As we have highlighted before, legal research isn’t the only area where professionals are looking for ways to transform the way they receive information. Scientists, students, and hobbyists face similar hurdles in the availability and dissemination of information. While there may not be a duopoly in publishing like in the legal world, journal subscriptions can run several thousands of dollars and a single article minimally starts at $30. The nature of discovery and the importance of being published are even larger mountains to climb in terms of sharing information.
That is why we feel that it is important to highlight Mendeley, a free multiplatform reference management tool that allows users to manage their collections, find the links (citations, authors, ideas) among papers, as well as, help setup collaborative efforts. Mendeley offers key features to help improve workflow like the automatic citation extraction, being able to annotate documents within the program, as well as, iPhone/iPad app integration.
Mendeley isn’t just for scientists though. It is an interdisciplinary platform with works from physicists to those in the humanities. If you are interested in legal theory you will also find interesting papers to read and/or hopefully a place to contribute your own collection of .pdfs. If you happen to be a law librarian it may be worth your while to take a look and see at the very least to recommend to librarians in other fields.
Fast approaching 100 million documents and just shy of a million members, according to the counter on their main page, Mendeley has an impressive community. It takes advantage of this by creating a “crowdsourced research database with a unique layer of social information” allowing its users to leverage all the information generated such as trends in research so that they can discover not only where their field is heading, but also how each individual’s interests have changed over time. When users share papers or load their bibliographies, Mendeley will show them papers they may have missed as well as those who have written, read, or collected them. The team at Mendeley isn’t stopping here though. They are continuing to innovate- just last week their team introduced tags onto their platform, allowing users to find related material even faster than before.
Freedom of information with integrated social networking tools and analytics- Mendeley should prove to be a valuable research tool for the new information age.