Often the most impressive thing about a new software release is infrastructural and not immediately apparent, but not this time! In our latest release, we have added one of our all time most requested features – literature search from Mendeley Desktop. Also included in this release are a few improvements to how Mendeley Groups work, making it easier to collaborate with others using Mendeley.
We’ve always had the vision of Mendeley Desktop and Mendeley Web working as parts of a whole, but there have been some gaps, perhaps most notably how research discovery works. For example, to search your existing collection of research, you’d use Mendeley Desktop, but to search for new research in Mendeley’s catalog, you would go to the website. With the latest release, you’ll see a new section in the folder tree in the left pane. Where there was previously a division between My Library and Groups, there’s now a new section for discovery tools, hosting a literature search tool and Mendeley Suggest, our research recommendation service which learns about your academic interests and recommends new research specifically for you. There will be more discovery tools coming to this space, but for now let’s focus on how to use catalog search from Desktop.
How to use Literature Search
Selecting the literature search tool brings up an empty search pane. Typing a query in this box works similar to how it works on Mendeley Web. Selecting the magnifying glass shows you document options previously available on the advanced search page on Mendeley Web. You can limit your search to authors, article titles, publication names, year of publication, and to only open access publications. Searching for people or groups will come to Desktop in a future release.
When you’ve got results, you can add them to your library by clicking the “Save” button that appears above the details pane on the right, or by simply dragging and dropping the article from the results pane to any folder in My Library or group that you’re a member of. You’ll be able to see whether or not the full article is available when you select the document. For now, full text is available for articles from a fully Open Access journal and for those which the author has retained the rights and chosen to make available. In the future, you’ll be able to see journals to which your institution subscribes and content from hybrid open access journals (subscription journals with an open access option).
Advanced Search Operators
Understanding a bit about how the search works can help you get better results. The main concept to learn is that search is controlled by operators, which are terms that make your search more specific. For example, searching for “bird” would return results about birds, but also from researchers named “Bird”. To find only research from an author “Bird”, you’d use the author operator like this [author:Barlogie]. Likewise, to limit your search to only results from a specific journal, you’d use the published_in: operator. To limit your results to a date range, use the year operator like so – year:[1983 TO 2013]. To show only research from open access journals, use oa_journal:yes as part of your search.
You can chain operators together using AND and OR to do more complex searches. For example, searching for author:”Jonathan A Eisen” AND published_in:Science would show you work that Dr. Eisen has published in Science and made available via his Mendeley profile.
There’s just a few more things to know to be a successful searcher. Phrases are indicated with quotation marks around the phrase, such as [published_in:"PLOS ONE"] or “mesenchymal stem cell” and without the quotes you’ll get results containing ANY of your terms, not ALL of your terms. More information on how search works is available.
This release of Mendeley marks another big step forward for the product and lays the groundwork for much more to come, so take it for a spin and let us know what you think!