Setting up alerts and tracking changes to web pages

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It is difficult enough tracking down relevant and useful sites, but keeping up with changes to pages is an impossible task when you have more than a dozen or so to monitor. Link checkers can alert you to pages that have disappeared or that are redirecting users to another site, but changes to the content are equally if not more important. Until 12-18 months ago there were many services that monitored changes to web pages and notified you of changes to those pages. Most of the services that had been listed on this page have now been discontinued. We are looking at and updating the information on the remaining services, and trying to identify new products.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds are another way of keeping up with new content but not all publications and websites offer them as an option.

Email alerts are also an option but again are not always available and some, such as Google Alerts, are not totally reliable.

Email alerts



JournalTOCs is a free service for individual users: researchers, librarians, students - anyone who wants to track the latest papers published in the scholarly literature. It is international in coverage and includes nearly 33,000 journals from 3355 publishers, including selected Open Access journals and hybrid journals. You first have to set up an account (free of charge for individuals) and then select the journals in which you are interested. The service monitors those journals for you and sends you the table of contents by email when a new issue of the journal is published. More information on coverage and the JournalTOCs Premium service for institutions can be found at

Google Alerts


This enables you to set up alerts for new content found by Google and which are sent to you by email or via an RSS feed. After entering your keyword(s) you can choose the frequency with which you receive the alerts, the type of content ("automatic", blogs, news, web, video, books, discussions or finance), language, country, how many results (All results or Only the best results) and the email address or RSS feed for delivery.

Google Scholar alerts have to be set up from within Google Scholar and are sent by email only. As well as alerts on topics and keywords, you can "follow" an author and receive updates to their list of publications if they have set up a Scholar author profile.

Both the general Google alerts and those from Google Scholar are not entirely reliable. They do miss content and sometimes repeat and report older articles that have been included in the alerts sent weeks previously. Having said that, they occasionally pick up unique articles that other services miss.



Web based page monitoring services



The free service provides 20 daily checks and 1 hourly check per user. You can track additions, deletions, Google page rank, keywords, and sections of a page. Alerts are sent to you by email. The Pro account gives you 1000 daily checks, 20 hourly checks, 5 10-minute checks and 100 weekly checks.

Watch That Page


This is a free service run by ATS Consulting, a Norwegian company that specialises in software development. You can track an unlimited number of pages, which can be grouped into folders and tracked on a daily or weekly basis. There is a keyword matching option that filters the changes that are relevant to you, for example if you are only looking for news where a certain term or phrase occurs such as a company or a product name. Channels enable you to divide your pages into groups based on importance or content type. Each channel can have different properties: some can have keyword matching and daily reports whilst others can be checked less frequently and report all changes. Email alerts can include the text that has changed on your pages or just list the URLs of pages that have changed. If you are a professional or heavy user, you are required to pay a fee. Watchthatpage will notify you by email if you fall into the heavy user category.

Desktop page monitoring programs

Website Watcher


The full version of this software is available on a 30 day free trial. It tracks an unlimited number of pages and you can choose to ignore HTML tags, images/banners, numbers and dates. You can enter user names and passwords for password protected pages that you wish to track. Pages can be checked once a day, once a week, or on a specified day or days of the week. You can even specify the checking frequency during a day either in hours or minutes.

You can track entire sites without having to specify each page individually (not available in the Basic Edition). As well as web pages you can track RSS and Atom feeds, but this feature is not really a replacement for a fully fledged RSS reader if you are a serious news junkie.

Prices are 29.95 Euros for the Basic Edition, 49.95 for the Personal Edition, 99 Euros for a single user Business licence, 1990 Euros for a site license and 9990 Euros for an enterprise licence.


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