Mendeley: a great reference manager

In an era where access to information is just one click away, some problems about where to seek can arise. Mendeley can help you not only to conduct the first steps of your research but also to interact with other researchers, promote your work, access easily from any device the papers you read, and of course to make the writing process more pleasant. It is available for Microsoft, Mac, and Linux, so you should be able to enjoy the virtues of the software no matter what kind of computer you have.

Main features

In spite of existing a wide variety of software for reading pdf files, Mendeley has the advantage of allowing the reader to highlight extracts and take notes on the document. Since these changes on the document are made from your personal account, they will be available on any device you log in as long as you have clicked on the sync button.

There are different methods to import documents to your library. In the case that you have downloaded them, you just have to click on the files (or folders where you store them) and drag them onto Mendeley. However, if you have been reading online, you can use the Web Importer tool (available for most browsers) that allows you to have the articles on your Mendeley account. This process is useful to store information (such as authors, year of publication, journal, abstract, among others) in a very organized way. As you do this, Mendeley will also suggest other related papers you may be interested in, thus enriching your library.

Mendeley also works as an academic social network. On your profile you can upload your work, which may be useful for other researchers and will provide you readership statistics. In the same way, you can follow other ones in order to stay up to date on topics of your interest. Additionally, the platform offers access to different groups, both public and private, in order to share some documents and collaborate with other members of the community.

The software offers a plug-in you can integrate into Word. This tool is very useful at the moment of citing other works, which also considers web resources that are not in a pdf format through the Web Importer tool. These citations can be added to the reference list of your work following different styles such as Vancouver, Harvard, APA, just to mention some. This possibility allows the integration of Mendeley with WriteBetter when you are writing on Word. This combination can make you take advantage of the different tools not only to make the writing process more efficient but also to get familiar with some collocations and word combinations as you work on your research.  

There are some considerations that you must keep in mind if you want to use this reference management software. However, it is surely nothing that you have not taken into account when you have used other tools. Since Mendeley needs to be installed on the computer, it is necessary to have enough space on your disk, which can be an issue for some devices. Another point is that the information about authorship and publication is only available for journal articles, so in the case of books, chapters, or other types of publications you will probably have to type it manually. Nevertheless, this last point, more than a limitation, is not different from what you would have to do without a reference management software. 

Summing up, Mendeley represents a very helpful tool for researchers, especially when the work requires a rigorous literature review. Not having to close and open documents over and over, or even to shift from a pdf to a web browser, will help you save time. This is also the case with the reference list, where you will not have to type anything but just to click a couple of times. Also, being in contact with other researchers can contribute in different ways to your work and career. There seems not to be reasons for not trying it. 


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