How to create your own research library

How to Create Your Own Research Library

There are three main free pdf file managers online for storing and managing your research.

  1. Mendeley
  2. Zotero
  3. OneNote

Of the three I have found Mendeley to be the easiest to use.

All give you 2Gb free online storage and with 4000+ articles in my personal library I have only utilized 1.3Gb, so 2Gb is ample.

Setting up an account with Mendeley is simple on the home page and there are excellent tutorial video’s on how to set it up and use here. 

Mendeley Guides and Tutorial Video’s   

Folders can become large and unwieldy quickly so create a new folder for every topic and sub-folders if you want to be uber organized! 

During the initial setup the most important step is to click and drag the web importer “Save to Mendeley” up to your web browser tool bar at the top. Mendeley will show you what to do during the initial setup.

How to Add an Article to Your Library

The articles in each  of the folders are sorted from newest to oldest. The Hyperlink to the article is either embedded in the articles title if it is Blue (For recent articles) or there is a link below the title in older articles. Most hyperlinks will take you straight to PubMed. All you have to do is click on it.

Now if you like an article and want to save it and you are just starting then you will first need to create a folder in Mendeley on your computer. On the left hand Menu column at the bottom of the folders you will see “Create Folder” Click on it and a blank new folder with a text box will appear. Type in the desired name Eg “Lumbar DDx” and press enter. This folder is now on your computer but not on the Mendeley servers so click on the “Sync” button at the top (double arrow in the shape of a circle). This will upload the folder to Mendeley’s servers.

Next just click on the “Save to Mendeley” button in the tool bar at the top of your web browser which you added previously. A window will appear, login and Mendeley will automatically collect all the metadata on that article. At the top of the pop-up window is “Choose Folders or Groups”, click on it and select the folder you want to archive the article into, then click on save and its done. As your library grows you may want to place an article into more than one folder so click on that box again and select another folder if required. Then press “Save”. If the article is Open Access Mendeley will also download the pdf file. For earlier articles in the Folders most just links are to PubMed only. In the top right corner of the article abstract in PubMed you will see under “Full Text Links” one or more buttons. If it is open access there will be a button there saying Open Access with the publishers Name. There may also be a “PubMed Central” (PMC) button as most free articles will end up there. Click on these first before saving. Saving from this page will also allow Mendeley to grab the free pdf file!. If it is not open access then it just shows the Publishers name and its only the abstract that is available to save!

The more recent articles in the folders have the link to the open access article in the Hyperlink (Pulisher or PMC) so its all done. This will be standard from now on as we are fine tuning the Journal Club as we go!


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