We had another first in the history of Mendeley this year: a Mendeley book! Mendeley Advisor Jacques Raubenheimer wrote a user guide to Mendeley, which he said grew organically out of a desire at his university for training guides to various softwares. We profiled Jacques as our February Advisor of the Month, and asked him about the book.
I got started using Mendeley because during my PhD I used another program that was discontinued, so I was in the market for new reference management. At the same time, I had this computer background where I was teaching people to use Mendeley, Excel, Powerpoint, and so on. So people asked me to recommend referencing software and I recommended Mendeley. And then I had to do training and needed training material, then I started writing and thought, well, there is a need for this, so write a bit more and make a book!
I have to ask, Is Mendeley so complicated you need an entire book?
Firstly, I think one of the things I notice is people try to use a software program for what they want to get done and they don’t realize what they could do with it. So yes, I don’t think the average Mendeley user needs the book but I think most Mendeley users could benefit from it because it could show them things Mendeley can do that they might not have been aware of.
How did you end up working with members of the Mendeley team?
When I started doing the training, I saw the Mendeley Advisor Program and I realized it would help me with doing the training. So I registered as an Advisor and started using the Advisor Forum, and a lot of the development team is actually active there. Here and there I had questions and I took the liberty of asking them questions. I haven’t had privy information, so there might be some inaccuracies in the book, that’s my own responsibility, but they’ve been helpful if I ask or send a question, which is great.
What would you change about Mendeley?
Well, read the book, I have a list of recommendations (laughs). For me, the big thing I would for Mendeley to do, and I think they’re working on this, is to clean up the research library, there are a lot of duplicates. And then of course, though it doesn’t apply to me, a lot of Mendeley users are asking for the Android version, and I know they are working on that.
Where can I get the book?
Amazon is the main seller. In South Africa it is in other stores, but it is on all local Amazon bookstores, such as Amazon.fr, Amazon.au
So what’s next?
The big challenge is to try and get the book on the Kindle which is not that simple. If it was just a text book I could’ve done it already but there are a lot of graphics and they don’t render so well on the Kindle. And then the Mendeley team is keeping me busy, because, since the book has come out, a new version of Mendeley has been released, so my hope is to incorporate those changes and maybe have a second edition next year.