citeulike and mendeley collaborate

June 4, 2009 at 8:34 am | | literature, science community, wild web

It has begun: Mendeley is integrating CiteULike libraries.

CiteULike is an online program for extracting metadata (e.g. authors, titles, etc.) from webpages of journal articles, then storing and organizing that data. I use it to organize the citations and DOIs of all the articles I find interesting.

Mendeley is an online database for storing and sharing PDFs of papers (plus a desktop application). I still don’t find Mendeley to be very helpful yet: still too buggy, too slow, and missing some vital features (e.g. effective metadata extraction, searching for metadata, finding duplicates). But there’s a lot of potential: they’re still in beta!

I use Papers for organizing and reading PDFs, but it only exists on the Mac, and doesn’t have a simple way to share libraries of PDFs across computers. There are probably some serious copyright issues with PDF sharing, and it will be interesting to see how Mendeley and Papers adapts.

UPDATE: Mendeley is quickly getting better. Their metadata extraction is more accurate, there is a PDF viewer, and linking to CUL means tagging is simple. Duplicate finding and merging is still needed, but the software is much better than when I first wrote this. Although I’m still using Papers somewhat because of inertia, I might suggest a newcomer try Mendeley right-off-the-bat.


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  1. Hi Sam,

    Thanks for trying out Mendeley. I just wanted to let you (and your readers) know that metadata extraction has been, and will continuously be improved with each of our releases.

    Searching for metadata is currently on our roadmap and duplicate detection is already partially implemented in the upcoming release (planned for later this month)

    We really appreciate our users’ feedback, so if you (or any of your readers) have anything you’d like to see included in our upcoming releases or would just like to report any issues, suggestions, feel free to drop us a line at the following email address: [support -at- mendeley -dot- com] or via our feedback forum at

    By the way, have you tried the CiteULike sync feature? We’d be glad to read your thoughts on it?


    Comment by Ricardo Vidal — June 4, 2009 #

  2. I have indeed used it. I think it might have broken my Mendeley Desktop:


    I find CUL very helpful: I use it for tagging every article I find interesting. Articles I want to read, I save the PDF and import into Papers. Then I use RefWorks to cite papers in a Word document. What I hope is that someday those three things will be combined. I think Mendeley hopes that, too!

    Comment by sam — June 4, 2009 #

  3. I saw your feedback. I’ll try to personally see what the support folks can tell me about this and get back to you, either here or directly on the ticket you left :)

    As for your “workflow”, it seems like we’ll be able to handle all of it in the near future. We’ve got some interesting features coming out pretty soon with the next release.

    Thanks again for your feedback. It’s really appreciated.


    Comment by Ricardo Vidal — June 4, 2009 #

  4. I truly have a lot of hope for Mendeley!

    Comment by sam — June 4, 2009 #

  5. Hi Sam,

    I’ve just followed up on your feedback ticket, but I’ll leave a quick note here just in case you miss it.

    We’ve managed to identify what the problem here is, and we’re now working on resolving it. Hopefully, this should be resolved shortly. Apologies for the inconvenience.


    Comment by Mustaqil Ali — June 5, 2009 #

  6. thanks!

    Comment by sam — June 5, 2009 #

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