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Mendeley: Easy Research Paper Management

I couldn’t do without iTunes to store and sort all of my music according genre, artist, album and even fetch the album art from the net. And I always wished there was something like this to sort the gazillion publications that I have in PDF format. Not being a Mac user, I couldn’t use Papers, and of course I like my software free!

logo-mendeleyWell now my wish has been granted by something called Mendeley, which might just be the best FREE software for research paper management.

As I was testing out this new delight, i could not help noticing that it ticked a lot of my boxes.

For a start this is a cross platform program, meaning, Window, Macs and Linux users can all use this program. The software has been designed in two parts, one is called the Mendeley Desktop and the other is Mendeley Web. Mendeley Desktop is the software that will be installed on your computer to manage your research papers. While Mendeley Web lets you manage your papers on the net, check the current research trends and connect to like-minded researchers.

Below are some of the highlights of this research paper management software

1. Automatic metadata and reference extraction
Just like iTunes, when you drag & drop your PDFs into Mendeley Desktop, it will extract the document’s metadata, keywords and cited references. Also the software is desgined to look up CrossRef DOIs, arXiv IDs and PubMed metadata automatically. This information is used to create a research paper libary in seconds.

2. Full-text search and filters

Once your research paper library has been created, you can do a full-text search on every document and find the context in which the search terms appear.
The search function can be improvised using the filter function. You can filter by authors, journal, keywords or even your own tags.

3. File management, renaming and folder monitoring
One thing that has always annoyed me is when a PDF is downloaded it always has a strange name, such as “1018987as98u1ba.pdf”. These names never make any sense few days after downloading the files. Fear not, with Mendeley Desktop you can manage such files with ease, by renaming them to “Author – Year – Title.pdf”. It even features folder monitoring function, which automatically imports any new file added to a specified folder.

4. Bibliographies in Microsoft Word and OpenOffice
There is a plugin for Microsoft Word users which makes it easy to insert citations into Microsoft Word documents and create bibliographies on the go. The authors have promised an OpenOffice plugin and automatic BibTeX export/LaTeX integration to be incorporated soon as well.

5. Sharing and collaborative annotation
You can also share your impressive research paper library with others. Annotating them collaboratively is also possible. By creating a “Shared Group”, you can invite your colleagues, and drag & drop documents in there.

6. Online management and multi-machine synchronization
Remember earlier I said there is another web part to this software. Well with the Mendeley Web you can sync your documents to your free and private Mendeley Web account. You can now manage and access your documents online as well. And since it is a cross platform program, Mendeley Web makes it possible to merge and synchronize you research paper library even if you use more than one operating system, such as Windows PC at work and a Mac at home.

7. Research trends and statistics
Mendeley collates anonymous statistics about research trends, with these informations, aggregates of most popular authors, papers, journals and tags in your academic discipline are formed.

8. Research profiles and newsfeeds
You will not be alone, you can create a research profile to be discovered by other researchers, it might just be the next “Facebook” for researchers. As you add new publications, awards or conference travels, your colleagues and other researchers will be informed via a newsfeed.

9. Citation capturing in the browser
At the moment Mendeley supports capturing data from ACM Digital Library, Amazon.com, arXiv, Astrophysics Data System, CiteSeer, IEEE Xplore, Google Scholar, Google Books, PubMed, and ScienceDirect. The authors have promised this list will be expanded continuously, and they are also working on integrating with CiteULike.

The official website of Mendeley has more information on downloading instructions, a blog to discuss matters and virtual tour to see more of what is being offered.

The authors always welcome feedback from users, which they take on board to help them improve the software.

I highly recommend that you try Mendeley out and of course tell us what you think about it!

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