• How-To: Using Mendeley

    by Alan Batt. Last modified: 31/01/14


    What is Mendeley?

    Mendeley is a free reference management software package, used to manage bibliographies and references when writing essays and articles.

    Adding References

    There are several ways to add a reference to a library: manually, exporting & importing from other programs.

    Exporting Citations from Databases

    Most databases such as PubMed, CINAHL etc. allow users to export references to their Mendeley libraries. This enables the user to select multiple citations and saves the user from having to manually enter the citation information and the abstracts. It is also possible to search library catalogs and databases such as PubMed from within the program itself.

    Exporting from PubMed

    To the right of the abstract, you will see a drop-down menu titles “Send to:”. Select Citation manager from the menu, and click on “Create File“. This will download a file called citations.nbib which is compatible with Mendeley. This can be imported through the File>Import setting in Mendeley or you can drag & drop.


    Exporting from CINAHL

    To the right you will see a  menu title called “Export“. Select Direct Export in RIS Format, and click on “Save“. This will download a file called deliver.ris which is compatible with Mendeley. This can be imported through the File>Import setting in Mendeley or you can drag & drop.


    Exporting from Journals

    Because every journal site has a different layout, these are only general instructions using the AHA journal Circulation as an example journal. The best way to export from most journals is to see if there is a PubMed option for viewing the abstract, and then using the export from PubMed instructions above. In the journal Circulation for example, to the right of the abstract you will see a  menu title called “Services“. Select Download to citation manager, and you will be transferred to a new page. This tells you to select one of the formats on the menu in the right, for Mendeley click on on “Mendeley Ris format (Mac & Win)“. This will download a file called endnote-citations.ris which is compatible with Mendeley. This can be imported through the File>Import setting in Mendeley or you can drag & drop.


    Watched folders

    Mendely can “watch” selected folders, ensuring that every PDF article you add to these folders is automatically scanned, and it’s citation is added to your database.



    File Organizer

    You can also elect to allow Mendeley to organise your imported documents, using the File Organizer option. This will rename PDF files to a name including date, author, title etc. This can be useful if you plan to share your library with other users.


    Importing Documents into Mendeley

    Adding citations using Word or OpenOffice

    Videos courtesy Mendeley Training Youtube Channel

    Further Information & Training Videos



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    Alan Batt

    Alan Batt

    Paramedic, educator, researcher
    Alan is a critical care paramedic, paramedic educator and prehospital researcher, currently working around the world as an educator and researcher. He has previously worked and studied across Europe, North America and the Middle East. He holds a Graduate Certificate in Intensive Care Paramedic Studies, and an MSc in Critical Care. His main interests are in care of the elderly, end-of-life care, patient safety, professionalism (including role and identity), and paramedic education.

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