Google Scholar recommended research is another way of finding research articles that I’m loving. It is super easy to use and I’ve found tons of articles I wouldn’t have found before. As you recall, these recommendations are based on your citations – in other words, what you’ve published online. So of course they are going to be tailored to your research interests.
If you have your Google Scholar profile set up, Google Scholar will recommend new research articles to you based on your publications. So the recommendations are almost always super relevant and helpful for future studies!
To access these, go to scholar.google.com and click “My Updates” at the top.
Also, Google Scholar will often list the most recent recommendations under the search bar at scholar.google.com. You can get the rest by clicking “see all updates” (see photo above)
Here are my recommended articles today:
Tailored scholarly article recommendations – what could be better?
Hope you enjoyed this series of posts on Google Scholar! If you did, please share this post!
To get the most out of Google Scholar, including the library feature discussed in the last post, you’ll need a Google Scholar profile. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend setting one up. Here’s why:
A Google Scholar profile has many benefits. It is a public profile that provides author photo, institutional affiliation and contact information, and importantly an interactive list of all articles a particular scholar has published. (Get started with Google Scholar profiles). Google Scholar automatically populates your list of research articles by associating your name with articles it has indexed. You can also add co-authors, and keywords for your research agenda.
Here are 8 great benefits of a Google Scholar Profile:
1) Help people find your work. Remember that author feature I discussed int he previous post? Google Scholar search results allow searchers to click an author’s name to see what else they’ve published. This links directly to your Google Scholar profile with the list of all your research articles. If you have a website/blog, you can add a link so people can connect with you.
2) Track Citations of Your Work. What’s really great, is your Google Scholar profile summarizes some really informative stats.
This includes the number of citations for each article you’ve published, and up to date summary statistics across time. For example, here is my Google Scholar profile.
These numbers are helpful to have! For example, when doing my mid-tenure review, I provided a brief context / explanation of each publication I had (this was a recommendation made to me by a faculty member). The purpose was to provide an explanation of the significance of the work, and how it related to my research agenda. I noted the # of citations particular publications had received according to Google Scholar.
3) Follow New Citations. You can easily follow new citations of your work, and get Google Alerts emails when articles are published that mention your published works. This is great to know who is citing you, the impact your work is having, as well as finding articles related to your research interest that you may want to read.
4) Follow New Article. Have something in press and want to know when it is published? Go to your profile and click “Follow new articles.” You’ll get an email alert when the time comes!
5) Library. As discussed in the previous post on Google Scholar, you need a profile to use this feature. See explanation in last post.
6) Recommendations – Having a Google Scholar profile enables you to get recommendations. I’ll discuss those in our next post.
7) Easily Find The Work of Your Favorite Scholars You can see the work of scholars whose research you enjoy by searching an authors name in Google Scholar search, or directly from your profile page (assuming they have a Google Scholar profile).
8) Follow Fav Scholars. Want to get alerts every time a particular scholar publishes something new? Go to their scholar profile and click “follow new articles.” You’ll get an email alert every time they publish something. You can also follow new citations of their work, to receive emails every time someone cites their work.
I love Google Scholar. It is useful for not only your research agenda, but also it is a tool to teach your students about.
When teaching students about finding academic research, no discussion is complete without Google Scholar. In fact, I tell my students this is my go to source… though I’m sure the library probably wouldn’t be happy to hear that.
GScholars primary purpose is as a search engine for scholarly articles. Simply goto: scholar.google.com and search for an article title, subject (e.g., a theory, construct), keyword, or author.
There’s much more to GScholar than a simple search. GScholar has some little known (and some very new!) features that are very useful. Here’s how to become a Google Scholar Power User, Part 1 – Advanced Search Features: (See: Post #2 in this series on Google Scholar Profiles).
It works just like Google, but it indexes academic publications. Many libraries are linked with Google Scholar, such that if you search Google Scholar and an article comes up that your school library has, you can access it directly through your search engine results. (While this often happens automatically when on campus, you can find out if your library has the article when away from campus as well. Go to your settings, click library, and do a search for your universities library. Then click save).
1) Advanced Article Access
Another great benefit is that sometimes articles are hosted online in various places, and you can find access to those articles that you would otherwise not have access to through your library.
Identifying this access is easy. To the right of the search result, you will see [PDF] available from XYZ or [HTML] available from. For an example, here is a search for my own research . Notice how the “Getting Political on Social Network Sites” is available as HTML from the online journal First Monday.
2) More Access Options
See an article that you want to get access to, but your library doesn’t have it and you don’t see a PDF version offered in the search results? Click “## versions” directly under the search result description. Sometimes, the primary result that Google shows does not provide access to the article, but alternative versions do. By clicking “## versions”, you may find that another version of the article is available online.
3) Related Articles
When conducting research, we’re often looking for research on a particular theory, construct, etc. So, if we find an article that fits our search goals, wouldn’t it be great to see what other articles are similar? The “Related Articles” link under the search entry does just that. For example, if I find an article on agenda setting in social media in a search result, and want to see more like it, rather than try a new search query, I’ll click “related articles” under the article I like for a whole host of articles related to agenda setting on social media.
4) Cited By Feature
The cited by feature offers a similar benefit to the “related articles” feature. It is very helpful because you can see who has cited this work. Why is that great? Because if the article you have found is of interest, likely those works that cited it are related and may be helpful! More so, they may have built on that study and thus their theory and findings may provide more recent insights and advancements to the topic you’re studying.
If you want to see more articles by a specific author, click an author’s name (such as my name in the example above). This will take you to the author’s profile on GScholar (if they have one) where you can see all the articles they’ve published. This is something I’ll discuss more in a future post.
Want the APA or MLA citation format for the article in your search result? Click cite. A window pops up and you can choose the citation you need. Quick. Easy. Super helpful. You can also import into particular format styles.
7) Google Scholar Library
This is a new feature and one I just discovered. It works sort of like how Mendely lets you create a library of articles. You need a Google Scholar account to use this feature – which is of course free and connected to your Google account.
What you get, is an online custom list of articles. When you enable Library, you are asked if you want to import all articles you’ve cited. That is, Google indexes all the articles you have cited in the online publications Google has associated with you.
To access your library click “My library” at scholar.google.com. To add articles to your library, in a search result, you can click “save” to save that article directly from search results into your library.
It seems the deleting articles requires you to click on them individually and then click delete. I found no mass editing.
You can set up labels to organize articles into categories. For example, I may have a label “politics” another “social networks” and another “blogs.” By clicking an article in your library, then clicking the ‘labels’ drop down you can create and select labels.
This is a brand new feature and it has a lot of potential. Given that I’m a big Mendeley user, the library feature may be redundant. But I’m going to play with it and see if it has added benefit. I do like the idea that it provides direct access to articles available online.
Now that the semester is over, there are two major things I like to spend my break doing: research projects and optimizing my classes with mods and improvements (or creating new classes, if needed). So, let’s talk about research!
When it comes to research, there is one piece of software I could not live without: the FREE app Dropbox.
The Rundown: Dropbox is free and works with Mac or PC, or mobile devices. You get 2 gig for free (at least, that’s how much you got when I signed up), and can get more free space by completing certain actions like getting a friend to sign up (I now have 4.5 free gigs). There are paid versions.
I was under the impression that just about everyone was using a tool like dropbox when collaborating with others on research, until I heard otherwise from numerous colleagues. Many are still relying on the old fashion approach of: Edit and Email. So I thought I’d take a minute to highlight the crucial benefits of synching software for collaboration on any document.
Edit and Email
Before I started using dropbox, my research collaboration life went something like this: One person would work on a manuscript document. When he/she was done, that person emailed the document to me with some comments on changes made. I’d then take my turn when I could and reply back with an attachment of the document updates. Meanwhile, the other person was waiting on me and if it was a busy time of the semester, that may have been several days or a week. If he had downtown and could work on the document, or had a sudden inspiration, he was unable to for fear that I was making edits to the file he had previously sent me and to try and merge the changes between conflicting documents, his new edits and my edits to the original he’d sent me, would be a big pain. This made for a slow, slow, painful process. And that’s only with two authors. Things get exponentially more complicated with 3 or more authors.
As soon as I discovered Dropbox, a file synching service, I quickly convinced my co-authors to adopt it. Here’s why:
Dropbox or other software like SugarSync enables you to share folders with others (through invite) that automatically sync whenever any file in the folder is changed, added, or removed.
The folders are stored on your computer like a regular folder. You treat them exactly like any other folder, including the ability to have subfolders.
For example, if I’m working on a manuscript titled Manuscript.doc, every time I save the file, everyone else who shares the folder with me is automatically updated to the latest version of the file (if their computer is off, it will sync when it is turned back on). When I’m done working on the file and close it, everyone immediately has the latest version of the file. A coauthor can immediately open the file and begin working on it. When she’s done, I can pick right back up, or a third coauthor can begin working (Note: You cannot work on a file simultaneously or there will be a conflicted copy saved to your folder). This eliminates the “hurry up and wait” nature of Edit and Email and the major headache of different coauthors having different versions of the manuscript, such as trying to merge one person’s edits into the latest version.
To avoid the possibility of multiple people trying to work on the file at the same time (which causes a conflicting file to be created in your folder that you then have to manually go through and be sure any conflicts are resolved), we always send a quick email letting the other co-authors know we are about to start working on a document or that we plan to work on a document at from, say, 1-3pm this afternoon.
If I could – I’d give Dropbox a high-five for helping me greatly increase my productivity as a scholar when it comes to collaborative work!
Additional Benefits of Dropbox:
Add / remove files to your group folder – Because the folder syncs, you can quickly add other documents to the folder such as data, data analysis results, etc. and everyone will have access.
Previous Versions: Previous versions of files are automatically saved to Dropbox. You can access previous versions of a file by logging in at dropbox.com.
Multiple devices: The software also synchs your files between your own computers, smart phone, or tablets. So you always have access to these files whether on your work computer or home computer or mobile. I use this all the time not only for research but for teaching materials. This way, I don’t have to lug my work computer home with me if I want to access or work on any files from my home computer.
Backing up: Because my files are synched to the web on dropbox.com, as well as my other devices, if I were to lose my computer or if it were damaged, I wouldn’t lose my files. I use this as a way to back up important documents (like when i was working on my Dissertation!)
Web Access: Don’t have access to your own computer? You can access all your files on dropbox.com. However, any changes you make to files will need to be manually re-uploaded to dropbox.com when you are done.
That’s all for now! Best of luck to everyone who recently submitted to ICA. Hopefully my papers are accepted and I get to see everyone in Seattle!
Do you use Dropbox or a similar synching service for research? What do you like about it? What tips and advice do you have to share with readers? Which synching service is best?
I used to give a lot of handouts with instructions. They were a waste of trees. And black-and-white text… boring!
I realized something: We want to create content that grabs attention, that is easy to digest, easy to follow, yet we don’t seem to do a great job of doing that with our students!
More and more, i find images and multimedia are great additions to or supplements for words. But color-printing is expensive. I also felt limited by MS Word and wanted to be able to provide a URL, not a file for students to access so students could click links on the handout to access videos, additional articles, etc., without being bogged down by the cumbersome process of loading a link via a Word document.
And so, I began creating Lab Guides which are Instructional Handout with Multimedia (IHMs)
IHMs are easy to access via a short URL (e.g., Bitly) from anywhere on the web.
They contain instructional material, embedded images, icons, links.
And, they are super easy to create!
Here is a lab guide that utilizes a variety of multimedia examples to help students. This lab guide shows students in the intro class, Comm and New Media, how to create and edit their podcast assignment.
Here is a long and involved Lab Guide I created that walks students through the complex process of coding XML files for data collection using the Open Data Kit (ODK). Students in the (Applied) Research Methods class will be collecting survey data using iPads and Android Tablets. Students will be creating their own surveys and programming them into XML to be hosted on FromHub.com. With the tablets, students can go out into the field and have people complete the survey on the tablet and the data is uploaded in real time to FormHub. Students can then download the data for analysis when complete with data collection.
I like handouts where all the info is organized and students can follow along. It takes time to create. But I feel it saves me a lot of time on the back end with emails, time wasted in class, etc. Most importantly, the students find it helpful and it helps us move more quickly through the “must do’s” so we can get to the real learning!
Follow these tips for making your Google Doc Lab Guide to share your students once you’ve created it
Log into Google Drive or create an account.
1) Create the docs and make sure they are set up so EVERYONE can edit them. Here’s how:
After creating the document, click “share” (upper right – it is a blue icon). Next, click “Change” next to the field asking who can do what with the document….: Choose “Anyone with the link” and in the Access section, keep it as View”
2) Sharing the Document with Students – The URL for Google Docs is annoyingly long, not good for sharing. So use your favorite URL shortener to create uniform links for the assignment. I like Bitly but any works.
For example, if there are 4 teams and I set up the documents, each will have a URL something like:
That way, each team just types in the short link into their browser. Just note that Bitly links are case-sensitive. Be sure to test your link!
What tips do you have for creating effective handouts for students?
In addition to discussing social media education and trends on this blog, I like to share tech tools and tricks that can help an educator out!
I’m a big proponent of using screenshots to quickly show students (or anyone!) how to do something on the web or a computer.
That’s why I want to share my newest favorite Google Chrome extension, Awesome Screenshot. (Also available for Safari and Firefox). This tool is great for capturing images from the web more quickly than any other tool, including the software on your operating system.
I use this tool to create Instructional Handouts with Multimedia (IMHs) on Google Drive to teach students processes for class assignments and projects. I’ll explain those on the next post!
Here’s the official video on this great tool!
One trick I picked up not shown in their video is that you can copy and paste an image without having to save it as a file or to Diigo, etc. I do this all the time by copying the image and pasting it directly into a Google Document, saving me a few steps and time!
It is really easy. After capturing an image and finishing editing it, advance to the final page where you are asked what you want to do with the file – such as save it to your computer, to Diigo, etc. Simply right-click on the image and select “copy image” (or the appropriate option for your browser).
Hope you enjoy!
Want more of these types of posts? See the “tips tricks and productivity” category (you can see a list of categories on the left). If you like these types of posts, please let me know!
The start of the semester is right around the corner. So I thought it’d be fun to do series of posts titled #trythis! on teaching tools and techniques I hope you will try this fall. The first is an invaluable tool I’ve been using for years that makes teaching technology more efficient!
Want to teach students how to use software or a web tool for an activity or assignment but don’t want to waste class time?
Try screencasting! It is a wonderful way to augment your teaching materials and ensure student learning. Plus, it is easier, and quicker than you might think!
Screencasting is a video of a computer screen and is used to demonstrate tasks on a computer. For example, I have used screencasting to show students how to set up social media accounts, edit wikis, complete complex processes such as on SPSS, and much more.
Saves time in class – I already said this but it is worth repeating. Rather than stand before the class using valuable time to show 1 or 2 students how to do a task at the risk of losing the attention of the rest of the class, you can 1) point students to screencasts you’ve already made, or 2) tell them you’ll make a screencast after class and post a link to it on the class website.
Visual component makes it easy to follow.
Particularly useful for complex subjects – If a student is confused, he can pause, rewind, etc. I’ve had students comment that they were so thankful for a screencast I’d posted on using Spundge.com because the task I was requesting was rather complicated and they were having a hard time following paper instructions.
Students can watch screencasts at any time
Less time repeating the same instructions over and over in your office hours, via email, etc.
Less excuses from students that they couldn’t complete the assignment because they couldn’t follow your instructions.
Here’s a video I made teaching students how to use Piktochart for an Infographics assignment:
Don’t be nervous – though you might be saying to yourself, ‘why would I be nervous!?” you may find yourself a little timid when you go to record. A lot of us don’t like the sound of their own voice or you may worry you are going to sound unorganized or say “um” too much. Just relax. Be yourself.
Plan but don’t over plan – if you over plan every little thing you are going to say, you will come across rigid. In fact, I find it impossible to plan everything I want to say or do. Sometimes I am recording and in the moment I’ll think of something to add, or to show. Embrace that. Those little insights add value just like they do in the classroom. What I do to plan, is make a list of the things I want to cover in a video and have it in front of me.
Don’t be afraid of doing a ‘redo’ – sometimes I get 5 minutes into a recording and make a mistake or forget what I was going to say and have to stop, delete, and start over. Because I don’t bother to edit the videos in order to save time, I end up having to do a redo now and again.
Consider the video length – It is easy to get going and going when doing a screencast and quickly find 5-6 minutes have flown by. I try not to record videos that are longer than 7 minutes. I find students won’t watch a video if it is too long. So if I can keep it shorter by all means, I try!
Shorter and more is best – Ideally, I’ve found a few short videos beats 1 long video. Students are going to fast forward in searching of the content they want anyhow.
How to Make a ScreenCast
To make a screencast, all you need is: a microphone, screencast software, and an account for a free online host like YouTube or Vimeo.
There is paid software with more advanced features. But the options I will show are free and will suffice for all your needs:
First, check your built-in or plug-in mic to make sure it is working.
If you have a Mac computer, you can use the free software QuickTime. Open QuickTime, Click File -> New Screen Recording. Click the red icon to start the recording. When you’re done, click the stop icon. The video will be created. Watch it to make sure you are happy with it. Export it for uploading by clicking “Share” from the menu. Select the account Vimeo or YouTube you are using and follow the prompts, including entering your username and password.
If you have a PC, there are a few options. One option is the online screencasting software screencastomatic. I used the free, open source software Cam Studio (http://camstudio.org/) to create the TeacherTube screencasts. The software is easy to use. But getting it installed and working is easier explained through screencast. So, in the spirit of this post here are two great videos on getting going with Cam Studio:
Installing and getting started with CamStudio version 2.7
A detailed look at Cam Studio 2.7 Settings (for those wanting more guidance)
In sum, screencasting is a great supplement to any class where you need to teach students how to do things on a computer. Any educator who wants to improve the way they teach software and web tools to students can benefit from using this easy and effective tool.
I hope you will try screencasting this semester! If you do, stop back by and share your screencast and let us know how it went! If you currently use screencasting, what do you find it most effective for? What tips do you have for someone new to screencasting?
The other day I was updated to the latest version of Mendeley Desktop for Mac. This new update features an exciting new feature embedded into the desktop application, but which you may not know already existed on Mendeley.com!
You can now conduct a literature search of the Mendeley community crowd-sourced research database – that is, all the articles that are in the Mendeley libraries of all other Mendeley users – via a search bar in the program (click the “Literature Search” from the library box on the left hand side of the app). An important feature here, is that you can download the PDFs of articles people have shared (I’ll explain how below).
A quick test of this feature made me a believer!
How does it work?
Think of Mendeley.com as a social network for researchers (see the features at the bottom of this post). When you join Mendeley, you create an account and can fill out a profile (here’s my Mendeley profile – it needs some updating). The articles in your library are connected to your profile, and are also added to Mendeley’s ever-growing database.
The Literature Review feature in Mendeley Desktop mimics the Papers search on Mendeley.com. The integrated search carries some of the same great benefits of search on Mendeley.com. For example, In both cases, when you find a reference or reference with PDF you want to add to your library, you can seamlessly add it to your Mendeley reference library via a button either online or in your Mendeley Desktop. What could be better?!
Maximize Mendeley Desktop search with Advanced Search:
A quick search for Twitter revealed 4,223 results. Great, right? Yes and no. While a number of the articles were journal pieces and conference proceedings, many were web pages or newspaper articles. These are useful, but what if you want only journal articles?
To have success with Mendeley Literature Search, you will want to learn how to do advanced searches. Advanced search works like many queries using operators such as author: “Kushin” or title: “How to Use Mendeley”. In Mendeley Desktop you can easily search the following by clicking the down arrow on the magnifying glass: authors, titles, publication name, year, and whether the article is from an open access journal. So no memorization needed.
But let me add to that a few operators you’ll want to write down to enhance your searching:
(Note: When entering a query, leave no space after the colon.)
Article Type – This allows you to search only the type of article you want to find, such as for my Twitter search example above. To find only journal articles, use the operator type:journal.
A few more common article types you may want are:
type:conference_proceedings – Conference Proceeding
type:book – for a book
type:book_section – book chapter
type:thesis – for a thesis or dissertation.
Discipline – Because Mendeley covers a wide array of academic disciplines, you may want to search just within your own. Use the operator discipline:
A few popular disciples are:
Use of quotations, AND and OR – Just like Google a word in quotes means the search query must match the exact words. Without quotes, the search query will return any word in the query. OR and AND can also be used, such as author:”Bill Smith” AND year:2003, which will return articles by author Bill Smith that were published in 2003. OR enables you to find one or another. For example, you may search for year:2008 OR year:2009.
So, if I’m looking broadly for journal articles in the social sciences that contain Twitter, I might search:
Twitter type:journal discipline:social-sciences
If you don’t want to learn these operators, you can conduct a Papers advanced search via Mendeley.com and complete the form.
According to a news release, Mendeley plans to add to Mendeley Desktop the ability to search journals your institution subscribes to (a la Google Scholar). I can’t wait for this one! They also plan to add search for people and groups within Mendeley Desktop.
While I’m a Google Scholar fan myself, more and more I find myself supplementing my searches with Mendeley reference search. The ability to find the profiles of scholars, and thus their other works, is something that excites me!
Check out this new feature and let me know what you think! Do you use Mendeley search? How have you found it? If you enjoyed this article, please share it.
Mendeley.com account Features:
Dashboard – with news feed of people you follow or research groups you are in
Library – Access to your entire library and PDFs (those you’ve added to Mendeley Desktop) meaning you can access your library from anywhere on the web.
Groups – You can find groups by discipline or research interest, share papers, have discussions, see what others are reading, and more. Not seeing a group to fit your niche? Start one! This is a lot of potential for new collaborations here! Groups can be public or private and you can access them directly through Mendeley Desktop.
People – Find colleagues or your favorite scholars!
Papers – The ability to search the Mendeley reference library (again, cultivated from Mendeley users).
The other night my wife, who works in continuing education for optometrists, asked me, “Do you use Zotero?”
“No,” I said. And then, proudly “I use Mendeley!”
I went on a 10 minute pro-Mendeley rant that I’m quite sure she wasn’t prepared for!
Though I’m sure it was much more than she ever wanted to know about reference managers, it made me realize just how much Mendeley has changed how I do research.
Are you a disorganized mess when it comes to doing research? I know I was. And it was frustrating! Mendeley has helped me become much more organized and expedited the research process for me.
Mendeley software is a “free reference manager and PDF organizer,” meaning it organizes your research articles which are directly connected to the research article PDF files on your computer. The program is a standalone application for Windows or Mac. Below, I’ll talk about the benefits.
Research Library: A Life of Chaos
When I was first learning to do research in grad school, our professors would assign us articles and we’d go photocopy the class set (or if we were lucky, the professor would print them out). Journal articles were available online, but professors all seemed to be old school and prefer print copies. So this is how I learned. I soon found myself trying to organize folders upon folders of articles, many of which I thought I’d never need again but was afraid to get rid of. I soon ran out of room. I’d keep piles at home where I’d do most of my work, and others in my office. I’d lug stacks of them back and forth across the hills of Pullman (yes, often in the snow… and yes, both ways since I had to go down a hill then up 1 to get from my house to school), often to find out the one I wanted wasn’t with me causing delays and frustration. My apartment floor was littered with folders and articles. I’d go digging through them, never seeming to find the one I wanted. Can you relate?
Then I began downloading them to my computer. But organization was difficult. I’d try to title the articles so I’d remember them, and place them into folders as best I could. These folders weren’t printable so it seemed impossible to find the article I wanted. I’d open tons of PDFs before getting the right one, wasting valuable time. I couldn’t mark up the articles online, so then I’d end up printing them.
Yes, I’d tried Endnote but the version I had didn’t connect to the articles (or I didn’t understand how to use it), so it was like a Dewey Decimal system and I’d have to go find the article in my “stacks” – a disorganized mess on my computer or a hard copy. I played with Zotero, which was then a Firefox extension and wasn’t happy. I’d all but given up when I discovered Mendeley.
Here is why I love Mendeley.
Making Research Easier with Mendeley
Auto-exported bibliographies with meta-data: When you add an article to Mendeley, it pulls the article meta data such as article title, authors, journal, etc. This data is now all searchable, sortable, and the citation can be exported in the reference format you desire, such as APA. If it can’t find the data, click ‘search’ and it will try and get the correct data via a Google Scholar search. Saves me tons of time!
Tags and Keywords: I can also add my own meta data. While there are many fields like abstract and notes, my favorite are tags and keywords. When I read an article, I will pull out constructs from the article and enter them as tags. Say, ‘political involvement’ or ‘efficacy’. Now, when I’m working on research and I realize I need something on political efficacy, I do a quick search of Mendeley and find all the articles I have that cover political efficacy. Talk about a time saver! While there are folders, this offers an easier way to find articles as often an article covers multiple subjects.
Drag and Drop Articles / Auto Organization of Articles: Mendeley not only organizes your articles in the application, it also organizes the folders on your hard drive. To see the options, click “preferences” from the menu bar, then the “file organizer” tab (in Mac). It works two ways. 1) You can select folders for Mendeley to scan. Anytime an article is dropped into that folder, it will import it into Mendeley and also name the article as you’ve decided, such as by year – author – journal title. 2) You can take an article from a folder or your desktop and drag it into the Mendeley app. Mendeley automatically imports it, including references, and saves a copy to your designated folder on your hard drive.
PDFs are connected to your references: When you pull a reference up on Mendeley, you’re not just getting the reference and your tags, notes, etc. You are getting the PDF that’s on your hard drive. So it is super easy to access the article.
Markup documents: Once you open the PDF, you can highlight it, add comments, and more. Mendeley saves these markups. No more need to print out the article for markup.
synching across computers: No more lugging of articles back and forth or making sure you have the PDF on the right computer. Install Mendeley on multiple computers and your library can be synched between computers (there are data limitations of 2 Gig, but I am not close to reaching them).iPhone / iPad integration – I haven’t used this, but if you need access to your library on the go this is for you!
Private Groups: You can create private groups or join public groups on Mendeley. I have used private groups to have discussions and share articles with colleagues. The online storage feature allows you to upload articles to your group where your colleagues can access them making it very easy to share research articles.
I haven’t even gotten into the web features of Mendeley. While I don’t use these features as much, they are worth noting. So as not to overwhelm you with my excitement for Mendely, I’ll hold off mention of these for another post.
Ray Aldred sums up how I felt when I discovered Mendeley with this Tweet:
My gosh! Mendeley collaboration, citation and bibliography tool, where have you been all my life?!
I cannot advocate Mendeley enough. I am truly an ambassador for this free service and cannot count the number of times I’ve gotten people to try it. I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think. What reference management software do you use? Do you recommend it? If you use Mendeley, why do you love it? Other tips and advice do you have for researchers? Have you found it useful
I did (well, almost – see below). And I am so happy I did.
At first, it was more from necessity than choice. You see, Kelin and I recently took a two week belated honeymoon to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands and the Coromandel in New Zealand. We hit Rarotonga first. Before we went,I realized that we weren’t going to have much access to Internet on a small tropical island. I was concerned. But I figured I’d spend a good amount of time in Internet cafes replying to emails, checking in on social media, reading news, weather, and blogs, and so forth.
Then a few things happened. First, I saw just how expensive the Internet cafes were – some charging $5 for 10 minutes! On terribly slow computers, not much can be accomplished in 10 minutes except loading Gmail. I’d soon blow my vacation budget on Internet when that money was for snorkeling, sightseeing, cycling, and hiking. Then, I stepped back and realized… Matt, you’re on vacation. You’ve been planning and saving up for this trip for over a year. Enjoy it.
I took a breath and let it go.
Kelin and I decided not to seek out the Internet. We knew it would still be there when we returned.
The only time we used the Internet was for 10 minutes to fulfill our promise to email back home via a personal email account to let everyone know we were safe. And once when we needed to check with our bank on a question, about 20 minutes (international calls are far more costly than 10 minutes of Internet). A total of about 30 minutes.
For me this was a big deal. I had NEVER taken a vacation that didn’t involve computers, smartphones, Internet cafes, or the other things that tether me to the world like television. I’ve spent countless hours (and money) in web cafes in Europe or sitting in hotel rooms browsing the web or watching ESPN. That’s not a vacation. That’s simply being in another physical location. It is not another mental location – away from your normal world.
I had to take a vacation away from the web to figure that out.
Here are five things I learned about myself and my relationship with technology:
How much of my time is spent using technology. I am constantly on a computer or staring at a smartphone. I reply to emails like a person swatting flies, desperately trying to keep unread emails at bay.
Technology should add to my life – not control my time. I love technology – always have.But I should not feel beholden to it. Even as I write this blog post on a Sunday evening, I feel a bit of guilt. I should be out enjoying this amazing weather. I should be getting exercise. But I’m quickly falling into old habits again. It is hard not to.
I can navigate the world without my smartphone – although the smart phone is much more convenient. 🙂 There are so many helpful people out there. You don’t get a chance to meet them if you rely too much on technology to help you.
There is so much out there to see and do beyond the glow of the screen.
And the most important thing I learned – It is healthy to take a break. Just like you, it is vital in my career that I keep up technology and trends. I debated whether I should even admit that I took a break from technology on something as public as a blog. People may think, “A social media blog talking about the benefits of unplugging? Has Kushin gone wonky?” Today, with everything moving so fast, we’re so worried that we might miss some advancement, some critical news, an inspiring blog post. But the truth is that we all need a break, even from the things we love and the things we depend on.
I came back from this trip feeling relaxed and refreshed for the first time.
Of course, I’ve jumped right back in. And I’m glad to back online. But it was good to be away, if just for a little bit. Honestly, I haven’t changed my habits as much as perhaps I would have like to having learned everything I did. But I did have 2 amazing weeks with my wife, saw so much more than I would have behind a screen, and came to develop a better perspective of my relationship with technology and an appreciation for the role it plays in our world today that I would not have without this experience.
If you’ve been considering going without Internet on an upcoming vacation, or even for a weekend, I strongly encourage you to take the plunge. If you have a spouse or are traveling with others, I believe it is important that everyone is on board. I know it was important for Kelin and I. Had one of us been seeking out the web, it just wouldn’t have worked.
Turn off the iPad, put down the smartphone, and unplug. You’ll be glad you did. I firmly believe it is the healthy and responsible thing to do. As Stephen R. Covey wrote in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People , you’ve got to “sharpen the saw.”
And trust me, the rest of us here on the social web – we’ll be here when you get back. 🙂
We took over 1,000 photos! If you’ve got any questions or comments, please feel free to drop a comment. I’m more than happy to talk about how to ditch technology for a vacation or just about these amazing places in the world we were blessed to be able to see!
Have a great week!
Cheers! – Matt
A Social Media Education Blog by Matthew J. Kushin, Ph.D.