New Release: Literature Search from within Mendeley Deskop

[Editor’s Note–We thought you’d like to know: this 2013 post is a bit dated. Find Mendeley’s updated search features here, and info about Mendeley’s other features in the Mendeley Guides.]

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.

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.

Download for free today

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!

10 thoughts on “New Release: Literature Search from within Mendeley Deskop

  1. Thanks for update. These could be good features, but…..

    * search is, and has always been, too rigid. For example 1) author:”S Pinker” does not return papers where the author is listed as “Steven Pinker” or “SA Pinker” 2) author:”pinker, s” does not give the same result as author:”s pinker”, 3) a search for a author with diacritical characters in their name (e.g. Poincaré) requires entry of the diacritic marks in the search (unlike on pubmed or google search for example).

    * search does not seem to support date ranges

    * why do you restrict literature search to mendeley web? why not include pubmed, google scholar, scopus etc?

    Regarding mendeley suggest,

    * mendeley suggest makes suggestions for papers I already have in my library. What’s the point of this?

    * I feel mendeley suggest is too general. My library contains many papers that were relevant to work i was doing 6 years ago, but not so relevant to work I am doing now. I would like to be able to restrict the portion of my database that feeds mendeley suggest so that it gives me more suggestions relevant to work i am doing at the moment. For example I would like to be able to have mendeley suggest use only papers I have added in the last 18 months, or get suggestions based on papers I have in specified folders in my library.

  2. Thanks for the feedback OSM. We’ll be working to improve our search rigidity, and the catalog quality itself over the next 6 months. We’re looking for as much feedback as possible, and a lot of the stuff you mentioned here has come up in internal discussions already.

    Regarding mendeley suggest, we have some interesting things in the works for 1.10. Stay tuned 😉

  3. I have to agree with OSM. Search is too slow and rigid for me to use. I have trouble finding papers I know the specifics of, let alone more vague options. Would also prefer at least a Google scholar option as well.

    Mendeley suggest has stopped working, but before that was recommending papers on topics I no longer have interest in (but still keep in my library).

    Looking forward to 1.1 though (1.9 dev 3 now).

  4. A couple suggestions:

    It would also be handy to be able to sort in the results. date, pubtype, contains pdf, etc.

    I frequently notice that in the search results that other have not categorized the publication correctly. For example, it is VERY often that someone categorizes a conference proceeding as a journal article. It would be nice to be able to update the database from the search results. Even if I don’t download a citation I would like to be able to fix things while searching – so others get good results.

  5. Note for any Ubuntu users experiencing problems: I had to run “sudo apt-get install mendeleydesktop” in order to update from 1.8.5. Neither checking for updates via Mendeley, apt-get update, nor downloading the program via the Mendeley desktop would work. It replaced 1.8.5 with 1.9.

  6. Looks like the search results are not even restricted to Elsevier’s paywalled articles. Good job.

  7. I added details to the post to show how to use date ranges in search. It’s like this – year:[1983 TO 2013]

    Thanks for Steve for pointing this out.

  8. Thank you for this update, I’ve been waiting for the catalogue search feature for a long time! Keep up the great work, I’m looking forward to further search and recommendation improvements. In particular, readership and reference rankings for papers on Mendeley web would be outstanding.

  9. Similar to Jon Klokov. if I use the internet on campus, I can download the article directly. I hope Mendeley can also automatically download. 🙂
    Anyway. Thank for Mendeley Team.

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