Mendeley the Last.fm for academia

Mendeley was created with a minimalized social aspect in mind, this is because often scientist are afraid of social networks. By offering a good organizing tool scientist might be more eager to start using the software and the social features that come with it.

Mendeley is based upon the Last.fm model, it exists of a desktop and a web application. Simply put the desktop application allows you to organize your research files like you would organize your music files. You can create collections, rename, search, tag, …

The application has a science scrobbler which extracts metadata from your files and add it to Mendeley’s database. This speeds up the process of analyzing data like citation. To make the life of a researchers easier Mendeley also offers plug-ins for Word and OpenOffice which allow the user to automatically generate reference lists.

Mendeley is not all about social networking but it’s got some great social features. The desktop application recommends related papers to the ones in your library. And if you choose to share your research, Mendeley offers some nice social features. You can share what you are reading and recommendations. Next to these features Mendeley offers collaboration. Once you share a collection of papers  you can collaborate: you can edit, annotate(commenting) and insert citations to a document.

Next to the desktop application which allows you to synchronize your library at every computer, there is a web application. The online access offers you to create your own profile but most importantly it allows you to manage your library, view statistics about trends in Mendeley’s database, your library and your  publications. The statistics are visualized mostly like they are on a Last.fm profile, trends are easy to spot. The online account makes it possible for the user to sync citations from CiteULike. There is a webimporter to import documents from a large amount of websites, this is of course a great research tool.

Mendeley seems to be a great success, I think this success is mainly because of the scrobbling model from Last.fm. Offering scientists a great and easy way to organize their research will make them more eager to use the software. This also means they might be triggered to use some of the social features offered. It also seems to be a fast way to add papers to a repository, when we look at open repositories people are hesitant to upload their papers because of the complexity or high effort rate to do this. The desktop application makes this process easier but it helps the researcher in his activities. Mendeley tries to addresses the problem of getting researchers to share but doesn’t offer any groundbreaking social features.

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One Response to “Mendeley the Last.fm for academia”

  1. Bram Says:

    gerelateerde post, gisteren veschenen:

    http://hangingtogether.org/?p=740

    Library standpunt over mendeley

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