Using Mendeley


Although David indicates that we won’t be working with Mendeley to its fullest (2014/08/24), I can see how I need it to explore more of the NGL literature.  So, I spent a number of hours researching Mendeley and thought I would share my discoveries in case anyone else needs a heads-up.

A quick Overview

The five minute Mendeley videos are handy to get a quick start.

In short, Mendeley is a collaboration platform and discover engine for researchers with two main components:

  • The desktop application helps users sort, organise and read research (can drag and drop, read and annotate papers directly within the client and can generate citations using word and open office plugins).
  • The web application helps users collaborate with others online and access content.

Dashboard is a newsfeed on your colleagues’ activity.
My library allows you to access your papers from anywhere in the world.
Public – a database of research (tab = papers) you can search or choose from most popular.  You can add content directly to your library by clicking “save PDF to library”.
The Groups tab lists all of your groups so you can access all of your shared libraries from the cloud.
People – lists all of your contacts or you can search for new ones.

Best YouTube video

Of all the videos I watched on using Mendeley, this is the one I liked best from Boston University:

It’s long at 34.01, but also comprehensive, and answered most of the questions I had;

  • 01.51 Two essential plugins (install web importer; install Microsoft word plugin)
    One allows you to easily add literature to Mendeley from your browser
    The second is the essential MS Word plugin for adding citations to documents.
  • 02.53 How to edit settings so that Mendeley synchronizes attached files
  • 20.50 Creating Folders – think twice! Mendeley can do it , however the search function is sogood that you are encouraged to “Search don’t file”.
  • 29.39 Getting references from Mendeley into MS Word
    Mendeley Cite-O-Matic / Go to Mendeley /Cite / Refresh (if you have changed anything)

Journal Article

Using Mendeley itself (“Well done!” I hear you say), I found a journal article by MacMillan that has a nice coverage of what Mendeley is and using it in an educational setting.  MacMillian makes a number of interesting comments.  I’ve added it to the group (more cheering) for anyone who is interested.

As more and more science research becomes collaborative, and as such collaborations are no longer bound by geographic proximity, tools like Mendeley have become essential to scholarly work, and therefore must become part of post-secondary education.

The ability to track what other researchers have found on a subject introduces a powerful filter to the mass of information available to scholars.

Mendeley’s social networking aspects also suits current and emerging work practices, facilitating collaboration among researchers who know each other through the private groups function and more open sharing of information through public groups and resource lists.

MacMillan, D. (2012). Mendeley: teaching scholarly communication and collaboration through social networking. Library Management, 33(8), 561–569. doi:10.1108/01435121211279902


Other Mendeley Resources

To be comprehensive, here are other sources I viewed:

The Learning Portal

The Mendeley Learning Portal breaks up what you need to know into 7 areas:

  1. Organise
  2. Manage
  3. Read
  4. and Write
  5. Collaborate
  6. Discover
  7. Participate

This I particularly liked as I could target areas systematically.  The social statistics are a feature of “discover” and are mentioned as helpful in both the journal article and the Boston University video.


Something I really enjoyed with the Mendeley site was “Share Mendeley with your Community”.  This section showed you how to teach Mendeley to your friends and colleagues.  Very much an NGL principle.

Hope this helps!


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