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Mendeley - Beyond the Basics

Building Your Mendeley Library

Below we have listed several different ways to add references to your Mendeley library, and you may find some of these methods fit well with the way you search for information. However, if you would like the references in your library to include the PDFs, the most efficient way of adding them is to first download the PDFs of the references you need, and drag and drop the PDFs into your library (see Mendeley Beginner's Guide).

When a reference is imported to Mendeley from a database search, the record will contain only the reference details, and not the PDF. PDFs can be downloaded separately and attached later. (see Adding PDFs)
  • Once you have completed a search in a database, you can select the relevant references and export them (Step 1).
  • Once you have the export file, this can be imported into your Mendeley library (Step 2).
  • If you are searching Scopus, see Adding References from Scopus.
  1. Most databases will have an ‘export’ or ‘send to citation manager’ option. Go through your search results, and select the articles you wish to export. Then find the export button. The example below is for the Ovid databases:
    Mendeley - Ovid export link
  2. Depending on the database, you may be presented with some options before you export the information.

    The file types compatible with Mendeley include: BibTex (.bib), RIS (.ris), or PubMed files (.nbib). Select one of these if you have the option. If possible, choose an option that allows to export as much information as possible, e.g. ‘complete reference’ or ‘citation and abstract’ instead of just ‘citation’.

    Once you have made your selections, export the information. The example below is for the Ovid databases:

    Mendeley - Ovid export options
  3. The way your computer handles the file is determined by your browser settings. If you are prompted to save or open the file, save it to a location on your computer you will remember (such as Downloads).

    If you are not prompted, the file should be saved to your Downloads folder automatically. If you have EndNote installed on your computer, it may open automatically when you download the file. If this happens, close EndNote; the file will still be available in your Downloads folder.

  4. Follow the importing instructions to add the file to your library.
Check our specific database guides, or please contact us if you have any questions about exporting from databases.

When exporting from Google Scholar, it may be more beneficial to open the result/s you require, download the PDF/s and drag and drop into Mendeley (see Mendeley beginner's guide). This adds the reference details, as well as the abstract (where available) and PDF, to your Mendeley library. Whereas the steps below will only include the basic reference details.

There are two other options for exporting from Google Scholar: You can export individual RIS files (as below), or you can use the Mendeley Web Importer.

To export a RIS file from Google Scholar:

  1. Begin by clicking on the cite icon:
    Mendeley - Google Scholar cite icon
  2. Then select RefMan from the list of export options:
    Mendeley - Google Scholar export options
  3. Follow the importing instructions to add the file to your library.

Once you have exported a BibTex (.bib), RIS (.ris), or PubMed (.nbib) file from a library database, you can import the file into your Mendeley library.

  1. In your Mendeley library, click on the Add icon in the top left corner:
    Mendeley - Add icon
  2. Navigate to the location you saved the export file (usually the Downloads folder)
  3. Find the export file (it may help to sort the folder by Date modified)
  4. Double-click on the file you wish to import:
    Mendeley - Import
  5. This will add your exported references into your Mendeley library
It is always important to check the details of the new Mendeley references to ensure they are correct and complete.

Because Mendeley and Scopus are both owned by Elsevier, you can send your Scopus search results to Mendeley more smoothly.

  1. Log in to Scopus using your Mendeley login:
    Mendeley - Scopus login
  2. Go through your search results, and select the articles you wish to export.
  3. Click on the Export button at the top of your search results:
    Mendeley - Scopus export select
  4. Select Mendeley as the export option, and click Export:
    Mendeley - Scopus export
  5. This will add the selected references to your Mendeley library. You will see a confirmation message at the top of your search results:
    Mendeley - Scopus export confirmation message
  6. You may need to Sync your Mendeley Library for the new references to appear:
    Mendeley - Sync

The Mendeley Web Importer is a tool you can add to your web browser to import references directly into your library. The Web Importer reads the webpage you are viewing, and can identify references from the screen. It doesn’t work with all webpages, but works well with Google Scholar, some databases, and websites with simple lists of articles.

Installing Mendeley Web Importer

To install the Web Importer:

  1. Open Mendeley Desktop, click Tools, and select Install Web Importer.
    Mendeley - Tools menu
  2. This will take you to the Mendeley website. Follow the instructions to install the Web Importer for your preferred browser.
Mendeley Web Importer typically works best with Google Chrome.
Using Mendeley Web Importer
  1. On a webpage that includes the details of a reference, such as a list of Google Scholar results, click on the Mendeley icon in the top right of your browser:
    Mendeley - Browser Web Importer icon
  2. You may be prompted to sign in. Enter your Mendeley account details, and click Sign in.
  3. The Web Importer will show a list of articles from the webpage you are viewing. This will not work for all websites.
    Tick the boxes next to the articles you would like to import, and click Save.
    Mendeley - Web Importer select
  4. This will add the selected references to your Mendeley library.
    Each time you go to a new page of results, you will need to reopen the Web Importer
    If PDFs are available for your chosen articles, they will be added to your library by default.
    To turn off this feature, deselect Download PDFs if available.
  5. If you have Mendeley Desktop open, you will need to sync to import the references:
    Click the Sync button in the Mendeley toolbar.
    Mendeley - Sync icon
    It is always important to check the details of the new Mendeley references to ensure they are correct and complete.

Click here to see some examples of the Web Importer being used with other webpages:

If you have a printed article that you want to add to your Mendeley library, you can add it quickly by using the DOI. You can also do this for online articles, but for these it may be simpler to download the PDFs, and drag and drop them into your Mendeley library.

Often articles will have a DOI somewhere on the first page (it may be in the form of a URL):

Mendeley - DOI number on article
Almost all articles published within the past 5 years should have a DOI (but some still won’t). The older an article is, the less likely it is to have a DOI. Contact us if you are unsure. If a DOI is not present, it would be better to find the article online and import the references to your Mendeley library using the PDF or a RIS file.

To add the article to your library:

  1. First, check you have the correct DOI format for Mendeley. DOIs that are URLs are not compatible with DOI Lookup. However, it is easy to convert them: just remove the prefix. For example:
    • https://doi.org/10.5056/jnm16087 becomes 10.5056/jnm16087
    • https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2017.09.023 becomes 10.1016/j.aap.2017.09.023
  2. Click on the dropdown menu next to the Add Files button in the top left of Mendeley Desktop, and select Add Entry Manually:
    Mendeley - Add manual entry
  3. Scroll down to the DOI field in the manual entry template:
    Mendeley - Add manual entry, DOI field
  4. Type or paste in the DOI and click on the magnifying glass. Mendeley will locate the article information, and fill in the fields for you. Once you are finished, click Save:
    Mendeley - DOI Lookup