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Create Bibliographies

How to use citation managers to collect, organize, cite, and share your references

What Is Mendeley?

Mendeley is a web-based bibliographic manager that also functions as a social networking site for researchers.  While web-based, Mendeley offers a standalone desktop app for organizing and storing your references and related files.  It is popular with professional academics who want to showcase their work, collaborate with colleagues, and organize the information sources on their hard drives.

Features of Mendeley include:

  • Social networking for researchers, including links to co-authors and research interest groups
  • Unique identifiers for authors in the Mendeley community
  • Uploading and storage of files along with references
  • Bibliography formatting and in-text citation in hundreds of styles via Mendeley Cite
  • Annotation of documents, available for your own documents or those shared among your groups

Getting Started with Mendeley

You can sign up for a new, free Mendeley account at  Please note that a free account will grant you 2 GB of online storage space for your documents.  You can pay to upgrade to accounts with larger storage space and improved features.

If you want to store and organize references and documents on your hard drive, you will need to download Mendeley Desktop.  Once you have installed the app, you can download the Web Importer and the plug-in for Microsoft Word from the Tools menu.  You should close all Microsoft Word windows before installing the plug-in.

Adding References to Your Mendeley Library

There are multiple ways to add references to your Mendeley library, including:

  • Add references manually, using the Add button.
  • Use the Web Importer bookmarklet to capture bibliographic information on your web browser screen.  When you are looking at a list of search results from a database or looking at an information source online, just click the Web Importer button in your web browser's toolbar.
  • Drag one or more PDFs from your desktop into the Mendeley app.
  • Import a large number of existing references from another bibliographic manager, usually via an RIS file.

Citing with Mendeley

You can integrate references from your Mendeley library into your document in two ways: using the plug-in for Microsoft Word (which you can download from the Tools tab in the Mendeley desktop app) or sending references to your document from the Mendeley desktop app.

To create in-text citations in a document, follow these steps:

  1. Place your cursor where you wish to add the citation.
  2. Click the References tab in your Word toolbar (if using a Mac, click the Add-Ins tab).
  3. Click Insert Citation.
  4. In the window that opens, enter the title or author of the source you wish to cite and choose the appropriate reference.  Alternatively, you can click Go to Mendeley to choose the references from your Mendeley library.
  5. If necessary, change your citation style from the Style drop-down menu under the References tab.

To create a bibliography of all your cited sources, follow these steps:

  1. Place your cursor where you wish to insert your bibliography.
  2. Click the References tab in your Word toolbar (if using a Mac, click the Add-Ins tab)
  3. Choose your citation style from the Style drop-down menu.
  4. Click Insert Bibliography.  If you want to add more in-text citations after you've created your bibliography, don't worry.  Those sources will be added to your bibliography automatically.

To create a standalone bibliography without in-text citations, follow these steps:

  1. In the Mendeley app, click the references you want to include (Ctrl + click for multiple sources).
  2. Right-click on these references.
  3. Choose Copy As > Formatted Citation.
  4. Paste the references in your document.

Sharing References with Others

You can share references with others by creating a Mendeley group.  To create a group, under the Groups section of the left pane in the Mendeley app, click Create Group.

There, you can name your group and determine your privacy level.

You can drag references from other folders within the Mendeley app to your new group.  When you sync the Mendeley app with your online Mendeley account, other members of the group will be able to see references you've added/edited.


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