Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Search For and Organize Information for Higher Education

Students in higher education these days spend less and less time hitting the books and more and more time hitting the screen. Many assigned readings are available as PDFs now, and students required to do research are likely to find much of the information they need through online searches rather than from paper pages. This shift results in lots and lots of saved files, which can be hard to manage. Enter Mendeley

Mendeley is a free service that helps users intuitively organize computer documents so that they’re easy to find and use. After downloading the program for free, readers can simply drag and drop a PDF file onto the Mendeley icon on their desktop where the program will extract key information like the title, author, and keywords, then store it. Users can choose how to organize all their stored files, and if they still can’t find a file they’ve stored, they can search for it easily. Always hated typing up Works Cited pages? You’ll be happy to know that Mendeley compiles them automatically. Not only does Mendeley make organization easy, it allows readers to highlight and make notes on PDFs as they read, and to collaborate with other users by designating documents as “public.”

One of Mendeley’s most interesting features is its ability to function as a search engine. The research catalogue, made up of the millions of papers stored in Mendeley by all its users, is searchable, and users can type in a few keywords to access a list of papers that might contain useful information,although it should be noted that not all of those papers will be available for free. Click on the title of a paper that sounds like it’s on target, and more information about it, and about other related papers will appear.

Mendeley is available for free download.

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