For my fourth library technology recommendation for the University of New Zealand, I want to return to the students and focus on a reference management system for our library, Mendeley.
Mendeley is a programme designed for research that helps you store articles and lets you discover the latest research – based on what you are currently studying or reading. Aaron Tay writes two posts recommending Mendeley, emphasising its usefulness in tracking articles and sharing resources with similarly-minded people. It was started by three PHD students, frustrated in the lack of tools to share, organise and find new resources easily and now has millions of users and an application for handheld devices.
To understand Mendeley, I have attached an article by Alison Hicks to help you understand the basic functions, pricing plans and the thought process behind it. Recently, it has expanded to include social aspects with groups and research interests able to be listed on your profile and it now gives you the ability to add people and share resources. Sian Harris also details its growth and merge with Swets to integrate with library holdings and their provision of usage analysis to the libraries that integrate with it, benefiting us as well.
Mendeley is something that our institution should invest in for the student’s sake. It has a relatively cheap institutional edition, loaded with premium features for us to take advantage of and introduce our students to a more refined and thorough tool than Google Scholar. It will not only upskill our staff but also assist students to find articles, literature and studies for their assessments. They can import citations and share them with others with similar interests and in comparison to its counterparts like Zotero, it is more user-friendly, writes Drew Thomas, highlighting the ability to read documents, highlight sections and also the user interaction and ability to log in from different devices and manage a lot of the work involved from anywhere.
Mendeley is not the necessarily the best reference management system out there and Joeran Beel has carried out a comprehensive comparison on the three most common systems with Mendeley’s main faults being the price and the lack of open source software.
However, the reason I have chosen to recommend Mendeley as our reference management software is because of several key reasons pointed out by Beel and backed up by April Lawrence. It is both a management system and a recommender system, enabling our students to find other research more quickly and share their own discoveries. The social media aspect would attract our students and encourage higher usership, while the app makes it easier to access regularly and understand for the upcoming generations of students. This would be a worthwhile investment from the University of New Zealand and encourage our students to broaden their research horizons and lead to better results for them and us, as an institution.