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Searching Health Sciences Literature

Learn how to create a searchable question to find and access literature to help answer your clinical question.

What are Push Notifications?

Push notifications are a way of getting alerted about new research. Say you are interested in keeping up to date about low back pain and pregnancy; rather than having to replicate your search each month or couple of months to see what is new, you can set up alerts that will automatically notify you when new material is published that meet your criteria. If you've ever used an RSS news read, you are already familiar with this concept: instead of visiting every website that you like, you can subscribe to the RSS feeds of your favorite sites, which will be aggregated into one place (your RSS reader) for your viewing pleasure. Here are a couple of ways you can set up push notifications to stay up-to-date on newly published medical research.

Adding RSS Feeds in Zotero

If you use Zotero as your citation manager, you can add RSS feeds from journal publishers or databases to be delivered to your Zotero library. Let's look at how to add an RSS feed from Pubmed:

First, you'll need to run a search -- you can tailor this with filters and other parameters to be as specific or broad as you want. Once you run your search, you can click on the "Create RSS." You can edit the name of the RSS feed if you'd like, then click on the "create RSS" button and copy the URL.

Once you've copied the RSS feed URL, you can add it to Zotero. Simply click on the brown add collection button, and select New Feed > From URL. You can then paste in your feed URL and it will be added to your Zotero library.

Setting up Email Notifications in PubMed

In order to get email push notifications from PubMed, you'll need to sign up for a free account. Once you are logged in, simply run the search you are interested in, and then click on the "Create

Image showing the "create alert" link on Pubmed

You'll then be given options about what you want your email notifications to look like -- how often you get emails, what the email looks like, and how many records to include in the email.

Image showing email push notification options

Once you have that set up, sit back and wait for research notifications to hit your inbox!

You can also set up push notifications for journals that are indexed in PubMed. First, find the journal record in PubMed. One quick way to do this is to click on the Journal link from the PubMed homepage:

Once you find the journal record, click "Add to search builder" -- this will populate your into the search builder box -- then click "Search PubMed."

Once you have your search results page up, you can click on the "Create alert" button and set up your email preferences.

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