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What is a citation manager?

Citation management software allows you to collect, organize, cite, and share your research citations. 

Some of these are standalone programs or apps; some function as add-ons, plug-ins, or extensions for other programs (for your browser and/or your word processor).  Some of these are available as freeware and others require that you pay for a license.

Wikipedia has a page here comparing many of the different citation managers. 

One example of a licensed citation manager is EndNote.

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What is Mendeley?

Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network.  Users can manage and organize their references, create and share annotations, collaborate with other users, and discover new content in their areas of interest.

See the Mendeley Overview for more information about all the features available.

How Does It Work?

As documents are added to a library, Mendeley attempts to detect the bibliographic data (metadata) of the document.  Users can then add any information that is incomplete or missing.  This information can be accessed both online and in the Mendeley Desktop, allowing users to view their library no matter were they are.

A large focus of Mendeley is its academic social networking.  Users are encouraged to create a profile highlighting their own works and research interests, and to connect with others by following individual users as well as public groups.  A user can build their online presence and use the information provided by others to network and collaborate

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Why the Name Mendeley?

The name Mendeley is derived from a combination of Dmitiri Ivanovich Mendelyev, who developed the periodic table of elements, and Gregor Mendel, often called the "father of modern genetics".

The Mendeley blog has the full story on how the name was chosen.


Throughout this UAH Library subject guide page for Mendeley, information came from several different sources.  Chief among those are the Mendeley research guide pages from Michigan State University Libraries (with a shout-out to Suzanne Teghtmeyer for her great documentation!) and also from the Elsevier library subject guide template. 

Ithayakumar, Y. (2015). LibGuides: Copy of Mendeley LibGuide test 2: Home. Retrieved September 14, 2016, from

Teghtmeyer, S., & Emery, K. (n.d.). LibGuides: Mendeley: About Mendeley. Retrieved September 8, 2016, from