Build an Educational Administration Library in a Weekend Using Mendeley

An Essential Resource Guide for Educational Administration Researchers

Why Create a Reference Library?

Is your research article database currently a stack of articles on your dining room table? Well, no longer! Reference management tools are helpful for building a digital library that will save you time and energy (and space in your house) the next time you tackle a research project.

In this guide, you’ll learn to:

  • Create a free account on Mendeley.

  • Install a free library desktop app, web importer, and citation plugin (step-by-step instructions included!).

  • Add details and notes.

Create a Free Account on Mendeley

If you have not been formally introduced to Mendeley, it is a free reference management tool and academic social network that makes it easy for researchers to create resource libraries, search for careers, and much more.

To sign up for a free Mendeley account, click here!


Note: I am in no way associated with Mendeley and do not receive any commission for promoting this platform. I just think it’s a great tool that I want to share with other researchers.

Whether you’re a new or experienced researcher, it’s a good idea to have a reference management tool to store and organize your articles. How helpful would it be to have a library of references the next time you write a paper or propose a new research project? By collecting articles, you will amass a curated library that will be a huge advantage to you in the future.

Download the Mendeley App

When you login to Mendeley, you are directed to your feed. Click the “Download Mendeley” image pictured below.


Next, you will be prompted to download Mendeley Desktop for your device.

In this case, I used Windows and was prompted to download the compatible app for my device. If you are using macOS or Linux, you will be prompted to install the app for that system. Otherwise, find your system listed in “Other Systems”. Your download should install after clicking the download button (pictured below).


During installation, be sure to accept the licensing agreement and ensure that the app downloads to your desktop. After installation, you will see a welcome window where you will be prompted to enter your login details. Please do that here.

You may also want to select “stay signed in” so that you don’t need to enter your credentials again in the future (if you’re using a system that you trust).


Once logged in, you will see a window that looks like this (see image below).

You can start importing documents to your library right away. If you’d like to install the Citation Plugin for Microsoft Word, click “Install now”.


Download the Citation Plugin

You can only download the Citation Plugin from the Mendeley desktop app, which is why it’s important to complete the above step before trying to install the Citation Plugin.

Note: If you currently have Microsoft Word running in the background, Mendeley will prompt you to close it to be able to install the Citation Plugin. Close Microsoft Word and click “Yes”.


This installation will be quick (so quick, you may not even see it happen). On the window in the app, the Citation Plugin for Microsoft Word will change from “Not Installed” to “Installed” (as pictured below).


Now, when you open Microsoft Word, you should be able to see the “Insert Citation” box along the top of your taskbar under the “References” tab (pictured below). By clicking this button, you’ll be able to quickly import citations when you’re writing papers. It can even be used to generate a reference page or bibliography


For more information on using the Citation Plugin, visit this page.

Download the Web Importer

From the Mendeley website, click the drop down menu (beside your profile image) and select “Download Mendeley”.

Web Importer.png

Next, under Web Importer, select the “Find out more” button as pictured below.

Find Out More.png

Next, you’ll be prompted to choose the correct installer based on the Internet browser you use most often. It might look something like this:

Internet Browser.png

Select the correct installer and click “Add”.


Note: You may be asked if you trust this application. Select “Yes” to proceed.

Importer App.png

The Mendeley importer will now be available in the top right corner of your screen. Now that you have the importer, the next time you open an article, simply click this icon and Mendeley will prompt you to import it to your library.

Download PDFs.png

Note: Ensure “Download PDFs if available” is checked and click “Save”.

This article will now appear in your recently added files.

Collecting References & Building Your Library

Adding references to your Mendeley library is as easy as clicking and dragging them into the library window in either the website or the desktop app. This is how you can get started curating a collection of references to use for your next research project.

The types of references you can store in your library can vary widely from journal articles, online articles, monographs, dissertations, and more. In most cases, you will find references through a university library search, though you can also import articles from the Internet or saved elsewhere on your computer.

Use Article Suggestions

You can also use Mendeley to find article suggestions. These suggestions are based on articles that you’ve curated in your Mendeley library, so the more you build it, the more Mendeley can recommend articles you might want to read.

To access article suggestions, click the “Feed” tab and select “Article suggestions”.


In the image above, you’ll see that Mendeley has recommended article suggestions based on a journal article I have saved in my library, “Administrators’ Professional Learning via Twitter: The Dissonance Between Beliefs and Actions”. Mendeley will generate personalized recommendations based on what you have saved in your own library.

Add Details & Notes

You may also want to add custom details and notes to your articles.

In your library, click on the article you’ve uploaded and you’ll see a window that includes further details about your reference. Although Mendeley does an excellent job of automatically importing details such as the name of the article, author, an abstract, and journal info, you can add more details that may not have been captured in the import, including tags.


Adding Tags

Adding tags is a great idea because it makes searching for articles in your library much easier later on. In the “Details” window, click “Edit” and add any tags that you think will be helpful. I like to include the keywords that the author used in the journal article (as shown above).

To search your Mendeley library by the tags you assign to your articles, use the search bar shown below after clicking the “Library” tab.

Library Search.png

Adding Notes

You can also add notes to your reference! This feature is helpful, especially for making notes about how this article could be used in your own research (pictured above).

If you’ve published your own articles, don’t forget to include them in your library and share them with others on Mendeley!

Did you find this tutorial helpful? Let me know in the comments below!