Day Eighteen - Mendeley Digital January

Welcome to Day Eighteen of Digital January. Featured tool today is Mendeley, a means of creating fully-formatted references in a variety of referencing standards from web-based content such as eJourmals, eBooks and websites.

If you've got a moment and you're enjoying Digital January - and time is running out to make your views known - why not give us some feedback on our Padlet (and see Day Three for an introduction to Padlet).

What does it do?

If you're a student completing an assessment of some form, the chances are that it'll need citations to be added, and also a reference list or bibliography. Students tend to tackle this in one of two ways - they write references by hand or they add references automatically using an online tool.

Automatic generation of references can done using a variety of tools. The one provided to all students by the University of Dundee is EndNote - powerful and effective, but also potentially complex and requiring a degree of training in order to use it effectively. Other free, web-based tools are also available including Zotero and, our subject today, Mendeley.

Mendeley is free to all, and works primarily with web-based resources. It can be downloaded and will work on your desktop or laptop to create references automatically from the source document or webpage. You can also organize and search your personal reference library, add notes to documents and 'cite as you write' by dropping references into your Word documents as you construct them.

To use Mendeley you download the Mendeley Desktop which contains all the tools you need to gather references, manage or organise them and create citations and reference lists according to the preferred referencing standard you're working with. The reference libraries you create remain 'in the cloud' and are therefore accessible to you anywhere in the world, and on any device. There are additional tools and 'plugins' available, but the standard version of Mendeley works fine without needing any of these initially.

Elsevier, the company that provide Mendeley, are trying to foster a community of users in Higher Education, particularly within the research community. To this end, they offer access to the Mendeley community via an internal social media platform, open access to datasets gathered during research and even a careers and job search facility.

To get a flavour of Mendeley's likely application (and to see how easy it is to get started) here is a basic video introduction (5 minutes);

When would you use it?

Students would naturally use Mendeley for referencing assessments or for keeping track of a body of research articles, books and websites. Staff would use it for similar reasons - perhaps to reference research articles, conference papers or internal documents. The chief advantage of Mendeley over Endnote is that it is simpler to set up and use, and integrates seamlessly with your web browser, although the range of features is smaller than that of Endnote.

A really useful overview from a student on the different web-based referencing tools is available here - a case is made for the Zotero tool, which we will undoubtedly feature in future

How do you access it?

You can access Mendeley via the website here - and it's free!

You can also access it as an App for Android and Apple smart devices.

Where can you get help to use it?

Elsevier (the company who provide Mendeley) offer a comprehensive suite of short videos, available by clicking here;

Alternatively you can see everything in 5 minutes via a sequence of snappy, short videos. After the first one below stops playing, the second one will start, and so on.

What Digital Literacy skills will Mendeley help you to develop?

The University of Dundee has a Digital Literacies Framework which sets out what sort of digital skills you should have, whether you're a student or a staff member. It's unlikely you'll have all the skills contained in the Framework (yet!), but this project can help you get started in developing some new ones. To see the Framework click here and click on Digital Literacies Framework at Dundee University to download a copy.

Using a referencing tool such as Mendeley to organise your research library is an aspect of DIMENSION 4 - Manage & communicate information as outlined in the Framework.



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