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Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I wrote about the bibliography tool Zotero a while back and I'm excited to share another promising option in this category called Mendeley. It's a bit misleading to refer to these tools as just bibliography tools since they really allow you to do so much more. When I was a doctoral student I used EndNote to keep track of all the articles, book chapters, websites and other references I uncovered in my research and this was a great help in creating an accurately formatted bibliography for my dissertation. But the downside of a tool like EndNote is that it costs money (boo) and it is confined to just a single machine.

Mendeley is free (yeah) and it allows you to sync your list of references across multiple machines. However, that is just the beginning of the great features available with this amazing tool. Mendeley automatically extracts metadata such as title, author, publication, you know, all that stuff you normally have to type in yourself, and creates a new reference in your library. You can access and manage this library online and across multiple machines. You are also able to share your library with others and invite them to annotate the references in your library. Mendeley also supports full text searching of your articles and you can even capture citations directly from the browser, which is incredibly handy considering how so much of the research we do these days is online. You can even create bibliographies right within Word or Open Office.

I still have that same copy of EndNote I purchased when I first became a doctoral student but I don't think I'll be upgrading it anytime soon. Not with alternative options like Mendeley out there.

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