Nearly every commercial database that covers natural sciences and engineering offers some type of current awareness (CA) service that provides regular updates to users on current literature in a selected field of interest. Current awareness services include e-mail alerts, tables of contents, and RSS feeds. This study was designed to find out what percentage of natural sciences and engineering faculty at Western Michigan University (WMU) uses online CA services, what types of CA tools they use, how useful they find these tools, and whether faculty would be interested in a library training session that covered such tools. We invited WMU natural sciences and engineering faculty to take a 13-question survey. We found that e-mail alerts were the most often-used CA service; few researchers used RSS feeds. Most researchers used the services to alert them to research in a specific subject area. Awareness of other researchers in specific areas was the most frequently cited contribution of CA services. A significant number of natural sciences and engineering faculty at WMU would be interested in library instruction about CA services, although whether they would take advantage of such instruction is uncertain.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/edward_eckel/7/