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Mendeley: The Scholar’s Social Network [VIDEO]

4 April 2011 0 Comments

In the 21st century we are becoming increasingly more connected. Facebook and other forms of online networking have made it incredibly easy to keep in touch and collaborate with people across the world. Last.fm, for example, connects users with others with similar tastes in music. These users can then recommend songs or artists to people within their group.  The same approach has now been implemented in a research site called Mendeley, a web-based tool designed to provide ways for scholars with similar research interests to connect with one another, allowing them to share resources, citations, and notes.

In an article titled “Mendeley: Creating Communities of Scholarly Inquiry Through Research” published recently in TechTrends, Rick West and three graduate students (including Holt Zaugg as the lead author), discuss the features of Mendeley in detail. “Mendeley offers a compelling list of features that are highly usable and functional,” the authors explain in the article. “It is user-friendly for technological immigrants, yet savvy enough for Web 2.0 natives seeking to explore the potential that social networks might have for benefiting their scholarship.”

West believes that social networking can save the researcher a lot of time and prevent duplication of effort. “It used to be that you’d go to the library and take notes yourself,” says West. “This same process would be done over and over again by people using the same resources.” Social networking allows users to connect and share their resources and notes with other scholars interested in the same field of knowledge.  In Mendeley, scholars can synch their research citations, pdf versions of the articles, and their notes and highlights between the web and desktop versions of the program. They can also share these citations, articles, and notes with other users in public and private groups.

Signing up for Mendeley is free and simple. Users may access their account anywhere online or find a desktop version available for free download on Mendeley’s homepage. For those interested in learning more about using Mendeley, West also serves as a Mendeley Adviser. Workshops are held once or twice a year, including every January as part of IP&T 750, a class on writing critical literature reviews.

Rick West is an assistant professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology in the McKay School of Education.

4 April 2011

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