping Up To Date

Subject support from Library Services for staff and students in Social Policy and Social Work

Table of Contents Alerts




Zetoc is a current awareness service created by the British Library and it gives access to over 29,000 journals and more than 52 million article citations and conference papers, from 1993 to present day. Zetoc is updated daily and it covers all subject areas.

Zetoc Alert

Zetoc Alert is a current awareness service that sends you email alerts matching the search criteria that you have provided whenever new data is loaded into the database. The searches may be for particular journals, for authors and for keywords from the titles of articles and papers.

For more information go to

Keeping up to date

When you are doing research it is important to keep abreast of developments in your subject area.  There are a number of electronic tools which can help you do this.

Among them are:

  • Mailing lists (eg. JISCmail, national academic mailing list system);
  • Email alerts (these are provided by most of the larger electronic indexing databases eg Web of Science);
  • RSS feeds (eg. Google Reader, Bloglines, etc.)

It is also worth attending conferences  where you can often hear about latest developments and make useful networks.

Setting up alerts on databases

The following shows you how to set up alerts using either Web of Science or ProQuest which includes  ASSIA adm other important social sciences databases 

Social Sciences Citation Index on Web of Science:

  • Do a couple of keyword searches on the most appropriate database

If you have been successful with a particular combination of keywords in finding the kind of references you want:

  • Click on SEARCH HISTORY at the top of the screen
  • Select the search from the list of searches you have done and click on SAVE HISTORY
  • This will prompt you to set up a private account with your e-mail address and a password
  • When you have done this, select SEND ME E-MAIL ALERTS and either the weekly or monthly frequency

You will then be sent a message notifying you whenever any new references appear on this database matching your search criteria. Most of the large databases have this facility.  You usually have to register your e-mail address and think of a personal username and password, and the alerting service is free of charge.



Do a couple of keyword searches on ASSIA

If you have been successful with a particular combination of keywords in finding the kind of references you want:

  • Click on the Create Alert link;
  • Fill in the online form that appears (we would suggest selecting the HTML version and considering how long you want the alert active for using the Stop After drop down menu;
  • Click the Create Alert button;
  • Log into your email account and open the email from ProQuest. Click on the Yes, I want to receive this alert link;
  • You will now be sent an email every time an item is added that includes your keywords.

Academic Skills Advisor Appointments

We aim to give you the confidence to use library and information resources independently to enhance your academic experience and achievement.

What we can do

Offer help, advice, training, support and documentation to students and staff undertaking research, project work, essays and/or dissertations.

Contact the Academic Skills Team at to arrange a 1-1 session - this may be conducted in person, via email, over the phone, or online via Skype. A typical session may include: 

  • Introduction to library services and resources
  • Identification of and training in using key databases and information sources in your subject area
  • Explanation of the principles of literature searching and help in constructing a search strategy
  • Troubleshooting complex/systematic literature reviews
  • Introduction to referencing software
  • Helping to keep you up to date with research

Appointments will generally last between 30 and 60 minutes, and will be initially provided up to 4 times per student, per academic year.

What we can't do

  • Conduct your literature search(es) for you
  • Offer any qualitative assessment of references found through a literature search
  • Write or proof-read your assignments
  • Offer an opinion on any mark that you might receive for your written work
  • Become involved in decisions relating to academic regulations, such as extenuating circumstances.

If you would like more information on skills such as academic writing, effective learning, note taking and presentation skills, please see the Academic Study Skills Centre. There is also advice for students with additional needs on the Disability and Learning Support site.

What we expect of you 

  • Notify us as soon as possible if you cannot attend a booked session. It's important that you do this so we can, if necessary, offer the session to someone else
  • Ensure that you arrive on time for the session
  • Prepare for a 1-1 session by reading the suggested links and ensuring that you bring any material suggested by the Academic Skills Advisor
  • Help us improve what we offer by using our feedback and evaluation system