The Library Musings of Jaime Huaman

Librarian Toolkit: Google Alerts

This week we are highlighting Goolge Alerts.  I love Google Alerts because it allows me to stay current on professional development as well as allowing me to monitor my personal brand.  A personal brand is established through online presence on sites such as Facebook, twitter, linked-in, personal webpages, blogs, articles, and comments.  Managing your personal brand is absolutely essential for the working professional.  Whenever you apply for a job, establish partnerships, or network most likely those people will do a basic internet search on your name.

Do you know what is being said about you?  Creating a Google Alert on your name will  insure that anytime your name appears in the internet that you will receive an alert. Alerts come in the form of daily, weekly, or instant emails.  Not everything the Google Alert retrieves will be of value, but it will give you the latest news on your search terms.

Setting up a Google Alert is very simple. Just go to and fill out the form. You can limit results to news, blogs, or videos and you can also set the frequency of how often the alert will be sent to your email address. You can edit or cancel your Google Alerts at any time by logging into your google account.

You may want to considering setting up several Google Alerts.  For example, I have a Google Alert set up for my name, emerging trends in libraries, my employer, and other organisations of interest (for example the GPO).  You can also you Google Alerts to inform you of the latest trends which you can blog about or tweet about. The possibilities for searches are endless!

So what do you do when your Google Alert brings up a less than flattering picture or a comment on a forum that you did hastily?  Well you can contact the website owner to have pictures or content removed.  You can also sign into accounts you still have access to and remove unwanted content or change the privacy settings.

Google Alerts is an excellent tool for people who want to maintain their personal brand and embrace professional development.  As librarians, we are constantly networking and creating partnerships and by using Google Alerts it ensures that when people look for information, they don’t find anything negative.

Click here to see a YouTube video on how to setup a Google Alert.


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2 thoughts on “Librarian Toolkit: Google Alerts

  1. Kim Laird on said:

    What do you do if there are other people with your name out there? Obviously you can’t take content down if they’re the ones responsible or it.

  2. Kim, that’s a great question. A simple Google search of your name, or any-ones, will bring up many people with the same name. This is fairly common and I believe that potential employers who may be searching for your name will understand that they have to sift through all these names to find you. You can’t control what other people who have the same name as you do on the internet, however, you can control your personal brand. By creating a professional website, blog, Facebook/twitter/LinkedIn pages you can ensure that people are finding you and not someone else. Using the same photo across all your sites ensures that anyone searching for you will easily identify yourself. There are also ways to boost your websites rankings with Google so that your webpage is the first to be seen if anyone Googles you. In short, this method ensures that your online presence is the first to be seen and easily identifiable should anyone search for you. Thanks for commenting! Let me know if you need more info.

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