Skip to Main Content

Mendeley - Beyond the Basics

Organising and Editing Your References

Whenever you add references to your Mendeley library, regardless of the source, there is a chance some information will be missing or incorrect. There are a couple of ways that Mendeley can assist you with editing these references:

  • Update Details

    • For any reference in your library, you can right-click on the record, and click Update Details:
      Mendeley - Update Details
    • Using this feature, Mendeley can occasionally add or correct information in the reference. If this doesn’t work, you can try DOI Lookup or manually edit the reference.
    As with any automatic feature, use this with caution, and double-check the changes. If you have previously corrected something in a reference, using Update Details may cause the corrected information to revert back to what it was originally. Depending on where Mendeley finds the information, Update Details can make incorrect changes.
  • DOI Lookup

    • In a similar way to using the DOI to add a reference, you can use the DOI to find missing or incorrect details.
      • DOIs can usually be found on the first page of an article, or at the top of an article’s webpage:
        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.
    • To edit the reference in 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:
        • becomes 10.5056/jnm16087
        • becomes 10.1016/j.aap.2017.09.023
      2. Scroll down to the DOI field in the record:
        Mendeley - DOI number field
      3. If there is already a DOI entered, make sure it is in the correct format, and click on the magnifying glass.
      4. If the field is empty, type or paste in the DOI and click on the magnifying glass.
        Mendeley - DOI number field entry
      5. Mendeley will then try to find the details that match the DOI, and change the reference accordingly:
        You will see a message saying Lookup Succeeded or Lookup Failed.
        Mendeley - DOI number lookup success
        In this example, not every field has been populated. This is because the article is an ‘ahead of print’ online publication. If you have any questions about the way your Mendeley references look, please contact us.
        As with any automatic feature, use this with caution, and double-check the changes.
      6. If this doesn’t work, you can try Update Details or manually edit the reference.

You can create folders within folders in your Mendeley library for an extra level of organisation.

To do this:

  1. Right-click on an existing folder, and select New Folder:
    Mendeley - New folder
  2. Give the folder a name, and press Enter on your keyboard:
    Mendeley - New folder name
  3. You can create nested folders up to 8 folders deep.

This functionality has numerous applications, for example:

Mendeley - New folder example 1
Mendeley - New folder example 2

All of the records you file into sub-folders will also appear in their parent folders

You can add articles to the Favourites folder (in the My Library pane on the left) by clicking on the star next to any reference:

Mendeley - Add to favourites

This could be used in one of a number of different ways, for example: identifying articles you have cited already, picking your most relevant results for a topic, identifying NZ references, identifying research you would like to comment on or explore further, identifying articles published by a specific research team, and so on.

You can apply tags to your references, and search for them using filters. Tags are terms that you apply to a record to identify it as belonging to a particular group, or being on a certain topic.

It is best to use tags that are a unique string of characters. For example, you could tag all the articles on the topic of asthma with ‘TAGasthma’, rather than just ‘asthma’. This makes searching for your tags easier.

To add a tag:

  1. Click on a record, and find the Tags field in the Details pane:
    Mendeley - Add tags
  2. Click just below the Tags heading, and type the tags you have chosen. If you are adding multiple tags, separate them with a semicolon.
  3. Once you have entered a tag once, it will appear as a suggested option when you begin typing a tag for another reference.
When inserting Mendeley citations into a Word document, you can search for the tags you have applied. This may help you easily identify the relevant literature you want to cite. Using a unique string of characters, as mentioned above, makes this easier.

You can filter your Mendeley library by your tags, or by author names, author keywords, and publications.

  1. You will find the filter options in the bottom left corner of Mendeley. Select Filter by My Tags from the drop-down menu to display the tags you have applied:
    Mendeley - Filter by my tags
  2. Clicking on a tag will then display the articles which have been assigned that tag. Click Clear to return to viewing your whole library:
    Mendeley - Filtered tagged list

You can manually add PDFs to references in your Mendeley library. You may have references without PDFs if you have made a manual entry (for a report or book chapter, for example), or if you have imported records from a database.

  1. Once you have saved the PDF to your computer, click on the record in your library, scroll down the Details pane on the right until you reach the Files field, and click Add Files…
    Mendeley - Add PDF
  2. You can then locate the PDF where you have saved it on your computer, and click Open to add it to the record:
    Mendeley - Add PDF file
If you already have the reference in your Mendeley library, it is best to add the PDF this way, rather than dragging and dropping the PDF, to avoid duplication.

In addition to the notes you can add to a PDF (see beginner's guide), you can also write general notes for a reference.

You could use this functionality to identify recurring themes, add critical appraisal notes, note the date of access, and more.

  1. Select the reference you want, and go to the Notes pane next to Details
  2. You can then type your notes. They are automatically saved.
  3. If you have added notes within the PDF (referred to as Private Annotations), you can also see those here. You can click on the PDF notes to navigate to the relevant sections in the PDF:
    Mendeley - Add notes