The Journey From Alert to Research Notes

This past summer, I began searching for dissertations on my research topic, videoconferencing in K12 education. I began at the Andrews’ library page (link, went to List All Databases, and selected Dissertation Abstracts. After some searches, I found that the term “videoconferencing” was getting the best results. Then I noticed a button that shows up after you search: “Set Up Alert.” Since I’d learned about alerts from Dr. Covrig in Orientation, I clicked it. I forgot all about it until November, when I received two “alert” emails from ProQuest telling me about really important dissertations that are very applicable to my topic!

Now I’m sold on alerts. I’ve since dug out Dr. Covrig’s alerts instructions from Orientation and set up alerts at all the major sites listed. I’ve signed up fairly broadly, because articles about my topic show up in all sorts of places. Usually at the beginning of the week or month, I get an email announcement that I quickly scan.

If something sounds interesting, I click the URL and open it up. I open it up in Internet Explorer because I have Firefox set up as my regular browser, and Internet Explorer (IE) with the Andrews proxy. When I use IE, I’m “on campus”. If I really like the article/dissertation, I export the reference to Endnotes and save the full text PDF to my Full Text Folder for my research. My Full Text Folder is organized with file names like the start of an APA reference, i.e. Lastname2007MyOwnWordsorPiecesofTitle.pdf. Then when I get around to it, I read and blog the article as my research notes.

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