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Citation Tools

Guidance for selecting and using common citation tools.

Consider using Mendeley if...

... you often download the full text while researching.

... almost all your sources are books and articles.

... you prefer to annotate/highlight on a PDF rather than have separate notes.

... you like an out-of-the-box tool that is easy and intuitive to learn.

Getting Started with Mendeley

Watch the video for an overview of Mendeley and to see how to create and set up your library. This video also highlights the Mendeley Citation Plugin and how it can save you time while writing your papers.

Setting Up Your Library

Adding Citations

To add citations that you export from databases, be sure to choose the correct file format. For the most commonly used databases, save your citations in the following formats:

  • PubMed - .nbib
  • CINAHL, PsycINFO and other EBSCO Databases - RIS Format
  • ProQuest, Google Scholar - RIS Format 
  • Web of Science - BibTex

Refine Citations List: Folders, Uploading PDFs, and Deduplication

Your Mendeley dashboard has a three-panel layout. The left-hand panel will allow you to create folders and subfolders for organizing your citations list.

Highlight the citation and look within the information that's located in the right-hand panel. Within this panel, you can include tags, URLs, DOIs, and any other details that will make it easier to find the citation again. This is also where you can find the "Files" function that will allow you to upload a PDF for that citation.   

Mendeley Dashboard


Adding citations from multiple databases will ultimately create duplicates in your library. Use the "Check for Duplicates" tool (under the "Tools" menu) to remove these duplicated citations.


Checking for Duplicates

Collaborating with Groups

Using the Group Functionality

There are three types of groups you can join to collaborate with other researchers:

  • Private Groups: allow for small teams to work together and share full-text references, like PDFs. These groups do not appear in the list of Groups on the Mendeley website, and members must be invited to join.
  • Invite-only Groups: much like a closed Facebook group, members must be invited to join, even though the groups are publicly visible on the Mendeley site.
  • Open Groups: are completely public and can be joined by anyone with a Mendeley account.

Refer to the Mendeley guides resource to learn how to set up and join Mendeley groups.

For Further Help

You can contact your library liaison (see the information in the top, left-hand section of this guide) for assistance with your Mendeley account. There are also a number of resources you can access for additional help.