Subscribing to Journals with your institutional Subscription

There are some journals and magazines that you want to read every article in. However, in the institutional subscriptions that most academic libraries use, there are a lot of tiny (less than 150 word) articles that clutter up email alerts and RSS feeds.

This is a strategy to create smart RSS feeds and email alerts with only the larger articles.

Because I’m using some less-documented features, I’ll show you how to do this in two of the largest vendors, EbscoHost and ProQuest.


At the University of Toronto, we have access to Rolling Stone through CBCA Complete.

You can generally find the internal ProQuest ID’s of journals and magazines by clicking on the journal name in any generic search result, or through your OpenURL resolver.

The Rolling Stone internal ID on ProQuest is 47797

You can search for Rolling Stone in your ProQuest subscription by using this search string.


You can create an alert within the ProQuest interface for every article, but as mentioned earlier a lot of tiny articles will clutter up your alerts. ProQuest uses the operator WC to allow you to limit or place a lower limit the number of words in your search results.

The WC operator uses > (greater than) and < (less than) in front of the number of words. To only get longform articles from Rolling Stone, you can use this search string.

PUBID(47797) WC(>500)

ProQuest search results should be sorted by the ‘Most Recent first’. With this search string and sort option, you can then create the alerts inside ProQuest.


At the University of Toronto have access to International Affairs through our Academic OneFile subscription

Gale uses the Publication Title operator to identify individual works. You can find International Affairs with this search.

Publication Title (“International Affairs”)

Gale uses the Word Count operator to limit word counts, and uses the > or < in front of number of words..

To get only longform articles from International Affairs, use this search string.

Publication Title (“International Affairs”) AND Word Count (>500 )


At the University of Toronto we have access to the National Review through our subscription to Corporate ResourceNet.

Ebsco uses the JN operator to identify individual works. You can find the National Review with this search.

JN “National Review”

Ebsco does not use a word count operator, instead offering a page count limit. Put a page-count limit of Greater Than 1 and create a search alert inside the Ebsco interface.


All three interfaces allow both RSS and Email subscriptions to alerts with these search options.



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