Some months ago, I was looking for software to manage the papers I had been consulting for a large group project I had been working on. At the time, the best (aka cheap or free!) available options where either for Mac or Linux, nothing for Windows.
Mac users have an award winning software application called Papers (not free) that is all the rage or even Yep (free?), the Linux gang have some options like Referencer that did a decent job of organizing and downloading metadata for the files. But Windows users were stuck with… well, expensive software packs like Endnote. Oh, and maybe Zotero that is a Firefox addon.
Mendeley is still in closed beta but it is already packing a punch with some features that make it much more than just a paper manager. In their words:
Mendeley Desktop helps you to manage your research papers as easily as MP3s. When you import your research papers (in text PDF format), Mendeley Desktop will try to automatically extract the metadata (authors, title, journal, etc.), thus giving you a hand in setting up your digital library. In the next versions, we will also introduce Microsoft Word integration, OCR for converting your image PDFs, sharing and collaboration features, and exciting 3D visualizations of your library.
But Mendeley Desktop is just the starting point to get more out of your research papers. In the coming weeks and months, Mendeley Web will begin to provide you with personalized reading recommendations, statistics about your own publications, up-and-coming topics in your academic discipline, a network of fellow researchers, and much more
One of the cool features here is that there is a Desktop and a Web component that leverage the strengths of each platform. It will be interesting to see how the collaborative features in Mendeley Web work.
I’ve just began to use the software today so I can’t really get into any technical issues I may have noticed, but from what I’ve seen so far, it looks great. The user interface is functional and the overall design is also quite pleasant, on both Mendeley Desktop and Web.
The friendly folks at Mendeley have given me access to beta test their reference management application along with
20 no more invites for my readers. If you are interested in being a beta tester, feel free to comment below and I’ll send out invites first come, first served.
I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more about Mendeley in the near future as the features start rolling out. Meanwhile, take a look at this demo (youtube) and let me know what you think about this app.