Alerting and Current Awareness Services

Services that keep you up-to-date with news, articles, journals, books and websites in your field of research


Attending conferences is a popular way of meeting colleagues researching in the same or related areas. The expansion of e-conferences (electronic or online conferences) has made this method of keeping up to date easier.

You can search for conferences online using conference as a keyword, in combination with your research area. Some search engines, e.g. Yahoo!, have conference as a search limiter.

Notices of upcoming conferences are often in current issues of journals. There are also websites that list upcoming conferences.

General conference lists


Discipline specific conference lists

Discussion lists

You can communicate with your colleagues via discussion boards, discussion lists, forums, bulletin boards, and newsgroups. These services function like a public forum, providing a place to exchange ideas; to share research and problem solving; and for recreation.

To join a list email the list administrator. Your address will be added to the mailing list.

There are three main types of discussion lists:

  • Open list: These are open to anyone, messages are forwarded automatically without any human intervention.
  • Moderated list: Messages are filtered through a human moderator who screens and possibly edits messages to be sure they are appropriate and on-topic.
  • Closed list: These may involve membership of a professional body or enrolment/employment at a given institution. You will be notified if you are not eligible to join a specific list.


Some major directories of discussion lists are:

  • CataList opens in a new window – Browse any of the 53,881 LISTSERV public lists or search for mailing lists of interest.
  • National Academic Mailing List Service opens in a new window – Known as 'JISCMail', this is a service designed specifically for the further education, higher education and research communities. It is one of a number of services provided by JISC Advance.
  • Google Groups opens in a new window – This is the entire archive of Usenet discussion groups dating back to 1981, covering the full range of human discourse. Observe the evolution of viewpoints, debate and advice on every subject from politics to technology.
  • Yahoo! Groups opens in a new window – Find thousands of groups ranging from personal communication groups to scientific groups.