Creating a Current Awareness (SDI) Alert

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A Current Awareness Alert is a search that runs automatically at a frequency you specify, based on a search strategy you have developed in one or more databases, and delivers the latest results to your desktop. A current awareness alert is also known as an SDI (Selective Dissemination of Information).

To set an alert:

  1. Select Create an Alert from an L-number's ellipsis (...) menu or click the bell icon.


  2. Configure the alert settings:
    • Title: Identify an alert when setup parameters are displayed. The title appears in My Files > Alerts and email message notifications.
    • Name: Assign a unique name to the alert. The name must:
      • Not be more than 12 characters.
      • Use only letters or numbers.
      • Not be END, SAV, SAVE, SAVED, or an L#.

        Note: If the Name field is left blank, the system assigns an auto-generated name (e.g., AA012). After you create the alert, the name is non-editable.

    • Method of delivery: Specify the way alert results should be delivered:
      • Online: Available in My Files > Alerts.
      • Email: Email delivery with links to PDF, RTF, HTML or ASCII text. Enter the email address(es) or STNmail ID in the Delivery to field.
      • RSS: Enter the email address(es) or STNmail ID in the Delivery to field. URL is generated in Messenger after the alert is created.

        Note: See Setting Up an STNmail ID for more information.

    • Expires: Specify if the alert is deleted on the selected date.
    • Eliminate previously seen answers: Determine if previously seen alert answers which have additional information or have been corrected are to be viewed. If the database for an SDI processes articles-in-print, leave the option OFF to get records with full bibliographic information and indexing later.
    • Highlight hit terms: Specify if hit terms are to be highlighted.
    • Send alerts with no answers
    • Delivery notification: Notify by an STNmail message or email.
    • Cost center: Distinguish alert charges on STN invoices.
    • Database settings


  3. Click the Save button. You may access and edit the alert in My Files > Alerts.

Setting Up an STNmail ID

  1. At the command prompt, enter FIL STNMAIL, and then click Submit or press Enter.


  2. Enter SET MAILID, and then click Submit or press Enter.


  3. Enter the requested information at each prompt.


  4. You will then be asked to confirm the information you entered; enter Y to confirm and finish or N to edit.



Alert Database Settings

  • Print format - Specify the answer display format. BIB ABS displays are very popular in databases that have a default display format of BIB.
  • Frequency (Daily, Weekly, Bi-weekly)
  • Update field code - Determines the records eligible for inclusion in an SDI answer set. The update field codes are based on record activity:
    • UP - Enters the database or is updated (update date).
    • UPM
    • UPIT
    • UPI
    • ED - First enters a database (entry date).
    • UPP
    • UPOG
  • Advanced:
    • Max hits to include - Specify the upper limit on the number of result records per SDI run.
    • Structure Search Type:
        • SSS
        • CSS
        • EXACT
        • FAMILY
    • Display update information
    • Redistribute answers - Specify whether the STN records need to be distributed in either electronic or printed form.
    • Archive answers - Specify the need to purchase the right to store STN alert results within your organization for the purpose of electronic or hardcopy access. Customers choosing RSS delivery of SDI results frequently archive answers.
    • Sort - Specify the sort fields and sort direction.