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Mendeley: Citation Management Tool

Why Mendeley?

Mendeley logo

Mendeley is a free reference manager that can help you collect references, organize your citations, and create bibliographies.  

The strength of Mendeley, however, is what it adds to that. Mendeley is also an academic social network that enables you to share your research with  others. Researchers can collaborate online in public or private groups, and search for papers in the Mendeley group database of over 30 million papers. Mendeley can help you connect with other scholars and the latest research in your subject area. Because Mendeley is now owned by Elsevier, the leading provider of science and health information, it integrates with both ScienceDirect and Scopus.

Mendeley is a research management tool.

With Mendeley, you can:

  • Collect references from the Web and UCI databases
  • Automatically generate citations and bibliographies
  • From within your citation library, read, annotate and highlight PDFs
  • Collaborate with other researchers online
  • Import papers from other research software
  • Find relevant papers based on what you’re reading
  • Access your papers from anywhere online
  • Read papers on the go with your iPhone or iPad
  • Build a professional presence with your Mendeley profile

Mendeley works with Windows, Mac and Linux.

Mendeley Has Two Parts

Mendeley has two platforms. Some tasks you can do in both, but each has a particular focus.

Mendeley Desktop is where you can organize your references in more detail and annotate the PDFs you collect. You download this to your computer.

Mendeley Web is your sharing portal. It enables you to easily access references and share your research with others. You use this through a browser.

Mendeley for iOS allows you to read and annotate PDFs and sync those annotations with your Mendeley Desktop.

To take full advantage of Mendeley features you will be using both.

A Sync button in the tool bar of Mendeley Desktop allows you to update your work to Mendeley Web.

On the web interface, citations offer a link to the desktop interface.

What is Mendeley? Video

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For More Information...

Much of the information, videos, and images in this guide come from the Mendeley website. Explore it for even more information.

If you can't find what you're looking for on the Mendeley website, try the Mendeley Resource Center. There are descriptions and instructions on the use of additional Mendeley features.

Mendeley Blog provides the latest news and updates.

You can also follow Mendeley on Twitter.

Liaison Librarian

Laine Thielstrom's picture
Laine Thielstrom

Contact me by email or chat (send me a Google Hangouts invite). Or let's talk about your research or information need on Google Meet or Zoom!

Add File / Drag and Drop

You can add .pdf files directly from your computer into Mendeley Desktop.

1. Click on Add Files under File in the menu bar to choose a .pdf to add to your library.


2. Simply drag the .pdf file into your library.

In both cases, Mendeley will "read" the file and create a citation.

Always check the resulting citation carefully. Mendeley sometimes may be unable to provide full citation information.

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