December 12, 2010


Writing about web page

From Mendeley's website:

Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research.

  • Automatically generate bibliographies
  • Collaborate easily with other researchers online
  • Easily 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 our new iPhone app
  • View more features…

Mendeley is one of the new software/services that provides advanced references management features.

What I liked in Mendeley

What I really liked in Mendeley is that:

  • It can sync your references between multiple PCs/Macs.
  • Allows you to read, annotate & comment on PDFs from within the software itself.
  • User interface is very nice!
  • Can be set so that it starts watching your resources folders, adding every paper/document that is added to these folder to the library itself while tagging these auto added documents as 'To be reviewed' so that you can review and confirm that every bit of information is correct.

If you have been using Endnote (like me), you will be happy to know that you can export your Endnote library to Mendeley directly. Ofcourse, this doesn't mean that you can't use Endnote at all if you swich to Mendeley. You can work on Mendeley and if for any reason you wanted to insert bibliographies from Endnote or for any other reason, you can export your final library to Endnote and use it.

Research & Decide yourself!

Lastly, I just wanted to know that although I see Mendeley as a good choice for referencing management, etc.. However, I don't want to influence your decision in anyway!

You should spend sometime comparing/researching whatever software you are aware of, for example, for me, I ended up comparing Endnote, Zotero and Mendely. I quickly took Endnote out of the equation for a number of reasons such as its lack of easy sync features and inability to edit PDFs within the software. Lastly, I ended up choosing Mendeley over Zotero because:

  • Zotero is a Firefox plugin. Therefore, it relies on another software which really adds another variable into the situation that could go wrong. For instance, what if there were some problems in Firefox? What if Zotero become unstable or incompatible for any reason with one of Firefox's future updates? Lastly, what if Zotero affects Forefox's performance?
  • Mendeley's ability to edit PDFs within the same software is just great!
  • The ability to watch folders within Mendeley is nice!

Therefore, it really depends on your work style and the set of features you might require which can be available in a certain software and not in the others.

Do you use any of these?

If you are using one of the mentioned software, I would really like to hear your experience. There might be features that I am not aware of in any of these mentioned software.

- 6 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Hi AbdulRahman,

    I came across your blog post after a search for Mendeley on the Warwick Blogs site. I think we met at the research methodology seminar in Dec too. Thanks for the interesting review of Mendeley. I have been looking into various reference management software before I embark into the research world, mainly Endnote, Zotero and Mendeley. The advantage of going with EndNote is that it is supported by the university and the library catalogue. However, there is also a great downside (especially for me as I’ll be working on my laptop primarily), as free licenses for the software are not available to download on personal machines. Therefore it looks like I have the option of either using EndNote Web (which I am not keen on as it doesn’t link itself to downloaded PDFs), Mendeley (which has a great interface) or Zotero. American Universities/students seem to prefer Zotero (maybe because it was built by an American University?) over Mendeley. I was just wondering whether you have tried Zotero, and whether in your experience Mendeley scores points over Zotero? Also, have you had any general problems using Mendeley? Or problems using it with the library catalogue? Furthermore, where you able to download Mendeley on your office machine at university?

    Thanks for your help!


    12 Jan 2011, 10:48

  2. Hi Salma, Nice to hear from you!

    To tell you the truth, I have have been using Endnote for about 2 years now. I have a license for it and its a good management software, but, due to the advancement in competing reference management software (Namely Zotero and Mendeley), I decided to stop using it.

    The main reason behind this is that it doesn’t provide an easy way to work with the documents across multiple PCs/Laptops (easily done with Zotero and Mendeley), especially that I have a desktop at home that I mostly use and a laptop that I rarely use at the moment on-campus. Furthermore, unlike Mendeley, there is no way to annotate the documents within Endnote itself.

    So far, I have been using Mendeley (which is free) for about 2 months and I still like it. The worst thing that could happen is that I decide to stop using Mendeley and get back to Endnote and in that case, it is possible to export my references back to Endnote without problems.

    When it comes to Mendeley vs Zotero, both of them offer great and similar features. However, I liked Mendeley over Zotero because:
    - Mendeley is a standalone software while Zotero requires Firefox to run, and I just don’t like the fact of having to deal with 2 variables in this case.
    - PDF Annotation in Mendeley is possible, not yet in Zotero.

    One thing to note though if you decided to go with Mendeley is to check which word processing software they support at the moment with their plugins. For instance Endnote’s plugin would allow you to cite anything while using word. On Mendeley, I think they released a beta version and they are still releasing plugins for other software packages. This doesn’t concern me much at the moment because I know that I won’t be needed this feature until perhaps I start writing.

    I hope some of what I have explained makes sense :)
    See you soon!

    12 Jan 2011, 17:05

  3. Hi AbdulRahman,

    Thanks for your swift response, it puts it all in persepective now and makes sense. I think I will use Mendeley and see how it goes. I will also download the trial verison of EndNote, just to try it for a month too. One last question (hopefully!): Have you tried actually exporting references from Mendeley to EndNote? I just want to be sure it will actually work if I ever need to (I don’t have any references as yet to export as I haven’t started yet).

    Thanks for your help btw, much appreciated :)


    13 Jan 2011, 11:57

  4. Also, as you correctly noted, plugins that are available from Mendeley need to be checked. Currently the Word plugin does not support Office 2010 64 bit version, only the 32 bit version. Further details here:

    13 Jan 2011, 12:12

  5. Hi Salma,

    Yes I have tried exporting references from Mendeley to Endnote many times, it’s quite easy. Haven’t tried to export many records at once, but you can export individual records by right-clicking and clicking on export.

    Have fun Mendeling :)

    13 Jan 2011, 12:24

  6. That is good news. Thanks AbdulRahman.


    13 Jan 2011, 12:29

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