Technology How To

Using Mendeley for Reference Management

Monday, November 28, 2011 12:31 pm

What is Mendeley?

Mendeley is a free web- based reference organizer that gathers, manages, and can create a bibliography of sources. Mendeley allows you to add documents directly from your computer hard-drive, as well as from books, journals, internet sites, etc. It can also be used to attach images and PDFs to citations added. Citations can be organized into folders specified for various projects, and can be compiled into large bibliographies using either MS word or Open Office. The benefits of using Mendeley include being able to search the Mendeley website directly for papers that pertain to your field of research, and being able to findcolleagues to add to your dashboard so you can keep up with their research and profile changes. Mendeley’s dual desktop and online system can also be used with any web browser of your choice.

Getting Mendeley

1. Go to www.mendeley.com

2. Click on the green “Sign up for free” button in the top right of the screen.

3. Either create a new account or connect with facebook

**Note: If you choose to connect with facebook, you will have to give facebook permission to access your basic information, send you email, post to facebook as you, and access personal information such as your about me, interests, and current city.

4. When creating an account you will be prompted to pick a research field and current status (degree attained). This will help Mendeley choose articles you might find interesting, and search forcolleaguesyou might know.

5. After creating an account, you will be prompted to download Mendeley desktop for Windows. However, by clicking on the icons to the right of this option, you will also be able to download Mendeley for Mac, Linux, or Iphone/Ipad. Follow the prompts for installation.

Starting Mendeley

After installing Mendeley on your desktop, a browser should appear. Clicking on it will open your Mendeley Desktop library.

Getting Acquainted with Mendeley Desktop

You can use both Mendeley Desktop or Mendeley Online (they will sync automatically) when adding sources, however, Medeley desktop is useful as it can be used to look at sources even when you are not connected to the internet!

Going from left to right, on Mendeley Desktop you can add documents from your computer, delete them from Mendeley, or organize them by creating folders and clicking and dragging sources into them. You can also email documents, and sync your library with the one on Mendeley Online, so that you can access your sources from any computer.

The main panel in the middle will display all of your sources and the one to the right will show you the details Mendeley knows about each source. You can add details to the source by clicking in the appropriate label and typing your own information.

The left panel allows you to sort your documents by favorites, your publications, recently added, etc., and also allows you to create folders to organize your data and groups to share your data with.

**Note: Making a group will be discussed in further detail later.

Adding Sources Via Mendeley

1. You will first need to download Mendeley’s Web importer. You will be prompted to do so on the right panel when you are on the dashboard part of your Mendely Online profile.

3. After clicking there, simply click and drag the red “Import to Mendeley” button to your task bar, or right click and click “add this link to your bookmarks”.

Adding a Journal Article

Mendeley supports a number of database search engines including Ebsco host, Amazon, and JSTOR. For a complete list of supported search engines, click here.

Search for an article using any of these databases and when you find one that you would like to use, click on the “Import to Mendeley” button in your bookmarked pages toolbar. A window will appear asking if you want to save this source to Mendeley. Click save, and the source will automatically be uploaded into your library. Mendeley will use screen scraping technology to pull relevant information from the source such as title, author and publication date, as well as save a copy of the PDF, and a screen shot if this is available.

**This isn’t an exact science. Be sure to check the information Mendeley pulls for accuracy. If Mendeley fails to find a certain detail, (e.g. if the author’s name isn’t clearly spelled out), simply click on the space next to the entry, and fill in the information as you find it.

Adding Sources Directly from Mendeley

Because you choose a research interest when registering for Mendeley, documents will be hand selected for you in your category of interest! This is another great way to find sources. In order to access them, sign on to your Mendeley account online and click on the Papers tab. From here you can use the discipline and sub- discipline you want to search in, and relevant papers in the topic will be pulled up, both from journals and books. In order to add a source to your library click on the green Save PDF to Library button. Again be sure to check the information Mendeley extracts from the article, but it should be mostly correct since the article came from Mendeley itself.

Citing Using Mendeley

In order to cite as you write using Mendeley, it is necessary to install either the MS Word or Open Office plug-ins. To install your plug-in of choice, go into Mendeley Desktop and click on the tools tab.

On the drop down menu select “install MS Word (or open office) plugin”.

After this is installed open up your word processor and begin typing your paper as usual.

When you are ready to cite, the Mendeley tool bar can be found under the References tab in your word processor.

In order to add a reference, click on the Insert Citation button. Then type in the first few letters of the authors name, title or year of publication of the article you wish to cite, and select from the list Mendeley pulls from your library.

Alternatively, you can click the Go to Mendeley button at the bottom of the box, and search for the source in your library. When you find it, click the Send Citation to Word Processor button, located on the Mendeley Desktop tool bar, to achieve the same effect.

Once you have added the citation, you can choose among citation styles to achieve the right format.

Inserting a Bibliography

At the end of your paper you will probably want to list all of your sources in a type of bibliography. In order to do this, simply click on the Insert Bibliography button in the Mendeley tool bar. Mendeley will automatically insert all of the citations you have used while writing into a clean bibliography, and all in the correct format you specified earlier!

Other Features of Mendeley

Along with finding and citing articles, Mendeley can also be used as a document reader. It is superior to other PDF readers in the fact that you can highlight text directly on the PDF and add notes, which means that you will never have to print out another PDF again!

How to Use

If a PDF of your article is available at the time you upload it to Mendeley, it will automatically be saved. When you look at the main list of articles in your library the ones that have PDFs will have this symbol to the left of them:. Click on this symbol in order to open the Mendeley reader.

**Note: If an article has this symbol to the left:, it means that there is a link to the article online. Click on this to be brought to where you originally found the article. In order to read it on Mendeley reader, however, you will have to download a copy of the PDF, if one is available, and upload it to Mendeley.

When you open the document in Mendeley reader you will be brought to a screen that looks like this:

From this screen you are able to scroll through and read, highlight, and also add notes to the document.

To Highlight: Click on the Highlight Text button on the top of the tool bar. You have two options listed under the drop down arrow: Highlight text or Highlight rectangle. From here you can just click and drag over the text to highlight important points (as shown in the picture above)

To Insert a Note: To annotate while you read, click the Add Note button and click on any part of the text. A text box will open up, in which you can type thoughts about the text, and when you click out of it, the note will memorize to a small speech bubble (as shown in the picture above). In order to read or edit the note, just click on the speech bubble.

**Note: In order to stop reading the document click on the My Library tab to the left of the PDF tab you have opened.

Mendeley Groups

The final helpful part about Mendeley is sharing of sources. If you have a group project or want to share articles with colleagues, this can be a very useful way to share documents without the hassle of emailing links back and forth.

Creating a Group

In order to create a group, click on the Create a Group button on the left panel of your Mendeley Desktop screen. From here you can enter a group name and description, and have the option to either make it a public group, which either anyone can join, or anyone can request to join, or a private group, which that only invited members can join. After you click Create group, you will be pulled to this screen:

This is your group page. From here you can edit the settings, look at documents in the group, and see who is a member. In order to invite new members, click on the Members tab and click on either “Find contacts on Mendeley”, in which you search for contacts already using Mendeley, or “Add collaborators via email”, in which you can either import contacts from your gmail, aol, hotmail, yahoo or linkedin accounts, or you can individually type in contacts emails. By pressing the “send invitations” button, Mendeley will send everyone an email that looks like this

Once they join you can begin sharing documents with them. In order to share a document, simply find it in your Mendeley library, and manually click and drag it into your group’s folder, and voila! The doument will be available for everyone in the group.


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