By MIT Libraries’ student blogger, Pri Tembhekar
Hello everyone! This week’s post is about the Libraries series of April events called IAPril. Many of these are hands-on events to help you solve particular problems or learn about resources in the Libraries. Essentially, it’s like a tiny piece of that wonderful IAP month compressed into 1-2 hours. If you are like me, you often tell yourself that you’ll download software or check out new offerings at a later time. However, without live training or a spot on my calendar, resources that could make my life easier often fall to the wayside. Needless to say that self-motivation is difficult. Enter the IAPril events. These events are diverse but all focus on a way that the Libraries can make research, citations, data analysis, or life in general easier! In case you’re already sold, you can see the full listings and register here.
Last Wednesday I attended the event on Mendeley basics. Mendeley is a free tool that can help you organize and manage your citations and PDFs. As a part of senior year in chemical engineering, I am completing a long and arduous design project. One major point of feedback our team received last week was that our citations were weak. This came as no surprise since each member had been writing feverishly with little attention to collaborating and combining the citations of the team. Streamlined software to share and cite the many PDFs we had in fact used would have been useful.
Learning about Mendeley during the event was much more effective than if I had done it independently. The event instructor was accessible and answered many audience questions. The session ended up being very interactive because a couple of audience members had extensive experience with the software. I learned that I could easily save PDFs with a browser add-on. A Word add-on allows me to cite it as I write. Notating and highlighting the PDF can also be done within the Mendeley software. Some quotes from the audience on why they use Mendeley:
“It’s amazing for managing a PDF library.”
“You get a great amount of space.”
Although the software still has some bugs around being compatible with other citation software such as Refworks, it might be worth a shot! The most important take away for me was that I still have a lot to learn about resources in the Libraries. IAPril is a great way to dive in and keeping my eyes open is a must. I look forward to continuing to discover the Libraries with you!