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Citations & Academic Honesty

Learn about plagiarism, how to avoid it, and how to use citation managers to help with your research!


Mendeley logoLike Zotero, Mendeley, created by the publisher Elsevier, is a 'freemium' citation management system that offers platforms for both the web and desktop. Also like Zotero, it offers browser extensions which allow you to cite web pages, articles from electronic journals, newspaper articles and more.

Unlike Zotero, Mendeley also offers a social aspect to citation management, which allows you to collaborate with users from other institutions and to see what other researchers that you follow are reading. It has several advanced features for those looking to get published as well.

For more information on Mendeley, please check out their Videos and Tutorials page.

Mendeley Web Platform

Once you add items to your library in Mendeley, you can access them through either the Web platform or the desktop application. Both work in a similar way. 

When logging into Mendeley on the web, you are first brought to your 'Feed' page, which works as a sort of social media platform for your research work. To access your library, click 'Library' at the top of the page.

Mendeley web platform home page


Once in your library, you can see all of your documents. By selecting individual items, you can see all the bibliographic information as well as the actual PDF of a document, if you imported it from a full-text database.

Imported documents in Mendeley web library


You can organize them into different folders, or star them as 'Favorites.' If you are working in a group with others in Mendeley, you can move documents to those groups as well.

Mendeley web sidebar Mendeley web options for groups and trash

Unfortunately, you cannot cite directly into Word or create a bibliography from the Web platform. However, you can sync your items from both your web and desktop programs to ensure your documents appear in both places.

Mendeley Desktop

Mendeley's desktop application works very similarly to its web platform. Once you log in you will see a list of all of your documents, with the option to select individual documents to add to specific folders, groups or your 'Favorites' list, all of which can be found on the left sidebar. 
List of documents in Library in Mendeley desktop


Mendeley desktop sidebar



One of the several differences in the desktop version of Mendeley is that in addition to a simple keyword search to find docuements, you can also filter your library by various criteria, such as author, your tags and publication.




One of the other major differences between the desktop and web versions of Mendeley is that, unlike in the web version, you can create citations for individual documents or for your whole library. Within the desktop application, you can view your documents in their appropriate citation format by going to 'View' and selecting 'Library as Citations.' Make sure to select the appropriate citation style by selecting 'Citation Style.'

select Library as Citations under the View menu to view documents as citations


You can also add citations directly into your papers by using the Mendeley Cite-O-Matic add-in in Word. The add-in can be found under the 'References' tab. Using the Cite-O-Matic, you can add in-text citations exactly where you need them in your paper by using the 'Insert Citation' button. You can also add your entire bibliography at the end by using the 'Insert Bibliography' button.

Mendeley Microsoft Word plugin

Mendeley Web Importer

Like Zotero, you can add items to your Mendeley library directly from the browser with one click. In Chrome and Firefox, simply download the Mendeley Web Importer to add it to your browser bar.

Mendeley web importer button in Chrome browser

Then, when you want to add an item from your browser, simply click the Mendeley button:

If it is a website, newspaper article, or other item where Mendeley cannot find the appropriate metadata, you will see a pop-up where you can fill in the relevant information, such as url, title, author, publisher, etc.

Pop-up when using Mendeley web importer asking to add bibliographic information

When using the browser extension to add items from an electronic database, the pop-up will already have all the information entered, though you can edit the information. You also have the option to add the actual PDF's of the articles directly into your library, for you to download at your leisure.

Pop-up from Mendeley web importer showing form pre-filled with bibliographic information

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Free citations for almost any citation style
  • Quick citation creation for individual items
  • Can automatically find and cite thousands of titles of academic literature
  • Direct download into Microsoft Word using Word plugin
  • Can create and export entire bibliography
  • Can save and organize documents for the future
  • Syncs between desktop and web platforms
  • 2GB of personal library storage
  • Use tags and folders to organize your citations
  • Create notes about specific citations
  • Pulls metadata from PDF'd articles, websites, videos and more
  • Can save entire full-text PDF's of articles in your library
  • Premium services cost extra
  • Auto-cite feature does not work for every source
  • Must pay to upgrade storage and collaborate with large groups