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Mendeley: Build Your Research Library

This guide will help you use Mendeley, the reference manager and academic collaboration network.

Building your Mendeley Library

Below are several ways that you can add citations to Mendeley to build your research library:

Remember that all the citations added to your personal Mendeley Library are also added to the database of citations that Mendeley shares with everyone. If you don't want a citation in your personal Mendeley Library to be added to the crowd-sourced library (e.g., unpublished papers, personal manuscripts), uncheck Share this reference anonymously with Mendeley Web Catalog at the bottom of the document details. 

Option to share reference with Mendeley Web Catalog

See also Mendeley's Guide to Adding References and Guide to Importing Content from the Web.

Drag in PDFs

A quick and easy way to get citations into your Mendeley Library is to drag and drop PDF files or folders of PDFs into the Mendeley Reference Manager window. Mendeley will attempt to extract the citation information from the PDFs, and the new citations will show up in under Recently Added.

Note: not all PDFs have information that can be extracted by Mendeley, and sometimes the citation information will be missing, incomplete, or incorrect. You may have to enter citation information manually, search the Mendeley catalog, or enter the DOI, PMID, or ArcXiv ID under Identifiers and use the Lookup (magnifying glass).

Using Add New

You can add your existing PDF files or folders to Mendelely using Add New.

Add new, file(s) from computer

Add entry manually allows you to create a reference from scratch.

You can use Import library to import records from another citation manager after first exporting them in RIS, BibTeX, or Endnote XML format.

Import from Database with Web Importer

After installing the Web Importer (bookmarklet) in your favorite browser, you can use the web importer button (red Mendeley icon) on your bookmarks toolbar when you are viewing a citation record or list of search results in a supported database (including Web of Science, PubMed, Google Scholar).

The Web Importer will bring in citation information, and where possible, the pdf. Be aware that the Web Importer may not always bring in all citations from your results list and/or may bring in incomplete citation information.


Web Importer

In some citation databases, such as our ProQuest databases, the Mendeley Web Importer does not work well. In that case, look for an option like Export / Save Citation, then save or export the citation in RIS format. Depending on the database, either do Direct Export - Open With - Mendeley. Or, save the RIS file and import it into Mendeley by choosing Add New - File(s) from computer.

Get Citations Using Mendeley Search

You can search across the libraries of other Mendeley users to discover new papers on a topic. To do this, go to Search for articles online from the Tools menu of Mendeley Reference Manager. This opens a search in your browser. You can also access Search while using Mendeley from a browser - look for the Search link by Library in the upper right by your name.

Mendeley Search


Use Recommendations from Mendeley

Mendeley's 'suggest' features for discovering new papers are not as robust as they used to be. However, you can still have Mendeley send you a weekly list of papers by setting up notifications in your account settings, or you can choose to disable the weekly list if you don't find it useful.

email notifications