As a long-time Mendeley user, I can say that one of the features that I happen to really enjoy using is the one-click web importer. It was not available when I started using Mendeley to organize my references but when it was implemented, it made my work so much easier.
When starting work on a new project, there is normally an initial phase of your work-flow that consists of performing searches on websites for available literature on the desired topic.
You query the search sites with keywords, open each link that seems of interest, read the abstract and when available download the paper (PDF document). If you happen to be searching on many sites and downloading many papers, this can be a bit repetitive.
Repetitive work is normally tedious and time is usually short. So, what if you could easily download references and their respective PDF documents (when accessible) with a simple click of the mouse?
Mendeley’s one-click web importer enables you to add references (and their PDF documents) to your Mendeley reference library from within your favorite browser. All you need to do is add the web bookmarklet to your browser bar and you will be able to easily add documents to your library from a growing selection of websites like PubMed, IEEE Xplore, Google Scholar, CAT.INIST or PLoS, just to name a few.
So I know what you are thinking: “Great, there’s a simple way to add documents to my Mendeley library while searching in my favorite browser. Show me how!”
OK, here is how…
First, you need to add the bookmarklet to your browser bookmark bar. Do this by either dragging the link directly to the bookmark bar from the Mendeley web importer page or by going to Mendeley Desktop menu Tools > Install Web Importer. Once that’s done, you should be good to go.
Let’s give it a try by opening up Google Scholar and performing a search for your favorite keyword(s). Let’s say your keywords of interest are “Synthetic Biology”, the Google Scholar results should be something like so:
Let us assume there are a few papers that you’d like to add to your library, so you click on the Mendeley web importer bookmarklet and a pop-up window opens. You are presented with a very similar list of references as those presented by Google Scholar with some extra options. Let me point a couple of these extras out (see image highlight):
Once you’re done importing the documents into your Mendeley library, they are stored in your Mendeley Web account. To be clear, the references are always stored in your library but the actual PDF files may not be imported if they are not openly accessible to Mendeley’s servers.
Side note: If the PDF documents you want to import to Mendeley are not openly accessible but you have access to them via your institutional network/proxy, there is a simple way of adding the document directly to Mendeley Desktop. Simply drag & drop the link to the PDF file and Mendeley Desktop will automatically download the file and auto-extract the document details. Let’s just call this our little secret work-around while it’s not yet fully possible via the web importer, OK?
Getting back to where we were, to have the newly imported documents made available on your computer, simply open Mendeley Desktop and click “Sync Library”.
There you go, without having to download papers one by one or opening multiple web pages, you can easily import documents into your Mendeley library using the one-click web importer.
As mentioned above, the list of supported sites keeps growing and if you would like to see another site added to the list, please feel free to contact us. The web importer also supports any sites using COinS.
Like I said before, the web importer is one of Mendeley’s features that I really enjoy using. How has your experience been using it?
Quick update: The Mendeley team is hard at work finishing up an upcoming feature for the Web Importer that will allow users to store local copies of webpages!