Keeping up to date

  • Access to resources after you leave Brookes

    Once you leave Oxford Brookes, you will no longer have access to Brookes online journals and databases. This webpage provides information on resources you can use once you have left the university and are out in the workplace.

    If you are employed by the NHS or working to support NHS patients, our NHS Resources page provides information about additional resources available to you.

    Why think about access to resources after university?

    • To know what is happening in your area of specialism/interest
    • To be aware of new research or new medical/clinical procedures
    • To help you continue to make evidence-based decisions - using evidence to inform your practice is important whatever stage you're at in your career.
    • As part of your Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
    • A chance to get to know, and discuss ideas with, others working in the same field as you throughout the UK and around the world

    What information can I access?

    There are many ways you can find out about recent developments in health care and update your knowledge. Have a look at some of the following options to get you started.

  • Full text

    You can always come into the Brookes libraries and use any journals we have in print. Other university libraries have similar access for visitors, check with the one near where you work/live.

    Although you won't be able to access ejournals through Brookes, there are ways of getting access to content online.

    • An increasing number of journals are now available through Open Access which means they are free to you as the reader. Publishers have lists of the titles they publish as open access on their web pages, e.g. Wiley Open Access, or there are online lists of open access titles you can search, DOAJ is one example.
    • Search Google to see if the article you would like to read is freely available online. Individual articles are often offered free even if the journal is generally only available to subscribers
    • Some UK public libraries are currently participating in an initiative called Access to Research to make journals available to the public. Lots of key journal titles are included. You need to be on a computer in a participating library to access.
    TOCs (Table of Contents)

    If you don't subscribe to your favourite professional journal, you can still find out what articles are being published

    • Go to the journal's website and look for a link to set up/create an email alert and have a table of the contents emailed to you.
    • Some journals also have RSS feeds so that the table of contents are sent to you as an RSS feed which you can view in your feed reader (see RSS feeds below for details).
    • You can even use a free TOC service like Journal TOCs to select the TOCs of multiple journals that interest you all in one place.

    You can still use a database to search for articles. Although some of the key health and social care databases are subscription only, many of the ones on our databases page that you may have been using throughout your course are freely available online. (See the Databases for Health and Social Care page for more information about each database.)

    Sign up for mailing lists or online groups to discuss issues with others working in your area. Some examples are

    Read blogs written by people in the profession, or write your own.

    • You can search for blogs using a search engine
    • or use a list compiled by someone else e.g. Life in the Fast Lane - emergency medicine

    Always remember - By joining any social networking group or discussion list, you will be communicating with lots of other professionals, some of whom may end up being your new employer and/or colleagues so think before you post a comment.

    If you are looking for a one-off introduction or discussion on a topic delivered by an expert you might consider a webinar or a podcast. If you want to learn at greater depth and for a longer period of time, a distance learning course or MOOC may be for you.


    A Webinar (short for web-based seminar) is an interactive online presentation.

    • To participate you'll need internet access, and a headset with microphone.
    • You also usually need to register in advance.
    • You may need to download specialist software.
    • There are plenty of free webinars, but many are from the USA so if you sign up for one, make sure you check the time of the event, and if necessary convert it to UK GMT.

    A Podcast is a pre-recorded audio and sometimes video programme that is posted on a website and is made available for download. (You could also try YouTube for videos.) You can listen to or watch them via the website, or download them. Some examples are listed below.

    Online/distance learning courses

    You could consider undertaking an online/distance learning course to increase your knowledge.

    • If you want a course from a professional academic institution, then there will be a cost involved. Your employer may well pay as long as they can see the benefits for you and the organisation.
    • You will need to find time to participate, as for some online courses a percentage of the final mark is based upon participation in discussions, as well as written work.
    • Open University run some health and social care courses
    • MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) offer everyone (who has internet access) the opportunity to study.
    • MOOCs are free to study but institutions may charge for assessment.
    • Courses start at various times throughout the year and run for different lengths of time.
    • Search MOOC List to find current courses.
  • Getting the information to come to you

    Looking at lots of sources on individual websites can be very time consuming. There are ways of bringing things all together in one place.

  • RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Instead of regularly visiting sites to look at the latest news or updates, you can have them sent to you. Using RSS allows you to keep up to date in a less time-consuming way.

    • RSS feeds are collected using a Feed Reader. You can either use software built into your web browser, e.g. Internet Explorer or Firefox, or you can use a website which collates all your feeds in one place, such as Feedly
    • Look for the RSS logo to see if a site you visit regularly has an RSS feed.  RSS feed icon 28x28

    It's possible to create your own page which brings together all the things you look at

    • Email
    • RSS feeds
    • A calendar
    • Links to twitter, facebook, youtube
    • Bookmarks
    • Gismos/gadgets for games, the weather and maps

    Most are very easy and intuitive to set up. Try using Symbaloo or Netvibes

    • Many of the online resources listed on this page are either mobile friendly or have a mobile app version you can download.
    • There are numerous health and medical apps available many of them free, some of them useful. Search your app store to see what's available.