Share recommended readings using Mendeley’s Public Collections

School is back, so we thought it would be a good time to demonstrate how Mendeley can help professors, teachers, and alike to set up a “Recommended reading” list for their incoming students:

1) Create a new collection in Mendeley (left-side pane)
Don’t worry about the name you give the collection. If you want to rename the collection later just double click on it.

2) Select papers from your library (middle pane)

Make a selection of papers that you would like to include in your “Recommended reading” list and drag & drop them into the newly created collection. Note that you can have papers in multiple collections.

Mendeley Desktop

3) Make your newly created collection public (collections are private by default)
Click on your collection (left pane) to see the papers you’ve added to the list. You’ll notice there’s a “Edit Settings” button above the list (top-right of middle pane). Click it to change your Collection access settings from private to public. Feel free to add a short description of your collection’s content. Finally, press “Sync Library” and a link will be generated for your public collection.

4) View your public collection online and more
By clicking on the link that was created for your public collection you will be taken to your public collection web page at Mendeley Web where you’ll find the list of papers you included in your “Recommended reading” collection. So far so good.
You’ll notice on the left-hand side the title you gave your collection and your name after “Created by…”. There you also find the papers you added! (See one of my public collections here)


5) Sharing the goods
You find the tools you need to easily share your public collection on the left side of the collection’s web page. “Embed on other websites” and “Subscribe to RSS”. Let’s focus on the first one, since it’s the easiest one and will allow you to add your list to your class page with a simple copy & paste of provided code.
Click on the “Embed on other websites” option and a text field will show up with code you can use to display your “Recommended reading” collection on your class site.
Notice that there is a “Preview and Customize” button that will allow you to do exactly what they say, preview your collection list or customize the color and size of the frame that will display your list.

6) Copy, paste, stay up-to-date
Once you’ve picked the right color and size for your embedded reading list, you simply copy the provided line of code in the text field and paste it into the HTML of your class page. It’s that simple!
While you’re at it, keep in mind that this is the only change you’ll have to do on your page to keep the list up-to-date. If you want to add a new paper to your reading list, just open Mendeley, import the file and drag & drop it into the public collection you created for your class and sync your library. That’s it.

So there you go, in 6 simple steps you set up your “Recommended reading” list for your class and any updates or changes from one year to the next is easily maintained within Mendeley.

This example can be adapted to a number of other situations. For example for lists of published work on a personal or lab website, a list of recently read papers on a blog, just to name a few.

If you happen to run into any issues setting up your public collection for your class (or for anything else!), please feel free to contact us at

11 thoughts on “Share recommended readings using Mendeley’s Public Collections

  1. Cannot find the “make public” option. Just the syncronise and invite options on my screen. Help please

  2. If an academic puts refeereences into a public list, and their students are Mendeley users, can they subscribe to the reading list somehow?

    I’m not suggesting a fully blown feed reader in the client, but it could be hand for students to:
    – subscribe to a public collection;
    – download and import those citations themselves (assuming credentials are required to download paid-for content), or auto-import them (open/public access content)
    – highlight new additions to the list (cf bold text to highlight unread items in traditional feed reader)

  3. Hi Tony,

    yes – the students can subscribe to the reading list. Here is an example:

    If you click on the “Subscribe in Mendeley” link at the top left, this collection will be added to your Mendeley library, and new additions will be marked as “unread” in the Mendeley interface. You can also subscribe to the collection in any feed reader using the “Subscribe to RSS” link below.

    Please note that this will not allow you to distribute full-text documents/PDFs – just links to full-text documents elsewhere (e.g. Open Access databases/journals, the publisher’s website, etc.).

  4. In Mendeley Desktop, click on a collection. Then click on “Edit settings” in the center pane – this will bring up a menu where you can set a collection to “public”. Don’t forget to sync to apply these settings.

  5. The “Public – Visible to Everyone” radio button is only available on collections in My Library, and is not found in Shared Collections.

    Took me 2 mins to figure this out … makes sense I suppose but it of course turns out that I have a Shared Collection I want to make Public. I think I can find a simple work around 🙂

    Keep up the great work!

  6. Thank you to Will for posting that tip! I just wasted the last 30 minutes trying to find the Public option in my existing Shared collections.

    I highly recommend that Mendeley add this functionality to Shared collections as well.


Comments are closed.