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Key strategies to manage literature

  1. Have a search log in a word document or excel spreadsheet
  2. Create an EndNote library and export relevant literature to it
  3. Set up a personal account in Library databases to:
    • permanently save relevant literature in folders
    • permanently save, edit and rerun searches easily
    • set up email alerts

Taking advantage of key tools and database functionality can save you time.

More help:

Save your search

What you should record:

Name of the database For example have you searched Scopus, Web of Science, or another database.
Platform (provider) the database is on

This is important as some databases are available on several different platforms.

Common platforms include:

  • Ovid
  • ProQuest
  • EbscoHost

Not all databases will be hosted on a platform.

Date you searched Databases update regularly so results may vary if searches are replicated later on.
Your whole search strategy

This includes:

  • keywords used
  • connectors (Boolean operators) used
  • the fields you searched within
  • limits applied

Tip: save your search strategy in the database, this will require a personal sign in, or instead copy and paste it or do a screenshot.

Recording your search strategies correctly and clearly is critical if you are undertaking a particular type of review.


An alert is an automatic update from a database or publisher website, normally in the form of an email, which is sent at regular intervals. They are a great way to keep up to date with the latest research.

Important: Not all the above alerts will be available in every search tool.

Setting up alerts in databases

The following resources will show you how to save searches and set up alerts. 


Web of Science

More help: