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Current awareness

Want to receive details of new journal articles in areas of interest to you? You can store a search in Medline or Pubmed, and, when the database is updated, new articles that match your terms will be sent to you by email or as an RSS feed.

This page explains how to set up alerts.

How to create an alert

Many of the databases relevant to obstetrics and gynaecology can provide automatic alerts of new articles in your chosen topics. Guidance on setting up updates using either PubMed or Medline is available.

Pubmed and Medline contain essentially the same information, but are searched in different ways.


PubMed is updated daily and is freely available to all. The online help includes sections on automatic email updates and saving searches as RSS.


Medline is available to RCOG Fellows, Members and registered Trainees and includes information about journals held by the RCOG Library. The Cochrane Library and some full text journals are also available. The Medline database is updated weekly. Searches to be run regularly are called Autoalerts, and are saved in the ‘My Workspace’ area. See page 8 of the quick reference guide for more details.

Tips for search strategies

You can make your search as simple or as complicated as you wish, but some key things to remember are:

  • Only the articles retreived by the last line of the search strategy will be sent to you. PubMed searches need to be complete in one line. Medline searches can be built up in several stages.
  • In Medline: limits (e.g. to review articles, or English language articles only) are routinely applied to the last line of the search, unless you specifically select another line. In Pubmed, by contrast, limits apply until switched off
  • If you are limiting by date, remember to leave the end date open-ended (in Medline choose ‘Current’; in PubMed choose something like ‘last 3 years’.
  • Example strategies, as used in the sample RSS feeds created by the RCOG Library team (only available to RCOG Fellows, Members and registered Trainees), are:

Multiple pregnancy (PubMed)

  • multiple pregnancy[MAJR]
  • limit to human, and articles published in the last year

Pubmed screenshot

Prenatal testing and screening (Medline)

This uses a mixture of MeSH headings and textword searching.

  • exp *prenatal diagnosis/
  • exp *Fetal Diseases/di [Diagnosis]
  • *mass screening/
  • (antenatal$ or ante-natal$ or (ante adj natal$) or prenatal$ or pre-natal$ or (pre adj natal$) or pregnan$).mp. [mp=title, original title, abstract, name of substance word, subject heading word]
  • 3 and 4
  • 1 or 2 or 5
  • limit 6 to human
  • limit 7 to yr=2011-current

Full-text articles

If you’d like to read the full text of an article found by one of your updates, look for a link to free full text. Be advised that links to publishers’ sites within feed items will often request a subscription or payment.

Check the RCOG eJournals collection to see if the College provides full text access, or request a copy using our document delivery service.

Contact us

If you have any questions about creating or subscribing to RSS feeds, need advice on suitable search terms or would like to suggest topics to be added to this list, please email the RCOG Library team.

Elsewhere on the site

Effective literature searching
Tips and techniques to get the most out of your literature searches
Academic O&G
Find out how the College supports and promotes academic work within obstetrics and gynaecology