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Design Project Seminar (Electrical and Computer Engineering): Citing with Mendeley

Reference Manager – Mendeley

Mendeley can help you be more organized with and format your references. It is not perfect. When dragging in a PDF, sometimes the data is wrong and the information needs edited. Sometimes the Save to Mendeley button cannot detect information like title, author, etc. However if you use the tips below, this can make Mendeley the time saver that it is meant to be.

Using Mendeley with Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Citation Style

Mendeley is freely available to everyone. To get started,

  1. Setup a free account at the Mendeley opens new window Web site
  2. Download and install Mendeley Desktop. You will be prompted after creating a user account
  3. Know how to get references into your database
  4. You still need to know your bibliographic style. Citation Style Help on this Guide.
  5. Know how to install and use the Mendeley Plug-ins. Go to Mendeley Plug-ins on this Webpage
    • for Microsoft Word
    • for LibreOffice

Keeping Organized

Keep your references organized by using folders or tags. Use the method you like best. You can make notations in the PDFs in Mendeley Desktop, but the notations in the PDF aren't searchable. The full text of the PDFs are searchable as long as the PDF is not an image.

Use optical character recognition (OCR) software on PDFs that are images. Of course, the resulting PDF will not be perfect. If there is no PDF available, use the notes field in Mendeley.

These tips might help you when you start writing the document.

Mendeley Plug-in

Mendeley has an plug-in that you can use with Microsoft Word and another you can use with LibreOffice. A great advantage is that Mendeley Desktop and the plug-ins are cross-platform. Go to a definition for cross-platform. opens new window

It cannot be guaranteed that this is true for every operating system and every version of Word and LibreOffice. However, it works very well on recent versions of the Mac and Microsoft Word, Ubuntu and LibreOffice, and Windows with Microsoft Word.

Download the plug-in by selecting Tools from the Mendeley Desktop main menu. The software will detect what is installed on your computer. If it is already installed, it will read Uninstall instead of Install.

Formatted in-text references can be inserted using this plug-in. A reference section will be generated at the end of your document as well.

Mendeley Web Importer

Sometimes you don't have a PDF and you want to add an article, book, or another document in Mendeley. Other times, pulling in a PDF works very poorly and the digital object identifier (DOI) button in Mendeley Desktop does not help or actually makes matters worse. It is good to try the Mendeley Web Importer in these cases.

Install the Mendeley Web Importer in your favorite browser. First, select Tools from the Mendeley Desktop menu, then Install Web Importer. The Web page provides instructions about installing.

When using this button, it is likely that you will need to edit some fields in Mendeley. If many fields are missing and there is a DOI, you might be able to use the lookup button beside the DOI field to fill in some additional information. Keep in mind the lookup button does not always help. There are times that it pulls completely incorrect information.

Sometimes the Mendeley Web Importer can't find any bibliographic information. When this happens, you might need to import a RIS file if you can. Otherwise, you might be forced to manually enter the information.

Be Sure to Double Check

Always double check your references for format and accuracy. Sometimes there are import errors or there could be an error in the style definition. Accuracy is important because you want your readers to be able to read what you read...They cannot read it if they cannot find it.

Citation Style Help on this Guide

Mendeley – Journals

Journals from most sources won't need edited. You might need to:

If you have a paper number instead of a range of pages, the easiest course of action is to delete p. or pp. in your citation after you are completely finished with your paper.

Mendeley – Conference Articles

Unfortunately, articles/papers from conferences tend to require more editing because they import so differently from different sources. Mendeley will give the format for published presentations only.

If you use many papers presented at conferences that are not formally published, you might consider using Zotero instead.

With Mendeley, you might need to:

*IEEE Citation style uses sentence case for conference paper titles.

How do I get Theses and Dissertations in Mendeley?

Dragging a PDF of a theses or dissertation into Mendeley Desktop; does not work well. Try using the Mendeley Web Importer with the website you are downloading or found the information. Find out about installing and using the Mendeley Web Importer.

Some examples of places to find theses or dissertations are

You might need to:

For IEEE Citation style, entering the university and department abbreviated would be correct, but you should avoid it if you can. Why should data fields contain text that they were designed to hold?

How do I get Books in Mendeley?

Sometimes the Mendeley Web Importer will work in the library's catalog and sometimes it won't. When it doesn't work, you can enter the book manually, use ZipSearch (Go to How to I get Articles from EBSCO Databases in Mendeley on this webpage), or find the book at the publisher website, such as

If there is not an ISBN, it will assign Reference Type to Journal Article. You might need to:

Find out about installing and using the Mendeley Web Importer.

*IEEE style uses sentence case for chapter titles and title case for book titles.

How do I get Articles from IEEE Xplore in Mendeley?

References are exported from IEEE Xplore using the Save to Mendeley button. Find out about installing and using the Save to Mendeley button.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Journal articles are imported correctly most of the time. Most IEEE conferences import correctly as well; however, the title of the conference might need simplified and a few extra fields might need filled out.

How do I get Patents in Mendeley?

Mendeley Web Importer doesn't work well. It is easiest to drag the PDF into Mendeley Desktop and enter all the information manually.

For IEEE Citation style, "U.S. Patent." will not appear in the citation and the date is formatted wrong in the CSL style sheet. You could enter in the number field, but you should avoid it if you can. Why should data fields contain text that they were designed to hold?

How do I get Standards in Mendeley?

In general, standards are tricky for all citation styles and reference managers because Standard does not have its own reference or document type. Therefore, you must customize another document type like Book Type.

Here is an example of a standard.

Standard for Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications, Part 11, Enhancements for Very High Throughput for Operation in Bands below 6 GHz, Amendment 4, IEEE Std. 802.11ac, 2013.

How do I get Reports in Mendeley?

You can drag a PDF of a report into Mendeley Desktop, but you will likely need to edit the information. If there is a webpage with details about the report, you can try the Mendeley Web Importer. Find out about installing and using the Mendeley Web Importer

You might need to:

For IEEE Citation style, the label "Tech. Rep." and the like will not appear in the citation, but you should avoid it if you can. Why should data fields contain text that they were designed to hold?

*IEEE Citation style uses sentence case for report titles.

How do I get Articles from EBSCO Databases in Mendeley?

Citations can be exported into Mendeley by using the Mendeley Web Importer. Find out about installing and using the Mendeley Web Importer.

Examples of databases that use the EBSCO interface are:

How do I get Articles from Proquest in Mendeley?

Citations can be exported into Mendeley by using the Mendeley Web Importer from the detailed screen for the document. Find out about installing and using the Mendeley Web Importer.

Example databases that use the Proquest interface are:

Why should data fields contain text that they were designed to hold?

If a text field contains extra information, your reference would be wrong when you changed citation styles. It is better to edit your CSL file for IEEE style instead where possible.

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