What is Mendeley

Mendeley is a desktop and web-based program for managing, sharing, reading, annotating, and citing references.

What is the purpose of Mendeley

Mendeley allows you to create a personal library of citations for managing, reading, annotating, reading, and citing digital works such as journal articles, books, reports, articles, and more.

How to use Mendeley

To get started, you’ll need to create an account with Mendeley. An account can then be used to access your library through Mendeley Desktop, Mendeley Web, or through a mobile app for iOS or Android. Within an account, users can save citations, access PDFs and make annotations, or use a citation manager for inserting citations into written works. Folders can be created to better organize the user’s library. Group features allow for private, public, or by-invitation groups for sharing their work in Mendeley with others.

Where to find Support

This tool is not centrally supported

Help and Documentation

For help, please refer to the Mendeley documentation

Tool Evaluation

Functionality overall rating: 2 starsFunctionality

Rating Rationale
Scale rating: 2 stars


Each user creates their own account with Mendeley so the tool can be scaled to accommodate any class size. Groups can be created for courses or for smaller course sub-groups/communities of practice. With a free account, 5 private groups can be created. Private groups have a collaborator limit of 25, public or invite-only groups allow for unlimited members.

Ease of use rating:3 stars

Ease of Use

Mendeley has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and personalize

Tech Support/ Help Availability rating: 2 stars

Tech Support/Help Availability

Technical support and help documentation is available in the form of web pages or videos

Hypermediality rating: 3 stars


Mendeley enables users to engage in various forms of media related to their saved entries including metadata, notes, PDF storage and markup functions

Accessibility overall rating: 2 starsAccessibility

Rating Rationale
AODA Friendly rating: 2 stars

AODA Friendly

Mendeley has some limited capacity to be fully accessible for users or for materials to be made AODA-friendly. The tool is not compatible with screen readers and there is little documentation on the tool’s compatibility with accessibility standards

User Foused Participation rating: 2 stars

User-focused participation

Mendeley has some limited capacity to address the needs of diverse users, their various literacies, and capabilities

Required Equipment rating: 3 stars

Required Equipment

Proper use of Mendeley does not require equipment other than a computer and access to the internet

Technical overall rating: 2 starsTechnical

Rating Rationale
OWL Integration rating: 2 stars

OWL Integration

Public group pages can be embedded in OWL while personal accounts or private group pages cannot. A link to Mendeley login could be provided.

Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Operating Systems

Mendeley desktop is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. See What browsers and operating systems are supported for Mendeley products?

Web Browser rating: 3 stars

Web Browser

Users can effectively utilize the tool with any standard, up-to-date web browser (i.e. Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer 10 etc.). See What browsers and operating systems are supported for Mendeley products?

Additional Tech Requirements rating: 3 stars

Additional Tech Requirements

Mendeley Desktop requires a software download from the internet, however, desktop download is not required for effective use of Mendeley Web.

Mobile Design overall rating: 3 star Mobile Design

Rating Rationale
Mobile Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Mobile Operating Systems

Mendeley Desktop and Web full functional versions of Mendeley for accessing accounts across various devices (mainly desktops and laptops). A Mendeley app is available for iOS and Android devices for access on mobile devices (e.g. tablets, smart phones)

Mobile Functionality rating: 3 stars

Mobile Functionality

There is little to no functional difference between Mendeley Desktop/Web and the mobile app. New citations can be added via the app but can only be done manually rather than through an automated plugin, as is supported by Desktop/Web

Offline Access rating: 3 star

Offline Access

The platform can be used offline, maintaining tools and learning content

Usage and account set up overall rating: 1 starsUsage and Account Set Up

Rating Rationale
Sign Up/Sign In rating: 1 stars

Sign Up/Sign In

All users (instructors and students) must create an external account or additional login, and/or personal information is collected and shared

Cost of Use rating:  2 stars

Cost of Use

Limited aspects of the tool can be used for free with other elements requiring payment of a fee, membership, or subscription. See What do I get with a free Mendeley account? Paid accounts allow for more storage.

Archiving Saving and Exporting Data rating: 3 star

Archiving, Saving, and Exporting Data

Users can archive, save, or import and export content or activity data in a variety of formats

Data Privacy and Ownership rating: 3 star

Data Privacy and Ownership

Users maintain ownership and copyright of their intellectual property/data; the user can keep data private and decide if/how data is to be shared. See section on Content provided to us or posted on or through the service in the Terms and Conditions

Social Presence overall rating: 2 starsSocial Presence

Rating Rationale
Collaboration rating: 2 stars


The Groups features of Mendeley allow for support a community of learning through asynchronous but not synchronous opportunities for communication, interactivity, and transfer of meaning between users

User Accountability rating: 2 stars

User Accountability

Instructors cannot control student anonymity as students can create anonymized account IDs, but the tool provides some solution for holding students accountable for their actions. In group arrangements, admin accounts can delete comments made by others.

Diffusion rating: 2 star


Student familiarity with the tool is likely mixed, some will lack basic technical competence with its functions

Instructor Presence overall rating: 2 starsInstructor Presence

Rating Rationale
Facilitation rating:2 stars


The Groups features of Mendeley offer some capability to effectively support an instructor’s facilitation of student learning via active management, monitoring, and engagement

Customization rating: 2 stars


Limited aspects of the tool can be customized to suit the classroom context and learning outcomes

Learning Analytics rating: na stars

Learning Analytics

Mendeley is not designed to support the collection of learning analytics

Cognitive Presence overall rating: 2 starsCognitive Presence

Rating Rationale
Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s) rating: 2 stars

Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s)

Given the way Mendeley supports curation, annotation, and citation of academic sources, the tool may enable functional improvement to engagement in the targeted cognitive task(s)

Higher Order Thinking rating: 2 stars

Higher Order Thinking

Given the way Mendeley supports curation, annotation, and citation of academic sources, the tool may support students to engage in higher order thinking skills like analysis

Feedback on Learning rating:2 stars

Feedback on Learning

Mendeley is not designed to provide students with feedback on learning, however opportunities for receiving formative feedback may be possible through Group features.

Security and Privacy

This tool has not been formally reviewed by Western’s Technology Risk Assessment Committee

Security and Privacy Flags


  • Users are required to create and use a non-Western account. It is highly recommended that users do not use the same username and password that is in use at Western.

Information Collection

  • Application collects information that could identify the user specifically (email address, class schedule, etc..)
  • Application collects information that is confidential (physical address, drivers licence number, health card number, social insurance number)
  • This application may use profile information and/or provided data for marketing purposes


  • Acceptance of the Application's Terms of Conditions or End User License Agreement may bind the institution to an agreement thereby requiring legal counsel to review the application contract.

Cost and Approval

  • The application may require the instructor to enter credit card information
  • The application may require students to enter credit card information


  • This application is hosted outside of Canada

Last Updated: January 21, 2020


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