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Michigan State University

Mendeley: Importing Citations by Database

Information for Mendeley uses, including citation download assistance, bibliography creation, and tips to make Mendeley a time-saving, citation management tool


SearchPlus is the discovery tool for the MSU Libraries and searches across our catalog (books, CDs, DVDs, government documents, journal titles, etc), our guides, and many (but not all) of our article databases.

To import citations into Mendeley, the most accurate way is to add selected records to a folder then use the SearchPlus export tool.

  1. From the full list of results, go through them and click on the folder beside each citation you wish to save to add it to your temporary records folder.
  2. Once you've complied all the citations you want, click the main folder at the top of the page to bring up the desired citations.
  3. At the top of the page, click the Export As... button to drop down a list of options.
  4. Select ENDNOTE - BibTex will not work.
  5. Depending on your browser system, you will be given a choice of which program to open the file, either Mendeley Desktop or EndNote. If you have both systems, you may need to save the file and then import it into Mendeley using the 'Add Files' function as EndNote is the default program.

You can also use the Web Importer (WI) with moderate success.

  1. You can either try it from the list of all results. Note that the more you scroll down to see results, the more articles the WI will try to import. The most I got to save at once was 192 records.
  2. Or, save records to the folder and then use the WI on the compiled folder list.

Note - the Web Importer has a memory cache. Records will not necessarily be deleted from one saving session to the next. To clear the cache you will need to begin a new SearchPlus session.  That, or save only the newly added records individually - they will be at the bottom of the list.

Proquest platform

The Proquest platform contains over 80 databases, and it's very easy to export citations into Mendeley using the RIS format.

Individual articles:The Web Importer does NOT properly load the citation data.

  • Instead, check the article(s) you want to export,
  • From the Export/Save option on the upper right, select RIS from the drop-down list,
  • Click Continue at the bottom of the box,
  • During the download, either save the file or open it directly with your Mendeley Desktop.

Multiple articles (batch): Follow the above instructions, selecting as many articles as you wish to export.

Note: Articles with full text and/or the pdf will NOT download the full text or pdf file. Those must be saved separately and attached in the Mendeley Desktop.

Web of Science platform

The Web of Science (or Knowledge) platform hosts the databases Web of Science, Biological Abstracts, Cab Abstracts, and Food Science and Technology Abstracts (FSTA), and others.The ONLY database that will accurately load the FULL citation in batch mode is the Web of Science Core Collection. All other articles in the other databases need to be imported individually using the Web Importer (WI), but then information will be omitted from the record, whether it be the authors, source, vol/iss, date, etc.

To successfully export individual and multiple items in batches from the Web of Science Core Collection,

  • Mark the record(s) using the checkboxes to the left of the article(s)
  • If you want to export citation one page at a time, you can click 'Save to other file for...' at the top center of the page; Save to other file formats; then from Other File Format select BibTex. Open the results in Mendeley Desktop.
  • If you want to save multiple pages of citations, mark the article you want, then click on the 'Add to Marked List' link at the top center of the page.
  • When you've finished marking the results you want to export across multiple pages, click on the 'Marked Records' button at the the top right of the page.
  • If there are additional fields of data you want, mark it now.
  • Proceed to step 3: Click 'Save to other file for...'; Save to other file formats; then from Other File Format select BibTex. Open the results in Mendeley Desktop.

Note that even when marking records and saving them as a BibTex, the journal name is not exported into the Mendeley record. Scan the article citations once imported into the Mendeley Desktop to insure all the fields are properly populated.

For the other databases on the Web of Science platform

  • If saving the article, proceed to save the article in pdf format to your watch folder or other location, then drag & drop the pdf into Mendeley. This will fill the the fields with the metadata embedded in the pdf. Afterward scan the citations to insure all the fields are properly populated.
  • If there is a DOI, use the the 'Add record manually' method to fill in the fields, then proof the citation.
  • If the article is not saved or you just need the citation, use the Web Importer (WI). Afterward edit the citation as  information will be omitted from the record, whether it be the authors, source, vol/iss, date, etc.

EBSOChost platform

The EBSCOhost platform contains dozens of databases and includes articles, books, book chapters, ebooks, proceedings, etc.

Web Importer.
The Web Importer (WI) works for multiple ARTICLES from a list of results. It will correclty fill in citation information for each article.

The WI will NOT work for other file formats - books, chapters, conference proceedings, etc.

To export non-article formats and multiple items in batches,

  • Click on the folder on the far right of each item you want to export,
  • Once you have selected all of your items, click on the folder at the very top of the page,
  • Select any or all of the items to export, and click the export button in the far right column,
  • The default is "Direct Export in RIS Format", so click the Save button.
  • Open with the Mendeley Desktop.

Note: Articles with full text and/or the pdf will NOT download the full text or pdf file. Those must be saved separately and attached in the Mendeley Desktop.

ScienceDirect and Scopus platforms

ScienceDirect and Scopus are Elsevier platforms and are very Mendeley-friendly. Citations can easily be exported, along with their attached pdfs, if desired, by either using the Web Importer or by clicking individual checkboxes then clicking the export button at the top of the results list.


PubMed is THE medical research database.

The Web Importer is the best way to import records into Mendeley. It can be used to export all the records in a resultls list at one time, or an individual record from either the results list or the record's own page.


IngentaConnect is a platform for some of our electronic journals, for example Agricultural History Review. Saving citations is conducted for both individual or batch records (adding to favourites). In the right Tools area, cllick on 'Export Options, then click Endnote! Records are downloaded using a RIS file, not a specific Endnote file.


Worldcat, the world's largest network of library content, is available in two ways for MSU. One is on the FirstSearch platform, the other is the freely available web-based platform. The web-based option allows for the better importation of records into Mendeley, especially the batch import using the web importer.

Worldcat web -

Use the Web Importer to export reocrds from either the full results list, or at a records individual screen. There is also the Cite/Export option at the top of an individual record. Use the "Export to EndNote / Reference Manager" option and open the record in Mendeley desktop.

Note - no matter how I tried, Series field information was not filled in.

The Web Importer does not always handle articles in this database well, either. Be sure to edit the citation before leaving it. As articles are not the strength of WorldCat, hopfully this will not be a big stumbling block.

Google Scholar

With Google Scholar, you can use the Web Importer to save multiple articles at a time. The other option is to set up your computer to default to BibTex format. Here are the steps to do so:

1. Go to Google Scholar -
2. Click on "Settings" at the top right hand corner of the page.
3. Scroll down to “Bibliography Manager”.
4. ClickShow links to import citations into” and select “BibTex” in the drop-down menu.
5. Click “Save” on the bottom right.
6. Search results should now have a “Import into BibTex” link underneath each one.
7. Click “Import into BibTex” for the citation you want to save.
8. The computer will ask you if you want to open or save: choose open.