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Mendeley: Build Your Research Library

This guide will help you use the online citation, research management, and collaboration tool Mendeley.

Build Your Mendeley Library

There are many easy ways to add documents and/or citations to your Mendeley account.  The steps for the following are below. 

Very important note: 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 If you don't want a citation (e.g., unpublished papers, personal manuscripts) in your personal Mendeley library to be added to the crowd-sourced library, check Unpublished work at the bottom of the document details. 

Import / Drag PDF

A quick and easy way to get citations into your Mendeley Library is to drag PDF files or folders of PDFs into the middle pane of your Mendeley Desktop window. Mendeley will attempt to extract the citation information from the PDFs, and the new citations will show up in under Recently Added. If the extracted citation information is incomplete or missing, the citation will end up in Needs Review.

My Library       

You can also:

  • Add your existing PDF files or folders to Mendelely using the Add Files menu in Mendeley Desktop.
  • Have Mendeley 'watch' certain folders on your computer, then as PDFs are added to these folders they get imported into Mendeley automatically. Choose File - Watch Folder in Mendeley Desktop.

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 Catalog IDs and use the Lookup (magnifying glass).

Export from a Database

In some databases, such as our ProQuest or EBSCO databases, the Save to Mendeley button 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 File - Import (or drag the file into Mendeley Desktop).

You can also import citations from a database with the Web Importer bookmarklet. Just click on the Save to Mendeley button on your bookmarks toolbar when you are viewing a citation record or list of search results in a supported database. As you add the citation(s) to your Library, you can choose to put them in a particular folder.

Add Citations Manually

Under the Files menu or the Add Files drop-down (or Add Document in Mendeley Web), select "Add Entry Manually".

Edit Citation Manually

With any citation generator, the occasional mistake might slip by. To correct records in your Mendeley Desktop library, simply click in the field you wish to update. You can also add tags or author keywords by clicking in the appropriate field. 


Get Citations from Other Mendeley Users

You can search across the libraries of other Mendeley users to discover new papers on a topic. To do this, use the Literature Search option in Mendeley Desktop:

Literature Search

or you can click the magnifying glass in Mendeley Web to get to a Papers search:

Screenshot showing Mendeley Papers Search

See these Advanced Searching Tips for searching your Library or the Mendeley catalog.

Using Mendeley Suggest

Mendeley users who are part of Webster University's program can try out "Mendeley Suggest" on the Mendeley web platform which suggests new papers based on your library. Try it today by clicking "Suggest" on the main navigation menu.