Mendeley: where academic research meets the cloud

The world of academia and research thrives on organization and collaboration. And when it comes to keeping your research, notes, journals and other documents in order, Mendeley is just the service you need.

It’s cloud-based, allowing you to not just back up and sync your research library online and across multiple computers via the cross-platform Mendeley Desktop tool and Mendeley (Lite) for iPhone and iPad, but you can also collaborate with others, too, thanks to the tools it provides in conjunction with its group sharing capabilities.

The simplest way to use the service is via its own dedicated Mendeley Desktop tool for Windows, Mac or Linux. Once signed up for a free account, which gives you 1GB storage space (500MB personal, and 500MB for sharing with others), simply drag and drop documents of various types into the program for archiving and organizing as you see fit. Alternatively, you can add files and folders the old fashioned way, or select folders to watch, making it easy to add future content to your library.


You don't need to be an academic or researcher to use Mendeley.

Once in the library, you can organize documents into folders and sub-folders, assign them to groups for peer review and collaboration, and more besides. Individual documents will have metadata assigned to them, either from the original document or automatically if a match is found online at various academic indexes. All data can then be edited manually if required.

Documents can be viewed within Mendeley itself, and you can highlight passages or add notes for your own use or for others if collaborating. Additional notes about the document can also be recorded separately.

Your research library is automatically backed up and synced online, allowing you to access it from any computer, either via its own copy of Mendeley Desktop, or through your web browser at the Mendeley web portal. You can also access your research while on the move through your iPad or iPhone.

Although geared towards academics and researchers, Mendeley can be used in other environments too -- this writer found it quite useful for cataloguing articles he’s written, for example.

Mendeley Desktop is a free-for-personal-use download for Windows, Mac or Linux. Mendeley Lite runs on iPhone and iPad. A free account is required, with extra storage and features available as paid-for upgrades.

Photo Credit: Steven Chiang/Shutterstock

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