This post is the third post in a series of posts designed to introduce you to the new information organization, discovery, and retrieval concepts in Mendeley. In part 1 we discussed tags and filters and in part 2 we discussed the idea of search as an interface to your research. Today I’d like to talk a little about another feature that has become common to information organization and discovery tools – the activity feed.
The benefits of online research are obvious: no shuffling down to the library to get lost among the dusty stacks, no piles of grainy photocopies all over your desk, no pants required. Have you ever wondered, though, if you’re missing out on some of the serendipity of discovery by sticking to narrowly focused keyword searches? It doesn’t have to be that way. Let me introduce you to activity feeds.
Activity feeds and groups are a great way to add some of that serendipity and social interaction back to online research. If there’s a scientist you admire or colleagues that you would like to keep in touch with, add them as contacts and you can see what they’re reading and thinking in your activity feed.
For readers, it’s a great way to find new and interesting papers that may have been published in a journal that’s not on your regular reading list. For authors, you can see who’s reading your works, and even better, what they’re saying about it.
Here’s how the activity feed has helped me. When I was researching how to cite datasets, as opposed to published papers, I joined a colleague’s group on data sharing. Later I was trying to figure out what the rules are for reuse of datasets published under various licenses, and as I was looking, Heather posted a paper on exactly that to her group!
If you’re eager to get started, here’s how to do it:
- Invite your friends and colleagues to Mendeley if they’re not already here.
- Add them as contacts on Mendeley Web by clicking the button on their profile.
- Find interesting groups they’ve created and contacts they’ve made and add them.
- Visit your activity feed by clicking the updates tab on your Mendeley Web profile, or by checking the overview pane for a group in Mendeley Desktop.
- Enjoy the serendipity and let us know what you think in the comments.