Social libraries: CiteULike, Bibsonomy, Mendeley

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Social Libraries are online personalised libraries that enable users to store their own individual literature. They serve as an alternative method of storing articles read rather than the traditional method of bookmarking articles. Social libraries are particularly useful for those that work within academia. The social dynamic of these libraries are in the in the profile of the user. Users are asked to submit relevant personal information such as their area of study and degree status. Once a profile is created, users can share their libraries with peers and co-workers. This in turn helps the user to discover literature which is relevant to their field. Three examples of social libraries include CiteULike, Bibsonomy, Mendeley.


CiteULike is a free service to help you to store, organise and share the scholarly papers you are reading. Creating a CiteULike account will enable the user to collect online scholarly journals or interest and share them with their friends. CiteULike does not require the user to download any software; the service operates from within a web browser, which enables access from any computer with an Internet connection. A key feature of CiteULike, is its ability to automatically extract the citation details of an online article at the click of a button. The ‘invite a friend a friend’ feature allows users to share articles of interest with their peers, co-workers, or fellow academics without the need of e-mailing links and recommendations to each other.


BibSonomy is a system for sharing bookmarks and lists of literature. It enables a user to collect, organise, and share bookmarks and publications. After a simple registration which includes e-mail verification, BibSonomy allows you to install 3 buttons on your browser’s bookmark toolbar. BibSonomy uses cookies. After registration the site functions as a “publication management system”. Users can administrate literature references and bookmarks online and share their data with other users worldwide. With one click, users can store an article on the site’s server. Then add tags to organize and assort the collected publications. This helps the user easily find their article in the future. Users can also discover bookmarks and publications from their peers, co-workers, and other BibSonomy users. For access, only internet is required, not downloaded software.


Mendeley is a research management tool for desktop and Web. Mendeley presents its users with three key features; 1) Organize your own research library. 2) Share gathered articles with other researchers. 3) Discover new research and trends. Mendeley Desktop is software that organizes all of PDF documents and research papers into a personal digital bibliography. It gathers document details from PDFs allowing the user to search, organize and cite. Quick construction of a personal library is made easy through two functionalities Mendeley operates; a Drag and drop functionality and The Web Importer functionality both which allows for easy import of literature from online sources such as Google Scholar. Again the social dynamic is in the sharing of literature with fellow researchers in the user’s field. Co-operative working is facilitated by the option to create a group, invite your colleagues and drag and drop documents in there. Using tags associated with a specific research area enables the user to source similar literature, while a user is also provided with statistics about their own digital library.





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