Mendeley & Citation Style Language

As I continued to write my Ph.D. thesis I found it very hard to organize and find literature that was on my hard drive I needed at that moment. The problem has always existed but now it has escalated because I currently have more than 150 different papers that needed to be organized, categorized and searchable. After digging around and testing  couple of applications like Zotero and Quigga I decided my software of choice is Mendeley.

Mendeley is a desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers, discovering research data and collaborating online. It combines Mendeley Desktop, a PDF and reference management application (available for Windows, Mac and Linux) with Mendeley Web, an online social network for researchers. Mendeley requires the user to store all basic citation data on its servers – storing copies of documents is at the user’s discretion. Upon registration, Mendeley provides the user with 1 GB of free web storage space, which is upgradeable at a cost.

Mendeley was founded in November 2007 and is based in London. The first public beta version was released in August 2008. The team comprises researchers, graduates, and open source developers from a variety of academic institutions, although the software itself is not open source. The company’s investors include the former executive chairman of, the former founding engineers of Skype, and the former Head of Digital Strategy at Warner Music Group, as well as academics from Cambridge and Johns Hopkins University.
Mendeley has won several awards: “European Start-up of the Year 2009”, TechCrunch Europas “Best Social Innovation Which Benefits Society 2009”, and The Guardian ranked it #6 in “Top 100 tech media companies”.

Here is just a small list of what Mendeley can do:

  • Mendeley Desktop, based on Qt, runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • Automatic extraction of metadata from PDF papers.
  • Back-up and synchronization across multiple computers and with a private online account.
  • PDF viewer with sticky notes, text highlighting and full-screen reading.
  • Full-text search across papers.
  • Smart filtering, tagging and automatic PDF file renaming.
  • Citations and bibliographies in Microsoft Word and OpenOffice.
  • Import of documents and research papers from external websites (e.g. PubMed, Google Scholar, Arxiv, etc.) via browser bookmarklet.
  • BibTeX export/file sync
  • Private groups to collaboratively tag and annotate research papers.
  • Public groups to share reading lists.
  • Social networking features (newsfeeds, comments, profile pages, etc.).
  • Usage-based readership statistics about papers, authors and publications.
  • iPhone app
  • iPad app
  • Android app (anounced)

The thing I love the most about Mendeley is it’s great reference manager that is linked to Microsoft Word and can create bibliography list and style it to more than 1600 different styles which are downloaded from CitationStyles. Citation styles are based on Citation Style Language (CLS) which is an open XML-based language to describe the formatting of citations and bibliographies. CSL was created by Bruce D’Arcus for use with OpenOffice, and an XSLT-based “CiteProc” CSL processor. CSL was further developed in collaboration with Zotero developer Simon Kornblith. First released in 2006, Zotero became the first application to adopt CSL. Members of the Zotero user community subsequently contributed the majority of currently available CSL styles. In 2008 Mendeley was released with CSL support, and in 2011, Papers and Qiqqa gained support for CSL-based citation formatting. The releases of CSL are 0.8 (March 21, 2009), 0.8.1 (February 1, 2010) and 1.0 (March 22, 2010). CSL 1.0, developed by D’Arcus, Frank Bennett and Rintze Zelle, is a backward-incompatible release.

Although, there are currently more than 1600 different citation style sheets none of them complied to my needs. I decided to create two CSL’s: one for bibliography style used in engineering sciences in Croatia and one for bibliography style used in journal PROMET – Traffic&Transportation published by Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences. Both are based on IEEE bibliography style. Both can be downloaded from here: [wpfilebase tag=fileurl id=23 linktext=’Promet – Traffic&Transportation’ /] and [wpfilebase tag=fileurl id=22 linktext=’Croatia IEEE Based’ /]. I hope that they will be accepted soon into Zotero Style Repository so that they can be downloaded directly from Mendeley. Download these ZIP files and unpack them to:

  • Windows Vista and Windows 7: “C:\Users\<USER_NAME>\AppData\Local\Mendeley Ltd\Mendeley Desktop\citationStyles-1.0\
  • Windows XP: “C:\Documents and Settings\<USER_NAME>\Local Settings\Application Data\Mendeley Ltd\Mendeley Desktop\citationStyles-1.0\
  • Linux: “~/.local/share/data/Mendeley Ltd./Mendeley Desktop/citationStyles-1.0/
  • Mac OS-X: “/Users/<USER_NAME>/Library/Application Support/Mendeley Desktop/citationStyles-1.0/

If Mendeley was running before unpacking these files, restart Mendeley and they should be in a list of installed citation styles (View -> Citation Style -> More Styles).

Oh I almost forgot, I am a member of Mendeley Advisor Group :)

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