Associate Librarian for the College of Marine Sciences, the School of Geosciences, and the Patel College of Global Sustainability. USF Tampa Library Research & Instruction

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Matt Torrence - USF Libraries
Office LIB 112, USF Tampa Library
(813) 974-2779


This guide will help you get started with the citation management software Mendeley.

What is Mendeley?


Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research in your field. Mendeley is a great organization tool for those who have accumulated a large number of PDF files during the research process. Using Mendeley, you can extract metadata from your PDFs which will allow you to index and organize your collection for easy searching and citing. Mendeley is a desktop application but also has an online component so you'll need to download the software onto your computer in order to get started. M



  • Cross-platform: Mendeley Desktop has full support for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  • Secure backup: Any documents synced in the desktop client will be backed up on the web.
  • Mobile devices: Read papers anywhere with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
  • Install on multiple computers: Install Mendeley on multiple computers and access your entire library.


  • Full text search: Mendeley Desktop creates a fully searchable database of your papers.
  • Mendeley Web Importer: Mendeley automatically extracts metadata from the papers you import.
  • Highlight and annotate: Organize your own notes and highlights and share them with others.
  • Flexible organization: Groups, tags, and filters let you organise your way.


  • Research collaboration: Use research groups to collaborate with your peers and colleagues.
  • Trends and statistics: Get real-time readership statistics and view trends in your research area.
  • Track your own publications: Find out how many people are reading and downloading your own research.
  • Related research: Get personalized suggestions on interesting papers to read.


  • Microsoft Word / Open Office: Our plugins let you easily insert bibliographies into your documents.
  • BibTeX / Endnote / RIS: Mendeley Desktop can import and export all these formats and more.
  • Zotero / CiteULike: Mendeley Desktop can sync with your Zotero or CiteULike libraries.
  • Mendeley API: Our API allows 3rd parties to build applications using Mendeley's data.

(from Mendeley's Features page)

Mendeley has both an ONLINE and a DESKTOP side to its application.

The desktop client is a free download and will allow you to store, organize, and manage your PDFs. It also provides an easy way to read and annotate them.

The online site has the same information but does not store the full PDFs (it will give you links to find them in the library); the online site also has extensive social networking features that make it easy to find researchers, groups, and papers you might be interested in and add them to your library or your contacts. Both versions of Mendeley automatically sync with each other, so you never have to worry that a paper you added to the desktop version isn't in the web version (or vice versa).