Mendeley a perfect fit with the Global Honors College

At Mendeley, we’re continually impressed by the uses people find for our service, so we occasionally showcase some of these stories that demonstrate why Mendeley is such a powerful tool.

In this post, meet Professor Griffin along with Ashlinn Quinn and a team from Columbia University who are involved with the Global Honors College and learn how Mendeley works for them.

Ashlinn Quinn
Professor Griffin

The Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) focuses on enhancing education with the purposeful use of new media and technology. The Center provides support for a number of Columbia University online platforms, such as its wikis, blogging, and course management systems and also develops custom educational projects including online simulations, case studies, training sites, and more. During the past year, a team at CCNMTL researched and curated a suite of tools to be used in the Global Honors Seminar, an annual, summer-long intensive course hosted by Waseda University in Tokyo in which faculty and students across nine universities spend three months researching, debating, and documenting a specific area of research. The first part of the course, which began in June, is conducted entirely online, and then students meet for a final on-site phase where they continue their work in person.

CCNMTL set out to find a way for over 50 students and faculty to track and share their research. They were specifically seeking a tool that would allow students to seamlessly build a shared bibliography of annotated references on a range of topics covered throughout the seminar, and they found Mendeley’s social bibliography tool to be a great fit.

Throughout the Global Seminar, students are tasked with finding, reading, and annotating references in peer-reviewed literature that pertain to specific matters covered in the course. In the unit on Terrestrial Biodiversity, for instance, students searched the Web of Science for academic studies having to do with terrestrial species assessment, ecosystem services, and threats to biodiversity from climate change. Each student submitted references to the shared collection on Mendeley, using the “Notes” feature to annotate the references, and “Tags” to track who had submitted which references and to sort them by topic and by assignment.

After just six weeks of activity in the Seminar, the students have already collected almost 300 articles having to do with topics covered in the class, with new references being added to the collection every day. As the Seminar progresses, the students will refer to this library for group projects and research papers.

Both faculty and students have found Mendeley to be a great asset to the Seminar. Lead faculty member Kevin Griffin (Columbia University Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences) explained, “[Mendeley] lets us keep track of, and search, and sort the references that we’re all turning up. So collectively, by the time the seminar is over, we’ll have quite a large database to work with…. It’s a very, very powerful tool.” A Global Seminar student also noted, “For me, it was the first time using Mendeley or any research and citation tool. Once I got used to it, I found Mendeley to be a great tool because you don’t have to worry about losing it and it will always be there in your computer, allowing you to share your information and see what others uploaded as well. I will definitely use this for my research even after the Seminar ends!”

Learn more about what CCNMTL is up to at

Also, special thanks to Ashlinn Quinn for collaborating on this piece with us!

Jessica Mezei | Community Liaison| New York