Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Managing references

Do you ever feel disorganized? Don’t know which paper you found so useful earlier? Do you dread the prospect of adding the reference list at the end of your paper or thesis? I felt like that last year. Then someone pointed me to this really useful program, called Mendeley. It helps you manage your pdfs and references and it really pays off if you start using it as early as possible.

Here is why I recommend it:

It’s FREE! (as opposed to EndNote, for example)

It has a lot of useful functions, including a pdf-viewer, the option to mark documents as ‘favorite’, ‘read’ or ‘unread’, or ‘needing review’

It can often extract the reference information from a pdf, such as author, title, year, etc. (Though I recommend reviewing the information of each article when you add it)

Your library is synchronized to an online storage space. When I bought a new laptop, I only had to re-install Mendeley and all my papers were there!

With a Word-plugin, you add citations and when you’re done, you can generate the bibliography with a click of the mouse, matching your preferred citation style! When I’ve done that, I copy the bibliography to WordPad, so that I can make changes (funny things happen when I try doing that in Word) and then I copy it back to Word

In addition there are online features, like groups and paper recommendations based on your library. It’s also useful for collaboration apparently, although I haven’t tried that myself.
That’s not to say that it’s a perfect program yet – they are working to make it better and compared to a year ago, it has improved a lot. Luckily you get the updates for free, and the developers welcome any feedback!

It’s worth trying out this program to see how it can help you. If you have any questions you can e-mail me (efjcv2 [at] cam [dot] ac [dot] uk), since I’m a Mendeley advisor (volunteer position, I have no commercial motivations to promote it!)

On Saturday 29 October at noon, I will be in the Clare Hall meeting room to give a brief demonstration of the program and provide some tips based on my own experience. This would be a good opportunity to ask questions. I would also like to invite people who have used other programs, or anyone who has tips on managing articles and references. Let’s help each other out!

For more information, you can check: (A comparison of Mendeley to other reference managers) (An overview of Mendeley’s features) (Here you can download Mendeley!)

Happy writing!

No comments:

Post a Comment