Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Mendeley - Organize research, collaborate, and discover new knowledge

I recently attended Dev8D, an event funded by JISC with the aim of bringing together developers from higher education and other sectors in order to learn from one another and ultimately create better, smarter technology for research.

Part of the event included Expert Sessions where latest developments and solutions were presented. Amongst these was an overview of Mendeley - a free research management tool for desktop and web that has been described as a fusion of and iTunes for research papers!

Mendeley allows researchers to manage their libraries by automatically extracting metadata from researcher papers (in PDF format) which can then be used to create citations and bibliographies. Full-text searches are also supported and users can 'mark up' documents with comments on specific sections. But the real power of Mendeley lies in the social networking features and collective data gathered from users. Groups of like minded researchers can be created for sharing and collaboratively tagging and annotating research papers. The service also provides statistics about research papers, authors and topics allowing users to get recommendations and explore research trends.

The growth in users has been staggering since its release in 2008 - currently there are approximately 8000 institutions using Mendeley with 22,000 research groups collaborating and over 18,000,000 documents in people's libraries! It is quickly becoming one of the largest academic databases around and with funding recently secured from JISC and Europe, Mendeley propose to allow institutions to harvest documents deposited by their academics.

If you'd like to take a closer look, you can sign up and download Mendeley for free.

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