In general, there are three types of alerts:
Search Alerts - You do a search on your subject (eg. William Shakespeare and television adaptations) and receive alerts when new articles have been published on the topic.
Journal Alerts - Receive an alert when the new issue of a journal has been published. Some journals send the Table of Contents (TOC) and some send the TOC and Abstracts.
Citation Alerts - If you are interested in knowing when someone cites a specific article, you can set up a Citation Alert. These are not available from all databases and publishers.
There are generally two methods for receiving ALERTS:
1) EMAIL - Alerts will be sent to an email account. If you are going to set up a lot of alerts, consider creating a separate email account for this purpose using a free service such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, etc.
2) RSS FEEDS - You will need a RSS FEED READER of some kind for this method. See the article below.
To set up ALERTS, you usually need to register with the database or publisher who provides the alert. The process for each database or publisher is different, but all of them are free and don't take long. See the REGISTRATION tab for information on registering with various databases.
For example, for JSTOR, click on LOG IN on their homepage:
On the next page, you will see an option to REGISTER: