This guide highlights tools outside of academic databases which are available to you to help keep up to date with a wealth of information just beyond your fingertips. These include:
A Table of Contents service will deliver the Table of Content (ToC) of the each issue of a journal (or journals) to you, usually via email or via an RSS feed. You can receive ToCs for journals you have access to through library subscriptions, or titles we do not have access to but which may sometimes include content of interest. If this is the case, you will be able to request articles we don't immediately have access to via the Document Delivery Service.
(Please note: JISC announced in January 2022 that the ZETOC service was being retired from service on 1 August 2022)
ZETOC provides electronic ToCs from the British Library and JISC.The database contains details of approximately 35,000 journals. With almost 60 million article and conference records, the database has coverage across all subjects. The database covers the years from 1993 to date and is updated daily. The video below demonstrates how to create and set up an alert. You can access ZETOC from the Library catalogue.
Further videos and guidance (for example, using RSS feeds instead of email delivery) can be found on the Zetoc website, under Support.
JournalTOCs creates ToC alerts by RSS feed. It contains over 33,000 journals (including over 15,900 open access journals) directly collected from over 3,400 publishers.
Online mailing and discussion lists continue to offer a prime means of communication between people with similar research interests or belonging to professional or academic societies, in tandem with less formal social media networks. Two major directories of mailing lists, which you can explore for relevant groups and networks are:
The UK's National Academic Mailing List Service (and largest educational and research email discussion list community) - but don't be deceived; its main users include research communities worldwide. Includes lists for specific interest groups, societies, journals and conferences. Some allow you to join and search the discussion archive freely, some require you to request membership of the group.
JiscMail is funded by Jisc, which is a charity who champion the use of digital technologies in the UK education and research.
The official catalogue of over 50,000 publically accessible LISTSERV discussion and mailing lists. From here you can search and browse all lists by host country, size of membership and subject.
Disseminating your research and maintaining a visible research profile is part of your role as a researcher. You are likely to find out about conferences in your subject area via colleagues, scholarly societies in your subject area and departmental news, but two other sources may be of interest:
Be aware that conferences listed on this service may not have gone through a quality assurance process for selection, so always check the reputation of the organisers, any identifiable conference committee members and the reputation of other or previous speakers
If you are looking for alerts to keep you up to date with new patents and patent applications, the services below may be of interest.
Some researchers at Durham may also find the following subscription service of interest:
For further information, see also the Research Commercialisation team's web pages.
Scholarly communication has broken out from traditional forms (journal articles, monographs, conference papers) and many academics communicate their latest updates on personal blogs and web pages, via social media and Youtube.
Many academic authors use blogging as a means to promote their research to a wider audience, perhaps providing some context of the research or inviting further discussion. They may also highlight or discuss wider issues in academia, their experience and how they have progressed their career.
Examples of Durham University Blogs
Academic social networking sites, such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu allow you to engage with global online networks of researchers to keep up to date with new projects, opportunities, ideas, discussions and publications.
See our guide on Social Media for Researchers for further information.
Whether you see Twitter (and other social media tools) as an essential communication and information platform, or as an enabler for procrastination, there are different ways of using and engaging with it; One example might be to keep up to date with the "twitter conversation" at a conference you may not be able to attend in person.
See our guide on Social Media for Researchers for further tips and guidance on making the most of academic Twitter - including using tools such as Tweetdeck to manage your Twitter engagement, and set up search alerts for content on Twitter.
As with many of our databases of academic literature, we provide subscription access to a number of news databases, including Factiva and Nexis UK, from which you can search across thousands of local, national and international news and media sources, and set up alerts to be updated of new content matching your search terms.
To explore the resources available to you, visit the library's news and newspaper resources web page.