Meet our May Advisor of the Month!

Congratulations and thank you to Beatriz Benitez!

Beatriz BenitezBeatriz is part of our growing community of librarians who join the Advisor Community to become more involved with Mendeley and other tools used in the researcher workflow.

Beatriz earned her degree in Library and Information Science from Universitat de Barcelona in 2004 and started working in Academic Libraries in 2005, at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

“There, I really got straight to the research world. I was a research Librarian and I had to gave support mainly to Professors, Researchers and PhD,” Beatriz said. Besides learning Mendeley, Beatriz also learned how to use Refworks, EndNote, and Zotero to help understand how researchers were using reference managers. Her experiences with Refworks’ Advisor Board, representing a consortium of Catalan libraries, piqued her interest in the Mendeley Advisor Program, which was underscored with the CBUC Consortia ended their Refworks subscription to join Mendeley.

What were you using prior to Mendeley?

On 2014 all the Academic Libraries in Catalonia joined Mendeley and left the Refworks subscription. We helped with the transition easily.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?

I wanted to join the Mendeley Advisor Program because I like to be an active member of the things I am involved in and also I think that was the way to know deeply this tool.

How have you been spreading the word about Mendeley?

Thanks to Mendeley Advisor Group we arranged this month two training sessions for students where we served pizza and drinks sponsored by Mendeley, these are the ‘Pizza, drinks and Mendeley’ sessions. They also send us a poster template and a lot of goodies such as notebooks, pens, and some really nice highlighters that everybody loved. Both sessions were really successful and we are so happy to have joined this community.

What book are you reading at the moment?

I love reading and above all, Murakami and Paul Auster novels.

Any fun fact people might be surprised to learn about you?

I also love cooking and I’m learning how to use the Thermomix device I got for Christmas.

What is the best part about being a research librarian?

From 2010 I work in Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya and I love my current job because I can be closer to the user. The Library where I work is in the Campus of Baix Llobregat and we’ve got here two schools: Agriculture and Telecommunications and Aeronautics. So these are the fields where I give support on.

 

Join us for our first Talk@Mendeley

The Formula Talks at Mendeley

Mendeley is hosting a series of talks designed to bring interesting topics to light and start some productive discussions in our community. The first one we bring you this Friday is about algorithms and the way that these days they impact every area of our lives.

We know something of using algorithms to solve problems around organizing papers and research workflow, as well as providing recommendations for our users. This talk, however, goes even further in asking whether every area of life, from artistic endeavor through to love, can be translated into a number, and whether we can reduce our relationships, our creativity, and what we consider to be our very soul, to a mathematical formula.

Our Speaker, Luke Dormehl, is a technology author who regularly contributes to Wired, Cult of Mac, FastCo and The Guardian/Observer.  His latest book, The Formula, “takes you inside the world of numbers, asking how we came to believe in the all-conquering power of algorithms; introducing the mathematicians, artificial intelligence experts and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who are shaping this brave new world, and ultimately asking how we survive in an era where numbers can sometimes seem to create as many problems as they solve.”

The talk and Q&A will be streamed live and you can send in your comments and questions via Twitter using the #Mendeley hashtag. If your question gets read out you can expect to receive some nice Mendeley goodies as thank you! We will also be live tweeting from the @MendeleyTalks account throughout and posting an edited version of the event on our YouTube channel.

Unfortunately we’ve got limited space for our live talk, so it is impossible to invite everyone. However, if you are going to be in London tomorrow, do email alice.bonasio@mendeley.com or reach out on Twitter to @alicebonasio or @MendeleyTalks and we’ll see what we can do.

Hope you can join us, and please let us know what you think in the comments below and on Twitter. And if you have any suggestions for future speakers, do send them along as well!

When? Friday 30th May at 5:30

Watch the Live Stream of the talk here

 

 

Meet the QA/Support Team!

It’s a scenario that can give any researcher the cold sweats: an eleventh-hour crash of a program just minutes before a paper deadline. Luckily, thanks to the efforts of our Quality Assurance and Support team, Mendeley strives hard to ensure this never happens. While our developers put their all into designing a great product, Quality Assurance are there to ensure we’ve written tests to cover all the edge cases, and that we don’t let those pesky bugs into the wild.

And what if things do go wrong? Support is there to iron out any wrinkles, whether it be from a new user still trying to learn the ropes, an expert submitting a bug report, or fielding requests from users to hand off to our developers.

Callum Anderson

Callum Anderson

Team Lead

Callum’s worked in technology for a few years now, both as a Business Analyst, and in QA. He grew up in St. Albans (just outside London) and holds degrees in English and Computer Science.

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

I’m lucky enough to be involved in a lot of different projects, so it’s unlikely I’ll be doing the same thing from one day to the next. I could be in meetings planning features and implementation for a new product or service, or at my desk all day writing ruby— I love that variety.

What’s your favourite part of working at Mendeley?

We get to work with the latest technologies and some of the best brains in the industry.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I am into running and triathlons – I’m actually competing in the UK Ironman triathlon later this year, so training for that is taking up quite a bit of my spare time. I also try spend a few hours each week reading about or playing with new technologies.

Michał Buś

Senior QA Engineer

Michal BusMichał was born and grew up in Kraków, Poland. where he studied sociology at Jagiellonian University, before moving to Edinburgh, and then London.
Following a string of varied roles, he found his interest for testing software after joining Last.fm, a music startup, in a diverse ‘resident Polish person’ role that involved anything from translation and copy-editing to liaising with music labels and festival organisers. He joined Mendeley nearly 5 years ago and has enjoyed helping it grow into what it is today, being kept busy/interested ever since. Follow him @michalboo

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

Test all the things, as early as possible. I’m particularly interested in doing as much as I can to help Mendeley build software that people will actually use. Also: investigating, finding, documenting and helping to fix bugs (Reported bug count at the time of writing: 1,092)

What is your favourite part about working for Mendeley?

Some of the people are nice enough, I guess. (Editor’s note: Michał’s deadpan humor…we hope!) I also enjoy being able to get involved in a wide variety of projects, testing different products in different ways. Consistently learning new things and being kept on my toes.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Going to a lot of gigs – before joining Mendeley, I worked on promoting live music in Kraków and Warsaw with my brother and some friends, and now use living in London as an opportunity to help them out and ‘talent scout’ by seeing and hearing as many new acts as my ears can take. My other interests include: playing basketball, flâneuring around London, reading books, lahmacun and setting up ephemeral ‘projects’ on tumblr.

Josh Cole

Technical Support Representative

Josh Cole

Josh studied mathematics at the University of York, but decided that 3 years of maths was more than enough, so he moved into Technical Support. He said he came to Mendeley for a new challenge and to make my mark in an up and coming startup.

 

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

I deal with customer questions and issues with the various Mendeley products (Mendeley Desktop, Web, the app, etc), as well as escalating recurring problems/features with our various Development Teams.

What is your favourite part about working for Mendeley?

I love working in a constantly evolving work environment that supports learning and development.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I enjoy playing video games on my Xbox 360, as well as Starcraft and watching good films or really, really bad films. I’ve also recently discovered badminton, which I’m awful at, but I love anyway.

 

 

Veronica Mejias Meneses

QA Engineer

VERONICAVeronica studied Computer Science at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile. She moved to the UK 5 years ago and landed in Mendeley, where her career took a turn in the right direction.

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

I test the software. Over and over. My main job is to write automated tests to make sure new features don’t break old ones. I also been working on our testing infrastructure lately, to help us moving onto a more reliable, faster platform.

What is your favourite part about working for Mendeley?

At Mendeley there is constant challenge, constant learning. I work with a very nice and talented team, and the rest of my colleagues are really nice to work with too.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

In my spare time I enjoy talking to my family, baking, crochet, reading, travelling, cycling, swimming, watching Qi, among many other things.

 

Tiago Lourenço Nobre

QA Automation Engineer

TiagoTiago went to Uni near his hometown in Leiria, Portugal at Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gestão de Leiria, where he studied computer engineering. He worked at PT Inovação a telecommunication group in Aveiro as a automation tester in a continuous integration environment before he came to Mendeley.

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

At the moment, I am working on automation tests and building, along with my team, a continuous integration & delivery. Also, importantly, I am learning new things everyday.

What is your favourite part about working for Mendeley?

Every day is a learning day and I have the opportunity to work with new technologies.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Cycling, not riding the tube, cooking, play tennis

 

Charlotte Organ

Customer support representative

Charlotte OrganCharlotte’s another member of the south London massive together with Paul and Mudi. She went to university in Durham (the English one, not the one in NC) where she studied Modern Foreign Languages (mostly French and Arabic). A former resident of Damascus and Cairo, she trailed her spouse down to London in search of work. Mendeley was her first interview four days after she moved, and she started four days after that.

 

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

I help people who have problems with Mendeley, have found issues or bugs that need fixing, or are finding it all a bit too much. Together with Josh, we are the last line of defence against angry users everywhere (it doesn’t always work, sadly).

What is your favourite part about working for Mendeley?

Helping people who are working on loads of different projects all over the world, from surgeons to people studying fish to medieval historians.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Cooking, eating, reading anything that comes near me, finding and observing strange local wildlife (terrapins in the Regent’s canal is the most recent)

 

Ben A’Lee

System Administrator

bmaBen did a degree in computing and software development at the University of Plymouth. Then when he finished, he wanted to move to London (“Plymouth’s a nice place but not exactly conveniently located,” he said.) Ben applied for a position as a PHP developer but within a couple of months he was increasingly spending his time on sysadmin projects. Follow him @bma

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

I’m working on things that cross over between QA and operations, primarily the monitoring infrastructure but also things related to infrastructure automation, like automatic rollbacks.

What is your favourite part about working for Mendeley?

I like the flexibility to work on different things: first PHP, then system administration, and now increasingly Ruby development.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Reading, walking, cooking, plotting the downfall of the capitalist system.

Collaboration is Key to Making the Most of Big Data

UCL TECY 1

On May 13th Mendeley Co-founder Jan Reichelt took part in a really exciting event hosted by the Big Data Institute, which was born out of a partnership between Reed Elsevier and UCL last year. For a whole day, major players from across business, education and academia got together to discuss what the big idea is with big data and education.

Olivier Dumon, MD of Academic and Government Markets at Elsevier, kicked things off  by talking about their transition from print publishing to digital analytics, and how the acquisition of Mendeley and the partnership with UCL tie into Reed Elsevier’s future strategy for innovation.

UCL TECY 2

“Eventually data will surpass crude oil in importance,” said Claude Kirchner from Inria (a public research body dedicated to digital science and technology), talking about the rising popularity of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and the widespread benefits that can be achieved by gathering insights from big data into the process of learning itself.

UCL TECY 3

It was clear that big data was high on the government’s agenda too, on a national as well as an European level. Malcolm Scott, Deputy Director, Data Strategy and Creative Industries, represented the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (which recently announced £73 million of new funding to help unlock the potential of big data), and Androulla Vassillou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth sent a video message saying it was important that Europe was at the forefront of developments around big data.

UCL TECY 4

The Vice Provost of UCL, David Price stressed the importance of big data as a research and collaboration tool, but he certainly wasn’t the only one to pick up on that theme, as collaboration and communication echoed everywhere as the key words of the day:

The problem, says Xavier Prats Monne, Deputy DG for Education at European Commission, is that educators, businesses and ministries do not communicate with one another naturally. “It is the duty of EC to facilitate communication.” What is needed, according to Elizabeth Crossick, Head of Government Affairs at Reed Elsevier, is a collaborative rather than combative approach. “This is an area of constant change – progress will not be made unless we collaborate.” John Higgins, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE, heartily agreed:  “There needs to be collaboration across borders, bringing all parties to the conversation,” he said.

Gabriel Hughes (who’s Xoogler and honorary Mendeleyan as well as VP Analytics as Elsevier) then delivered an inspiring presentation about the skills we need to harness in order to take advantage of big data properly and leverage it to make researchers more productive: “There needs to be interaction between skill sets – between data scientists with knowledge of processing and analysis. The ability to collaborate and communicate with others to solve problems is essential.”

UCL TECY 5

 “Remember that big data is community based,” said Daniel Hulme from Satalia, a company that works on algorithmic solutions. “we must build groups to solve problems and use platforms to gather data and use that to innovate.” Jan Muehlfeit, Chairman Europe at Microsoft, agreed that with education becoming global and students collaborating with others across borders, teamwork is absolutely vital. “There needs to be continual feedback from the users of Big Data to improve its potential.”

 

Jan Reichelt said that encouraging collaboration and productivity was key to Mendeley’s success, and that the platform thrived by socializing big data to give it context and create a better user experience. “Companies should use big data to offer a personalized service that is above the norm, to give users what they want. We drive a social discovery engine, and if you aggregate this activity in the cloud, you can derive tremendous insights, adding a new layer to how we look at science.” He talked about the possibilities, some of which Mendeley already offers, to track how people are interacting with your research, and measuring impact in real time rather than waiting two years for citations to trickle through. On a wider question, he reflected on the positive feedback that Mendeley gets from the community about how it makes research more fun (or at least less painful!) and he asks “Why can’t we make research, which was really tedious and boring, why can’t we make it fun? Why can’t we make school, education fun?” Why not indeed.

What do you think? Does big data affect your work and research? Will it mean something different in the future? Join the big conversation!

UCL TECY 6

Infographics by Scriberia

 

Mendeley API – Blackout Testing

Today we performed something known as a “Blackout test” on the Mendeley Open API. As those of you who develop apps against this API know, we are planning to phase out OAuth1 authentication in favour of OAuth2 permanently from 2014-05-18.

We are doing this for a number of reasons:

1. Simplified authentication: OAuth2 doesn’t require clients to have a deep understanding of cryptography, which makes it much easier to use. You just need to worry about getting the right tokens and do your requests over HTTPS.
2. OAuth2 provides more flows so not only browser applications can use the API. OAuth2 provides a better user experience for installed applications like desktop or mobile applications.
3. You can specify more granular permissions in your application, which will make it more trustworthy.
4. Easier transition to updates on the Mendeley API.

If you are a developer who has built their app on OAuth1, you should already have migrated to OAuth2. If you have not done so yet, we have some guides to help you do this here.

What is a blackout test, and why is it a useful thing?

A blackout test can be defined as a planned, timeboxed event, when we will turn off a certain API to help developers better understand the implications of the eventual retirement of that API. In our case, we used a 1 hour period where the OAuth1 authentication endpoint was configured to respond to all requests with “HTTP-410 GONE”. This is the same response we  will return once the API is finally retired.

Hopefully this blackout test will help developers get a better idea of how the retirement of OAuth1 is going to affect their applications. In the perfect world, it would have zero effect. Furthermore, noticing a large spike in request failures blackout test can also act as a call to action for some developers who might have missed other announcements. We will also be analyzing our logs carefully to see how close we are to migrating all apps to OAuth2. This information will help us make a better decision on the full retirement of OAuth1.

The future of the Mendeley API

Moving forward, we have some pretty ambitious plans for the Mendeley API, and migrating clients to OAuth2 is an enabler for a lot of that work. Once all our clients are authenticating using the same protocol, we can start rolling out some great new API endpoints, and hopefully empower the creation of some brilliant apps on top of the Mendeley platform.
We’ve listened to your feedback and we want to provide the best platform we can. That’s why we’ll be releasing improvements in on the current API, specifically the Documents API, where syncing your documents has been simplified greatly (no more requesting the entire library every time), as well as new API endpoints to get your annotations or an improved search of the catalog.

Teaching teachers to use Mendeley to teach

Mendeley recently partnered with The Midwest Scholars Conference, held in March at Indiana Wesleyan University. The goal of the conference is to provide a collaborative environment where professors and teachers can share their Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) research and classroom experiences.

Advisor Chris Devers used his teaching skills to demonstrate Mendeley as a tool for fellow professors and teachers:

Chris Devers
Chris Devers

Recently, Mendeley sponsored the Midwest Scholars Conference. At the conference, I provided a seminar that demonstrated some of Mendeley’s advanced features. During the seminar, participants described how they used Mendeley in their research process and asked how I use Mendeley in my research. They were thrilled to learn that I use it in all my projects and that I provide frequent seminars on Mendeley that are streamed live and recorded for later viewing.

All the participants at the seminar were actively using Mendeley but wanted to learn more about Mendeley’s advanced features. For example, some participants wanted to learn more about groups and how to collaborate with colleagues, and were pleased to learn that Mendeley could rename files by author, date, etc.

In addition to showing the attendees how the group feature worked and facilitated collaboration, I also demonstrated how I use the group feature in my own research and collaborate with others. Specifically, when I am working on a project with colleagues or students, everyone involved uses Mendeley to share, annotate, and organize relevant literature. All of our notes, highlights, and comments are shared across the group, as well as when we add articles. It also provides a place for us to discuss the literature — all of our research is in one location and not spread-out over multiple documents, email, etc.

For example, one of our projects explores note-taking and learning, and a student who works with me, Christine Lee (Ph.D. student at UCLA), uploaded an article from Psychological Science comparing pen note-taking versus computer note-taking. If we had used email to share the article, we both would have had to enter the information separately, which would not be as efficient as using Mendeley.

Mendeley is not simply a reference manager, but rather it helps us facilitate and manage our research projects, and provides us with new recommendations as we build the literature base for the project.

 

 

The Big Idea Behind Big Data

Data

Next Tuesday the 13th May, Mendeley and Elsevier will be joining a day of lively debating around Big Data and education. Some of the key questions to be tackled include how we can use big data to transform the way we deliver education and enhance learning, what are the possibilities and limitations around big data, and how can those involved in education make the most of this digital revolution.

The title of the conference asks, “What’s The Big Idea” behind big data, and Mendeley Co-founder Jan Reichelt will join Elsevier’s Olivier Dumon (MD Research Markets) and Gabriel Hughes, VP of Web Analytics to try and come up with some answers (or maybe even more interesting questions!). The keynotes and panels will bring together perspectives from industry, government, institutions, educators and students to determine how we can foster more successful initiatives to benefit the entire academic community.

This is one of a series of policy events organised by the European Commission and DIGITALEUROPE under the umbrella of TECY (Technology, Education, Culture, Youth), and was brought about by the recent partnership between UCL and Elsevier which created the UCL Big Data Institute. This collaboration, which was launched in December 2013, is looking to explore innovative ways to serve researcher’s needs through new technologies and applied analytics.

Interestingly, another key theme of the conference is also where academia can partner up with industry to develop, mine and analyse meaningful data sources to deliver radically improved learning experiences, and what Europe can do to stay at the forefront of this worldwide revolution. That’s something that Mendeley has some experience of, as we’ve been working with the European Commission on many projects like CODE to improve the service we offer our community. We also collaborate with other academic institutions and industry partners such as the University of Passau in Germany, who have recently launched the groundbreaking 42-Data portal.

We’ll be posting updates on the discussions throughout the day using the hashtags #Mendeley #UCLTECY and #bdw14 and there will be videos and notes published afterwards, so watch this space. In the meantime, as usual, if you have any questions or comments just leave them below or get in touch via Twitter of Facebook!