How to recover your files and annotations in Mendeley Desktop – July 2018 

 Update on the resolution of the bug that resulted in files and annotations being deleted from users’ Mendeley libraries in May 2018. 

The recent bug that caused some users’ files and annotations to be marked as deleted has now been resolved and the deleted files and annotations have been restored to users’ accounts. If you have been affected by this bug, you can restore your files and annotations to your Mendeley Desktop by following the steps below:

  1. Upgrade to Mendeley Desktop version 1.19.1 or later, on every machine on which you have Mendeley Desktop installed. If you are on an earlier version (1.19 or earlier), the problem may reoccur. If you are not automatically prompted to upgrade then, from the Help menu select ‘Check for upgrades’ and then ‘Check now’ to upgrade to the latest version.
  2. Ensure ‘Synchronize attached files’ is enabled on all instances of Mendeley Desktop that you use. You can check this by selecting ‘Edit settings’ for All Documents and ensuring the check boxes are ticked.
  3. For most users, when you have upgraded you should sync your Mendeley Desktop and the files and associated annotation will be automatically restored.
  4. For users who are using Mendeley Desktop on more than one machine AND did not sync on one or more machines after 24th May you may need to follow a slightly different process in order to restore your files and associated annotations on your Mendeley Desktop. Before you do this you must perform the following checks:

i) Log into Mendeley Web Library . Check that you can see your restored files and associated annotations here. If you do not, do not proceed. If your files and associated annotations are present in Web Library then you can reset the database on your Mendeley Desktop.

ii) Resetting the database on Mendeley Desktop: If your resorted files and associated annotations are available in Mendeley Web Library, then you can reset the database on Mendeley Desktop. To do this, select ‘Reset Mendeley Desktop’ from the Help menu and follow the instructions.

If your files and annotations are not restored in Web Library (step 4i) then please do not proceed with the database reset but contact support.

We are sorry that many of you had to wait a very long time to find out what had happened to your files, and for the stress that may have caused. For more information on what caused the issue and the steps we have taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again, please see this blog post.

If you are still experiencing issues that are not covered in this post please contact Mendeley Support.

Update on the recent problems users have experienced and how we’re fixing them – July 2018

Update on the recent problems users have experienced and how we’re fixing them – July 2018 

Message from Laura Thomson, Head of Reference Management

We know it’s been a difficult time for a number of users who experienced problems as a result of finding some of their PDFs missing from Mendeley. Many of the team here at Mendeley have been researchers ourselves, so we understand the concern losing PDFs and annotations must have caused. We apologize unreservedly. Below you will find an update of what happened and the steps we’ve taken to restore users’ files.

What happened?

Two incidents happened around the same time that affected users’ files and annotations, which meant that some users could not see or access their files and annotations. Firstly, some files that were added to Mendeley before 2012 were accidentally moved from our live storage system to our archive system.  Secondly, a separate bug caused files and annotations to be flagged as deleted in certain circumstances.

What’s the solution?

Our developers have been working full time on fixing these issues since we identified them, with the aim of being able to restore all users’ data as quickly as possible. It has taken us longer than we would have liked to address all the issues, for which we apologize. The following is a summary of the steps we have taken:

For the archiving problem:

  • We’ve identified and stopped the root cause of the problem, so that older files are no longer moved from live storage to archive storage when they shouldn’t be.
  • For users affected by this problem, we’ve restored all but about 3,500 files, and users should see these the next time they sync. Active users who had one or more unrecoverable files in their library will be contacted individually by us via email.

For the bug:

  • We’ve recovered the files and annotations from our backup systems, and restored them to users’ accounts, along with the relations between them. In most cases, your files and annotations will be restored after a sync. If you are using Mendeley Desktop on more than one machine, then additional steps may be required. Please see this blog post for further instructions.
  • We have fixed the root cause issue causing files and annotations to be deleted, and the fix was included in our 1.19.1 release of Mendeley Desktop.

In both cases, we’ve worked with individual researchers who took the time to give us detailed information on the problems they experienced, and tested solutions for us. We are very grateful to those individuals, and all the other researchers who provided us with feedback and insights to help address these issues.

What are we doing to avoid the situation happening again?

We have put in place several measures to make sure that errors of this kind are prevented from happening in future. These include stricter controls around archiving of data, and additional monitoring and alerting across our products and systems to detect problems earlier.

One thing we’ve learned is that recovery from this situation took us too long. Partly this is to do with having very large volumes of user data to deal with. We are sorry that many of you had to wait a very long time to know what had happened to your files, and for the stress that may have caused. While we’re pleased that we’ve been able to restore most files, we are reviewing back-up procedures with the goal of enabling us to recover data much more quickly than we were able to do this time.

What to do if you are still having problems with missing PDFs:

If you are still experiencing issues that are not covered in this post please contact Mendeley Support. Please check the blog and our social media accounts for any further updates.

By popular demand: teaching materials

Since many of you have asked for it (and because we thought it was a good idea anyway), we’ve increased our efforts in developing support and documentation materials for Mendeley. For example, some users (especially librarians) wanted to give a presentation about Mendeley at their institution, or asked for some written documentation about how to use Mendeley.

Currently, we are working on both a new support section and on some updated about pages. Today however, as a little appetizer, we proudly present our new and fresh teaching materials! You can use them to learn more about Mendeley’s features, or you can use them to spread the word about Mendeley by giving a presentation at your institution or department/lab by simply forwarding the materials to your colleagues, other researchers, and students.

  • Getting Started Guide: The Getting Started Guide shows you how to use Mendeley’s basic features. It is also bundled together with each Mendeley Desktop installation. You can download the document here (size: 1 MB).
  • Teaching Presentation: You can spread the word about Mendeley at your institution using our Teaching Presentation (feel free to adapt the presentation to your needs). It shows both Mendeley’s vision and how to use the features of Mendeley Desktop and Web. Get the Adobe PDF (size: 4 MB) or the Powerpoint PPT (size: 22 MB) file.
  • Mendeley Fact Sheet: For a quick overview of Mendeley’s features, have a look at our Fact Sheet. On just two pages, it describes what Mendeley is, and it’s easy to forward. You can download the Fact Sheet here (size: 2 MB).
  • Mendeley Poster: Finally, didn’t you dream of having a Mendeley poster next to your Albert Einstein one? Here it is, put it on your wall or the notice board of your university. Enjoy it here (A4, size: 0.5 MB) or download the larger one (A3, size: 1 MB).

Soon, you’ll also be able to download these teaching materials from our updated web pages. A big thank you to Aladin, one of our great Mendeley interns, and Ricardo, one of our community liaisons!