How-to series: Maintain a reading list on your website using Mendeley Groups [part 12 of 12]

One of the great uses of public groups on Mendeley is maintaining a curated set of references about a given topic. This can become really handy for many different reasons. One of which might be the maintenance of a reading list. For this post, we will use the example use-case of a teacher that wants to maintain a reading list for their class.

By creating an invite-only public group on Mendeley, you can put together a list of references along with anyone you invite to the group. So, in our hypothetical teacher story, some potential invitees would be students or teaching assistants.

Ok, so let’s look at how this would work:

    1. Our teacher needs a website where the reading list will be embedded.
    2. Next step would be to create a public invite-only group to store the references they’d like to have listed on the website. This can be done in Mendeley Desktop or Mendeley Web.

create-group-web

3. Once the group is created, the teacher (or an invited member of the group) can add references to the group folder. Simply drag and drop references or PDFs into the group.

4. With the references added to the group, it is now possible to go ahead and get the necessary code to embed the reading list on the class website. The appearance of the embedded code can be customized via a set of option.

group-widget

5. Once the HTML code is added to the website, it now dynamically updates whenever the reference list is updates within Mendeley Desktop. No more editing HTML or making changes to the website code.

uofm-sb101-mockup

By using the embeded code, no further HTML code is required to maintain the website. This means that next year, if the reading list needs updating, it’s simply a matter of adding, removing or updating references in the Mendeley Group.

Here are the previous entries in this twelve part How-to series:

Mendeley Advisor Writes a Book About Mendeley

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.

 

Why did you decide to write a book about Mendeley?

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.

How-to series: Connect your Mendeley account to your Twitter account [part 11 of 12]

Everyone is using Twitter these days. It’s a great way to communicate and keep up to date with your social network of friends and interests. Therefore, we thought you’d be interested in being able to hook up your Mendeley and Twitter account so that folks can keep up with your research interests and output.

Just follow these simple steps and you should have your Mendeley account connected to your Twitter account in no time.

  1. Log into Mendeley Web (http://www.mendeley.com)
  2. Go to the account details section.
  3. Mendeley Web - Account Details

  4. Then select the Sharing/Importing tab.
  5. Mendeley Web - Account Details - Sharing/Importing

  6. Click on the “Connect” button. You will be sent to Twitter’s website so that you can authorize the connection. (Don’t worry, we do not have access to your Twitter details, that’s why you are sent to their website!)
  7. Authorize Mendeley on Twitter

  8. You’ll be sent back to Mendeley after approving the connection on Twitter’s site.
  9. You can now select which activities you perform in Mendeley will be tweeted in your Twitter account. Simply check or uncheck the boxes you want and click “Update settings”.
  10. Twitter-Mendeley Settings

Here’s an example of a tweet of someone adding a new publication to their “My Publications” folder:

So there you go, you can now have Mendeley automatically tweet selected bits of your Mendeley activity. We look forward to reading your tweets!

Here are the previous entries in this twelve part How-to series:

How-to series: How to keep references and documents unpublished (out of catalog) [part 7 of 12]

As you probably know that, whenever you add a document to your Mendeley library, the document details for that entry are aggregated into our Mendeley databases so as to allow you to easily synchronize your library across multiple platforms. These aggregated data are also used to generate our extensive and multidisciplinary research catalog that is continually growing, fueled by the ongoing uploading of references to your (and everyone else’) library.

This is all good and well but how about documents you don’t want to include in the catalog, or you don’t think are actually useful for others to have access via the research catalog? For those cases, we have a checkbox in the Document Details panel that allows you to keep that entry from being aggregated. It will still be synchronized across your multiple devices, but it will not have the Document Details aggregated to our research catalog.
There are plenty of situations where this can be useful. Notes from a class that you are storing and don’t believe are useful for others, manuscripts you are currently working on and therefore are still incomplete, etc.

In summary, if you’re adding a document and you don’t want the document details to be anonymously aggregated and made available for search in our research catalog, then go ahead and click on the “Unpublished work” checkbox in the Document Details panel on the right.

Unpublished Work Checkbox (in Mendeley Desktop)

There you go, simple stuff once again. In our next entry we’ll be touching on the topic of annotations.

Here are the previous six entries in our How-to series:

How-to series: How to copy & paste formatted citations anywhere (LaTeX too!) [part 5 of 12]

Have you ever had to quickly send a reference to someone by email or instant message (IM)? How about send a list of references at once? This can be quite a task if you have to open each PDF, copy the title, author, journal, year, etc. And format them in an email or IM reply.
For these cases, and anywhere you’d like to rapidly copy and paste one or multiple references, Mendeley Desktop has got you covered.
Here’s how:

  1. Open Mendeley Desktop.
  2. Find the folder or group of references you are interested.
  3. Select one or more entries using your mouse (you might need to use CTRL, SHIFT and/or CMD to select multiple entries)
  4. Use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+C (CMD+C for Mac) to copy. Alternatively you can use the menu “Edit > Copy”.
  5. In your email, IM, Google Docs or any other text editing field, paste the content you just copied. Do so by pressing CTRL+V (CMD+V for Mac) or the menu “Edit > Paste”.
  6. There you have it! Formatted references in a few quick steps. Select references, copy, and paste.

Quick note for those paying closer attention: you can also copy the references as LaTeX so the crafty LaTeX users can also enjoy the fun (CTRL+K or CMD+K for Mac)!
Another quick note: You can change the default formatting used in Mendeley Desktop by going to the menu “View > Citation Style”. There are quite a few styles to select from, so enjoy.

Stay tuned for the next entry in this twelve-part series of how-to posts. We’ll be going over supplementary data.

Previous How-to series entries:

How-to series: Generate BibTeX files for your collections for use in LaTeX [part 3 of 12]

Keeping up with our twelve-part how-to series, this entry will provide you with a simple walk through of how to get Mendeley Desktop generating BibTeX files of your library or folders for use in your LaTeX documents.

The majority of us use word processors to write our essays, manuscripts and thesis. However, there are a crafty group of folks that like to use LaTeX, a document markup language and document preparation system. What most of us already know is that Mendeley comes with a built-in word plugin that works on most major word processors. What some might not know is that Mendeley can also generate BibTeX files for your reference collections/folders. Thus, making citing references a breeze. If you happen to use LaTeX to prepare your documents, here’s where you’ll find the options to create your BibTeX files on the fly:

  1. Go to the Mendeley Preferences menu
  2. Click on the BibTeX tab
  3. Select the options that fit your needs. One big BibTeX file, one per collection, etc.
  4. Click “Apply”.
  5. That’s it, your BibTeX files should be ready for you to reference in your LaTeX documentos.

BibTeX preferences in Mendeley Desktop
The next entry in our quick-read how-to series will show you a thing or two about keeping your library neatly organized without duplicate entries.

Previous How-to series entries:

How-to series: How to merge author names [part 1 of 12]

Features, many and useful features. That is what this blog post series is going to be about. If you’ve used Mendeley for a while, you’ll probably already have picked up on some of the following features and tips we’ll be showcasing over the next few weeks. However, I’m sure even some of these will be new to most of our readers, Mendeley veterans or newcomers.

Today’s how-to is a really nice and simple one: how to merge author names.

As you accumulate research papers and references in your library, you’ll find that sometimes the same author may be published with variations of the same name. P. Harvey, Pete Harvey, P. S. Harvey, etc. If this is in fact the same person, it becomes a bit of a mess if you want to filter your references by Author Name. In this case, you can use a simple technique to merge author names together to a single name of your choosing.
Here’s a quick step by step look at how this is accomplished:

  1. In the top left panel, select “All Documents”.
  2. Now, in the bottom left panel, scroll to the author name(s) you’d like to merge.
  3. Select the author name that you want to change and drag it onto the name that you want to keep.
  4. Click OK to accept the merge if that’s what you want.

Here’s a nice short video showing how this is done:

Our next entry in this twelve-part how-to series will show you how to easily drag and drop a PDF or PDF link into Mendeley Desktop for easy import. Stay tuned.

Now it's your turn: Free-for-all Mendeley Webinars

After the recent Webinars for CGIAR, we are happy to announce two free-for-all Webinars open to the general public. On Tuesday (February 23rd, 5:00 pm GMT) and Wednesday (February 24th, 9:30 pm GMT) Victor Henning, our director and co-founder and William Gunn, Community Liaison will demonstrate Mendeley’s collaborative features. There will be time for a Q&A session as well as a chance for you to share your experiences with Mendeley. To join, just pick one of the two webinars and pop over to the registration page to sign up.

Sorry, registration for this Webinar is already closed.

Date: Tuesday, February 23rd 2010
Time: 5:00 pm GMT
Presenter: William Gunn

Sorry, registration for this Webinar is already closed.

Date: Wednesday, February 24th 2010
Time: 9:30 am GMT
Presenter: Victor Henning

You’re a Mendeley power-user already? Then why not share this info with your friends and colleagues that are still looking for a free tool to manage their references and papers? They’ll thank you…