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Mendeley - Manage and Share your Research: Adding References

A quick guide on how to use Mendeley to keep track of your research, to quickly and easily cite while writing and how to share your research.

Adding References in Mendeley


Another way you can import citation through your web browser is by using the Mendeley Web Importer. The Mendeley Web Importer allows you to import citations directly into Mendeley and depending on the database/website you are visiting on your web browser, it can also download and import the full-text PDFs into Mendeley, if your internet bandwidth is generous enough. 

First make sure that the Mendeley Web Importer is installed. Head to the database of your choice. Click on the Mendeley icon in your browser.

A popup window will appear, and login to your Mendeley account. Check the relevant boxes to save the citation you want. If the full-text PDF is available, it will download the PDF too.



You can also use Mendeley Web Importer to save citations of the websites you have visited. To add the citation of the website to your Mendeley library, just click on Mendeley extension icon your web browser when you are on the webpage. You may have to fill in the details of the webpage if Mendeley Web Importer is unable to read the metadata of the webpage.



Note that the web importer does not work for all databases. There will be times when Mendeley will not be able to download the full-text PDF or it does not recognize the citation information and regards it is a website.

Mendeley can automatically detect metadata for PDFs, provided it has a DOI number and it has been OCRed on your computer. Simply drag a PDF or a folder containing multiple PDFs into Mendeley to add it to your library. Do note that you have to be online when you import the PDFs. Mendeley will automatically retrieve the citation information for the item you just imported.



If you have an issue dragging and dropping PDFs or folders, you can also import PDFs/folders by clicking the Add File or Add Folder option in the top left of Mendeley and select the PDFs/folders you want to import into Mendeley.



Please ensure that the citation information is accurate once you have imported the PDFs/Folder.

Setting up a Watch Folder in Mendeley is one of the most versatile ways of quickly importing documents. Simply drop PDFs in the folder and Mendeley will import them automatically for you

To setup a Watch Folder:

  1. Select the 'Watch Folder' option from the add files menu in the main toolbar and browse to the folder containing the documents you're interested in.



        2. Mendeley will add each document to your library, scanning each one for useful details such as title, author and journal.

        3. Any subsequent documents added to the folder will automatically be visible in Mendeley.

Mendeley can also import citations using .RIS files. Most of the databases that NUS Library subscribes to have the ability to export citations into .RIS files which can be imported by a number of citation managers. These citation managers include EndNote, Zotero and Mendeley.

To import .RIS files, first head to the database and export/save (depending on the database) citation information of the articles you want into a .RIS file. Open Mendeley, select File and then choose import. Select RIS - Research Information System and find the .RIS file that you have downloaded. The citations will be imported into Mendeley.

You can also add references manually with Mendeley. Click on Add Entry Manually first.


A window will popup, just fill in the relevant details and save the entry.

With Mendeley, you can also import references by using the DOI/PMID number of the journal article. First click on Add Entry Manually option on the top left of Mendeley.



A new window will popup, just key in the DOI/PMID number and click on the magnifying glass button and Mendeley will retrieve the citation information.

In Mendeley, you can also add related references using what is already inside your Mendeley library.

First, select two to three references that are of a similar topic in your Mendeley Library that you want to use as a basis to search.

Next, click on the Related button to search for related articles   

Articles that are related to the references you selected should appear. Just select the article you want and click on Save References

One of the easiest way to add references in Mendeley is to use the in-built literature search to search for journal articles. Take note, unless you are using Mendeley Premium Version, using the in-built literature search does not provide you with the full-text of the article you are looking for.

First, open up Mendelay Standalone and click on Literature Search on the left, type the keywords that you are searching for and select the article that you want to save. Click on Save Reference on the right on the article you want and the citation information will be saved into your Mendeley Library.


Collecting References and Checking for Accuracy

Mendeley automatically identifies content, allowing you to add it to your library with a single click. Before you start collecting citations, it is important to understand:

1. How to check citations for accuracy; and

2. How to make changes to the references

Checking Citations for Accuracy

Although, most of the citation information that Mendeley captures will be correct, it is always a good idea to check every item's metadata for accuracy and then to correct and/or add data. Take note that, "Mendeley will accurately import the metadata but the metadata may not be accurate."

After adding a citation, fire up Mendeley Standalone and choose the citation you want to check and edit.

After which, make the necessary changes to ensure that the citation information is correct on the right of the Mendeley Standalone as seen below:


Note: When importing references

Do note that when you import references into Mendeley, the reference will automatically be inserted into the Mendeley repository that can be searched by other Mendeley users.

If you do not want to include the reference into the Mendeley repository, you can follow these steps.

First, select the reference that you do not want to include into the Mendeley repository.

Next, check the option Unpublished work - exclude from Mendeley Web Catalog and the reference will not be included in the repository.