You know that nice feeling you get when things just work? Well, here at Mendeley we love coming up with ways to make that happen for researchers everywhere, and building features that save them time is usually a good way to go about it.
As a PhD student myself, I know that one of the biggest time drains when doing your research can be the process of finding, processing and organizing your relevant citations and papers. Having to download each one individually before adding them to Mendeley was a big frustration when doing my literature review, and many academics in our community shared similar experiences.
That’s why the Mendeley team put a lot of work in building an improved Web Importer that was released last June and then integrating it with Science Direct and Scopus (as well as most other sites!) to make the process of putting those papers and references in your Mendeley library as smooth and painless as possible, just as it should be.
To give Mendeley users even more options though, we’ve also worked with Elsevier to build the “Export to Mendeley” functionalities right into the Scopus and Science Direct platforms, which means that you don’t even have to install the web importer to send articles and citations to Mendeley, and you can also choose which folder in your library they should go into.
The fact that this is all done without you having to navigate away from your search results or article pages will hopefully speed up the research workflow for our users, and help them spend more time reading and writing papers rather than wrestling with them. Please let us know how this new feature works for you, and leave any suggestions in the comments below!
A little while back we sent out a survey to a few of our users asking for their stories about how Mendeley had helped them in their research, and we got quite a few responses from our community. What we also found out is that now that we’ve been around for a while – actually, we launched our first beta on the 2nd April 2008, which makes Mendeley 5 years old – there are researchers out there who have used Mendeley all the way through the process of researching their PhD thesis, and many continue to use it now they’ve graduated. We’ve picked our top 10 respondents, who have all been with us for over 3 years, to share some of their favourite things about Mendeley. We’d love to see if you agree, or if you have any stories of your own you’d like to share… Usually we don’t like to toot our own horn, but hopefully since it’s our birthday you’ll forgive us!
“Mendeley has enabled my different collaborations to share papers and ideas, and it has enabled me to use Latex in a more efficient way. Keeping tabs on the references and results of experimental data in organic photovoltaics has been made simpler through the use of Shared Libraries and the annotations one can make in the papers.” Roberto Olivares-Amaya, Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Theoretical Chemistry from Princeton University, NJ.
“I use Mendeley collaboratively: We hold reading groups where everyone annotates the pdf with questions / comments on the paper coming up. During the meeting, we put Mendeley on the big screen and go through the papers / presentations bit by bit. The literature survey I had to do for one of my checkpoints was also greatly helped by Mendeley. I had an entire framework of tags that would allow me to quickly find the papers for a particular technique, the papers for a particular chapter, or even the papers that followed a similar methodology. Every paper was annotated with the key points that I had to summarize, and it made writing the survey far easier in the end. It is turning out to be pretty much the same story with my dissertation, which I’m just getting underway now.” Christian Muise, Computer and Information Science PhD Student from the University of Toronto, specializing in Artificial Intelligence.
“My PhD was interdisciplinary – half computational systems biology, half experimental parasitology – so I had twice the background reading to do. Mendeley helped me organise that reading and see links across the subjects.” Thomas Forth, recently completed his PhD in Systems Biology of the Malaria parasite at Leeds University.
“Scientists have been waiting a long time for this. Mendeley is great, I can sync my papers across all of the different computers in our lab. When we are writing papers, everyone can have the same list of references and can actually see the same pdf files that I’m using.” Daniel Hickstein, a Physics Graduate Student specialising in Ultrafast laser spectroscopy at the university of Colorado.
“Mendeley has been useful throughout my whole PhD experience. Being able to highlight, put notes for when I read it again, and send that edited version to a colleague has been an excellent collaborative tool.” Alejandro Montenegro-Montero, a Biologist specializing in Molecular Science from P. Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago.
“Mendeley made it much easier to share articles with other members of my project over the years. Every time a new student joined our group, I could simply share the collection with them and point out which articles are the most important to read simply by starring them.” Joshua Middaugh, a Graduate Engineering Student at MIT specializing in Combustion and Energy.
“With Mendeley I can store, organize the documents and share them with others. And this was a free software from the beginning. I find it useful that I can read and tag my documents and make a reference list for my publications. I can find relevant articles fast using my tags. Mendeley is always useful when I need to find specific articles quickly or articles on specific topic for an example when discussing a subject with someone.” Joose Kreutzer, Engineering Researcher specializing in Microfabrication and microfluidics at the Tampere University of Technology, Finland.
“Mendeley works on Linux! Allows you to keep your notes attached to your pdf files and search through everything easily. There are other citing applications for Linux but they are antiquated and made the process of looking after my references more work than I had time for. Mendeley made organising my thesis references the enjoyable part.” Andrew Dunk, a Researcher in Computer and Information Science specializing in Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces from The University of Reading.
“Probably the most valuable thing Mendeley has offered me is the way to easily include original sources rather than just subsidiary results—i.e., it’s trivially easy to keep track of that 1939 Vollmer book rather than citing something that references it. So I feel like that process makes it easier for the end user of my research to see the real provenance of ideas rather than the temptation to cite recent sources.” Neal Davis, Nuclear Engineering graduate student from the University of Illinois.
“The problem I have is that I read a lot of papers but when I need to recall them I cannot always remember the title or even the author. There are either phrases or other things that stick in my mind. With Mendeley I can always search these terms and retrieve the document.” Nikolaos Vasiloglou, Electrical and Electronic Engineering data scientist specializing in Machine Learning from Georgia Tech.
Search has become such a fundamental part of our daily routine. Everyone uses search tools, everyday. Google, spotlight, file search, etc. There is just too much information to properly organize, memorize and store in a structured fashion. But that is ok.
Mendeley Desktop provides you with a multitude of ways to organize, filter and search your documents. Many of these task are context based, meaning that if you search while looking at your library or a collection in your library, you only get results from the currently selected folder. If you happen to be reading a PDF in Mendeley Desktop, the search tool will show you results only within that paper.
Now, one thing you, and many Mendeley Desktop users, probably don’t know is that you can constrain your search to specific fields such as the Title, Authors and even your own notes. Yes, you can search for the text contained within your notes!
Go to the search box in the top right-hand corner of Mendeley Desktop
Click on the little arrow pointing downward and select “Notes”
Type in your keyword of interest
You should start seeing your results update in the middle pane in near real-time
Here’s a quick view of the search box in action on Mendeley Desktop (Mac)
How cool is that? We think it’s pretty cool (and useful!).
Here are the previous eight entries in our How-to series:
NOTE: The web snapshot feature has been deprecated due to lack of use. (Updated: 13th Nov 2013)
I recently wrote a blog post about one of Mendeley’s great features, the web importer. Promising an update at the end of the last post, I can now say that the newest cool thing that the importer can do is save webpage snapshots.
What this means is that not only can you import references from an ever growing list of supported sites but you can now save a snapshot of an actual webpage in your library.
The web importer saves a static HTML file with an exact snapshot of the webpage you are visiting and, if available within the webpage’s HTML, extract any relevant metadata.
Given the growing need to cite from websites, the ability to store a snapshot of a webpage is definitely a great new addition to the web importer’s features.
When we first cleared out some room on our servers to allow you to upload PDFs to your private Mendeley Web account, we spared 500 MB per person, given that PDFs are usually around 1-2 MB, this enables you to store 250-500 PDF documents online. In response to requests (or should we say popular demand?) as well as bulging research collections, we will increase the storage space as part of a premium package in early 2010 (we are also working on more detailed stats, a recommendation engine and some other nice features).
For the growing number of people who really can’t wait that long (hats off to those of you who have already maxed out your accounts!), please write to firstname.lastname@example.org with a request for extra space and we’ll be happy to pass out some freebies. It will be a temporary upgrade but you won’t have to switch to a premium subscription later. Once the premium features are in place and if you choose not to upgrade, you won’t be able to add any further documents to your web account (if it is larger than 500 MB), but your data will still be accessible and safe.
Taking a similar approach with shared collections – which are currently limited to ten people – we quickly found requests rolling in for collections of a much larger size, mainly for departments and labs. So, we will raise the number of people who can access a shared collection as part of a premium package and in turn make the limits flexible. Again, write to email@example.com if you need more shared collection slots within your department, lab, or research group. Send us your username (e-mail address), the name of the collection, and the number of people you would like to collaborate with and we can expand your shared collection to make it a bit more sociable for the festive season.