The following is a repost of an article I wrote for the MiniTrends blog at http://minitrends.com/blog/.
Automated alerts can help you stay competitive with real-time data about very specific subjects, technologies, authors and/or companies. Customizing state-of-the-art reports and automated alerts based on client-specified criteria are essential elements of my business, but there are some out-of-the-box resources you may find useful.
Automated alerts can reduce your scanning time by notifying you about newly published information. For example, Google Alerts monitors a large portion of the web and emails you anything it considers relevant. Of course, you may not agree with Google’s version of “relevant” and you‘ll still spend valuable time scanning and sorting.
Fortunately, there are other many automated alerts. It will be important to set each one up to deliver quality information and avoid overload.
Technical Alerts deliver bibliographic information regarding newly published research papers, dissertations, and conference proceedings – if it meets your specified criteria. The data for these alerts originate from databases such as Compendex, which is one of the largest in the scientific field, currently indexing 1,031 journals from around the world. These alerts use the bibliographic information to provide tailored results.
Patent Alerts are keyed to patent and patent application information from around the world. For example, many companies like to know when a key competitor files patent applications or receives a granted patent.
RSS Alerts are different from RSS Readers because they allow you to “mine” the RSS streams of your choice for keywords that you consider important.
Web Page Alerts are simple in concept but they are extremely useful since they monitor a specific URL for changes. Anytime the page changes you will receive a notification and that notification will allow you to view the new page changes highlighted. These alerts are especially valuable for monitoring product announcements from competitors, really long governmental pages, or working groups.
Table of Contents (TOC) Alerts send you the TOC information for specific publications, typically weeks or months in advance of the publication date. These alerts are valuable not only for their speed but also because you can quickly glance through each TOC and purchase only those publications that are appealing. (And save money on subscriptions and/or memberships.)
Social Alerts typically monitor sites like Facebook, blogs, and Twitter for keywords.
Government Alerts help keep you apprised of recently published research sponsored by the Federal Government and announcements of new solicitations of bids.
Business and Market Alerts are great because companies are constantly marketing themselves by making product announcements. Further, most market research companies will announce their newest reports covering specific industries or companies.
Trademark Alerts allow monitoring of specific company’s applications, monitoring your own trademarks for potential infringement, or monitoring for key terms that you define.
Domain Alerts monitor new domain name registrations so that you can learn about new and potentially problematic names.
Many companies find that the best way to control their time and expense with Alerts is to hire an intermediary that not only has access to the services that charge money but also knows how to set them up properly.
Photo credit: Tokyoship (Wikimedia)