What Is Mendeley?

Mendeley logo

Mendeley (http://www.mendeley.com) bills itself as "a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research." You can use it to collect references and the associated PDFs, when the PDF is available. In addition to the online version, there is a desktop application that you can download. You can sync them, so that you can have access to any PDFs that you have stored on your desktop anywhere you have an Internet connection.

Start by going to www.mendeley.com and setting up an account. It will ask you to set up a Profile. You can add as much - or as little - information as you like. If you want to make use of Mendeley's social aspects, add more.

FAS now has an institutional subscription to Mendeley! This gives you more storage and other enhancements that would otherwise cost you money.

Mendeley also offers social connectivity. You can search what other people have collected; set up or join groups to work together; and more.

There is a more information at http://www.mendeley.com/features/.

There is a brief Fact Sheet at http://www.mendeley.com/public-downloads/Mendeley_Fact_Sheet.pdf.

Using Mendeley

Mendeley can perform several functions:

  • Reference management. You can generate citations and bibliographies in Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, and LaTeX.
  • Read and annotate. Upload PDFs and add "sticky notes" and highlights.
  • Organize. Import PDFs from your computer, or from other reference management software such as EndNote™, Papers or Zotero.
  • Collaborate with colleagues. Share papers, notes, and annotations.
  • Backup, sync and mobile. You can access your papers on the web, or on your smart phone or tablet.

Using Mendeley to capture PDFs is quick and easy. In your desktop Mendeley, simply drag the PDF into Mendeley. There is also an Save to Mendeley button that you can put in your toolbar. When you find an article that you want, click the button and the reference is imported to your Library in Mendeley. You can add highlights and sticky notes to your PDFs as you read them.

Under the My Library tab, you can add tags and notes, place the reference in a Folder, etc. You can also Search within your Library, as well as searching everything that others have tagged.

There are Groups in Mendeley that you can join. These can be very useful, helping you find more articles on topics of interest, and seeing who else is working on those topics. You can also set up Groups of your own.

Although you will need to download the desktop Mendeley to use it in writing papers, by logging in to the web version you can add citations and papers to your Library from anywhere, using any web browser. NOTE: Be sure to always sync your Mendeley Desktop with the web!

The basic Mendeley is free and gives you 1 GB of storage space. However, here at Harvard FAS users have access to the Mendeley Institutional Edition, with extra storage and other enhancements.

Again, there is a Getting Started With Mendeley booklet.