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PubMed and NCBI: Setting up Automatic E-mail Updates

A guide to assist in signing up for and using this database.

Create Alerts

In most NCBI databases, when you click on Create alert you are asked if you would like to receive e-mail updates of new search results automatically. Automatic e-mail updates of search results are then sent according to the frequency you selected when saving your search in My NCBI (none, once a month, once a week, or daily). You can also choose a format (Summary, Abstract, Summary-plain text, Abstract-plain text, MEDLINE), optional text (up to 200 characters), and change the number of items to be sent (1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 or 200 items).

The text, which appears in the body of your e-mail updates, can be used to create a title for your search or any specific information you want.  You may enter up to 100 characters for the search title. The name of the saved alert will be included in the Subject of your automatic e-mail updated messages. If you have trouble remembering your original search word or phrase(s), hover over the search name with your mouse in My NCBI - Saved Searches. It will display the original search word or phrase(s).

Automatic e-mail updates can only be sent to e-mail addresses that have been confirmed.


Creating Collections

To save search results to a new collection:

  1. Sign in to My NCBI and run a search.
  2. From the search results page, click the check box next to items you want to save. If you do not select any items all results up to 1,000 items will be sent to collections.
  3. After selecting the items you wish to save, select "Collections" from the "Send to" pull-down menu. Click "Add to Collection".
  4. The My NCBI- Collections page will display. Select "Create new collection".
  5. My NCBI will create a default collection name using the number of items you are saving in a collection. Rename your collection using a short, yet meaningful, title. Identical names for different collections are allowed and may cause confusion. Collection names have a limit of 100 alphanumeric characters. Click "Save" to finish.

As you continue to build data collections, you may want to add new items to an existing collection.

To add search results to a existing collection:

  1. Follow steps 1-3 under Creating Collections.
  2. The My NCBI-Collections page will display. "Append to an existing collection" will be selected by default.
  3. Choose the collection into which you want to save your new items. Click "Save" to finish.

In addition, you may add items from multiple NCBI databases to an existing collection. This type of collection is called "Mixed" because it has data items from multiple NCBI databases.