Reference Management With Mendeley

As a physician, I try to stay up-to-date with the latest research emerging in critical care, anesthesiology, physiology, and medicine overall. It’s also important for me to understand the “landmark papers” that helped pave the evolution of so many of our modern practices. I use Mendeley to digitally centralize my journal articles.

Mendeley is free, cross-platform software (MacOS, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS, web interface) that combines a research social network with data discovery, online collaboration, and reference management. 2 gigabytes of free online data storage are provided to upload journal articles, so I’ve chosen to only use PDFs which I further compress with online algorithms to maximize the number of articles I can upload. These files are cross-saved to my Google Drive for backup. Looking at my current library, every 100 compressed PDF journal articles occupy ~20 megabytes of storage. This will translate to ~10,000 articles over the 2 gigabytes of free storage. 🙂

The video above shows my basic workflow for managing journal articles:

  • Download the journal as a PDF. The main journals I use are New England Journal of Medicine, Anesthesiology, JAMA, and Critical Care Medicine.
  • Rename it based on the year of publication, journal, and the name of the trial/article (ie, “2018 – NEJM – RELIEF.pdf”)
  • Compress the PDF using any number of free, online algorithms (ie, PDF Compressor, Smallpdf, iLovePDF) or application like PDF Squeezer.
  • Open Mendeley and upload the file. Make sure the citations are extracted properly from the PDF, and modify them accordingly.
  • Synchronize the new article across the Mendeley app on all of my devices

As always, drop me a comment below with questions, and let me know what reference management software you use! 🙂

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