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  • Mendeley Reference Manager
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Part of performing quality research is conducting a thorough and diligent literature review, for which having a tool to store, annotate, and share citations is very helpful. Though there are several applications out there (including BibDesk, Papers.app, RefWorks), our group primarily uses Mendeley for reference management, since (1) it's free, (2) can update references offline with the Desktop tool, and (3) can sync/backup and share references online.

Using Mendeley to manage bibliographic references

Getting started

  1. Visit Mendeley and register for a free account.
  2. Download the desktop client (to use its expanded features and offline capabilities)
  3. Install the Web Importer, which is a smart bookmarklet.
    • This lets you click on this link when on a page (such as IEEExplore) and have it automatically extract the appropriate citation information and put it into Mendeley!
    • I recommend putting the link on your bookmark toolbar for easy access.
  4. You're ready to start collecting and organizing your references!

Creating a shared group for your thesis references

"Groups" are a way to share common references within Mendeley. You'll create a reference collection that you can share with me. If you're working in the Mendeley Desktop application, you can also create sub-directories within these shared groups to help organize your references.

  1. Create a group with the settings shown below:
    • Under Group name, please use LastName, FirstName (which is how it'll be displayed and shared).
    • Under Group description, please enter the title of your thesis or general description. We can later add your finalized thesis abstract or executive summary here.
  2. Be sure to add thchung@nps.edu (or look for "Timothy Chung") to the list of members!
  3. Note that the same references can be exist in multiple sub-groups at the same time (i.e., the sub-groups are logical groupings). Some possible suggestions for organizing your sub-directories are:
    • proposal: contains references used in your final proposal draft
    • thesis: contains references used in your final thesis draft
    • Any other groupings that make sense

Joining the "NPS Advanced Robotic Systems Engineering Laboratory" Mendeley group

If there are references that are useful to the larger research group, it would make sense to share these references. We can use the Mendeley group called "NPS Advanced Robotic Systems Engineering Laboratory" (NPS ARSENL) to help share these references. Note that this reference group is more for sharing common references, rather than ones that are very specific to your individual thesis (which is what your the group you created above is for).

Once you've created your thesis group above and added me as a user, I will know to add you to the "NPS ARSENL" group. You should be able to see and add references that are of common importance or use. If you want to include any references in your thesis reference list, you should copy (i.e., click and drag) the common reference into your thesis reference group.

Exporting BibTeX-friendly bibliography files

You'll need to use the Mendeley Desktop application to export your selected references to BibTeX format.

  1. Select the references you wish to include in your exported bib file
    • Since you'll likely have to generate this bib file multiple times, I recommend creating a (sub-)group so you can quickly select all (e.g., CMD-A) references.
  2. From the File menu, select Export... and choose the directory for your bib file.
  3. You should be able to use your bib file within your LaTeX documents

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