This weekend I discovered something amazing. Something so revolutionary and so life changing that it will….change…my… life. I am truly a wordsmith.
I found Mendeley.
Now let me tell you something. I bought Endnote as a grad student and I thought that was revolutionary because now I could keep track of all my scientific papers in PDF form and have their citations. And then I could cite my references in Word with Endnote’s nifty plug-in. There was one annoyance with it though, and that was being able to use the program on two computers. I had to do everything to do with Endnote on one computer because it gets too complicated transferring my library over every time I add a new citation. It didn’t sync with “the cloud”. It also (my version anyway) doesn’t include a PDF viewer where you can take notes directly in the program. This has been a huge barrier for me.
But with Mendeley you have both a desktop program and an online account and they sync together. That includes your attached PDF files! I’m going to list the advantages of Mendeley that I’ve found so far while working with it.
- The program’s organization is highly intuitive and easy-to-use
- Upload a PDF article and it parses out the Title, Authors, Journal, etc.. If it feels it needs review, it will tell you to review it. If the citation needs review, it will give you the option to search Google Scholar for the article by title and it will automatically populate the fields with information it finds (see orange message on top right of pic above)
- You can import libraries from Endnote and other citation managers
- It syncs with your online Mendeley account
- You can email papers you have to other people through the program
- The “Related” button will, well, search for related papers based on the currently selected citation. It’s like Pandora for science!
- It comes with a PDF viewer (one of my favorite features by far)
- Take notes, annotations, and highlight information on the PDF directly in the program. All notes and annotations are searchable.
- See everything in your desktop library online and click to view papers on the desktop program
- Join groups who have the same interests – good for finding similar articles and sharing your citations and papers
- Search for papers and add their citations. If the paper is open-access, download the full-text
- Add contacts/colleagues and share citations
- All of this information, including citations from groups and contacts, are synced and can be viewed in Mendeley desktop
It might be obvious at this point – I highly recommend this program!
Oh, and I missed the most important thing about it. IT’S FREE.