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Web of Science saved searches

August 25, 2006

Okay, time to put on my book-geek hat! I just received my first alert after setting up a 'saved search' on the newly upgraded Thomson Web of Science platform. If you are among those who make a hobby of watching this platform closely, especially during the past year, you will have noticed upgrades arriving with suprprising regularity -every 4 to 6 months it seems. Which is all good news for users...

It just becomes a matter of remembering that all these cool features exist whenever you might need one of them.

Anyhoo, providing that you have signed up for a personal Web of Science profile, you too can know the joys of having alerts every time an article with your keywords is published. Even more intriguing are the alerts you can set up to track every time a favorite article is cited by someone else in the literature. But that's a story for another time. I'll just share the one I have set up that shows me any time a Drexel- iSchool author has a scholarly paper published.

Here's my search AD=(drexel SAME informat*)

If it's new to you, the AD or ADDRESS field is where the author's affiliation is noted. My search finds the university's name in the same field as a keyword that is typically mentioned in the name of the college (information science & technology)

Product: Web of Science
History Name: Drexel SAME Informat
Description: IST affiliated authors
Alert Expires: 10 JAN 2007
Alert Query: AD=(drexel SAME informat*)
Results Found: 0 new records were found this week

Looking more closely at the text of the alert, it seems that the alert comes whether there are new results or not. Not sure how I feel about that. If I intended this to alert me to new publications only, is it a waste to get what amounts to an empty email? Or is it a nice reminder that I have an alert in the first place that I might want to revise? What if I had fifty saved searches set up to track infrequent events? Would I get fifty empty emails? I'll have to explore this more....

At least the alert comes with some handy instructions:

To view your results:
1. Access ISI Web of Knowledge and Sign In with the e-mail address under which you created the alert.
2. Once Signed In, use the drop-down menu in the top frame to access 'Open/Manage Saved Searches.'
3. Open and run the Saved Search listed above.

Because one thing is for sure. At least for the first few times, I doubt most people would remember how to find the content of an alert without these instructions! Not sure why it is missing a handy link to clickthrough to the new articles. Maybe since my alert had no results there was nothing to link to.... again I'll have to explore this more....

Ahhhh. Light bulb! Perhaps I only get one alert email regarding all of my saved searches. Then from within my saved searches I get to choose which search to run to retrieve actual results. Hopefully that means I will only get one email reminder regardless of how many saved searches I have. (Still not sure why there's no handy link - but perhaps that will be next month's feature upgrade.) Oh well. Hope you have enjoyed this voyage of book-geek discovery!

Your comments and questions always welcome.

Until next time! - Tim