Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service - News from research support services

Month: August 2022

Mendeley Desktop no longer downloadable from 1 September 2022

Mendeley Desktop, the original desktop application for Mendeley Reference Management, will no longer be downloadable via the Mendeley website from 1 September 2022. However, support for the software will remain available and people who have already installed it will still be able to use it. This forms part of Mendeley’s effort to migrate users to the newer Mendeley Reference Manager. This application is also downloadable and is essentially a newer version of Mendeley Desktop. Its associated MS Word plug-in still has several issues though. This is why we at SU Library and Information Service will still focus our support and training on Mendeley Desktop. We have acquired the install files for both Windows and MacOS and made them available on our Mendeley Library Guide. So, our users can still use Mendeley Desktop for as long as Mendeley allows access to the platform and once all the bugs and issues with Mendeley Cite have been resolved, we strongly encourage you to keep using the older software. You can read more about this here.

What is the difference between Mendeley Desktop and Mendeley Reference Manager?

Both Mendeley Desktop and Mendeley Reference Manager are downloadable applications that are used for bibliographic reference management. Mendeley Desktop is the original version that allowed you to work seamlessly even if you are working offline. Mendeley Desktop’s Cite-O-Matic plugin for MS Word simplifies in-text citations and reference management. Mendeley Reference Manager is the newer version and it will eventually replace Mendeley Desktop. It still lacks many features that Mendeley Desktop has and its MS Word plugin, Mendeley Cite, is still reputed to cause many issues. This is why we recommend that our users continue using Mendeley Desktop for as long as it is available.

Mendeley Desktop (MD)

  • Multiple ways to import references
  • You can import references from other reference managers
  • You can create a Watch Folder. If you store a PDF document in the Watch Folder, its metadata will automatically be uploaded to Mendeley Desktop and it will create a record
  • You can export PDF documents with the annotations you have made to it
  • Easy access to the style customisation platform
  • You can manually check for duplicates and select the most accurate version
  • The Cite-O-Matic is a stable and reliable MS Word Plugin and allows for greater customisations of citations and their fonts
  • Easier to use while working offline

Mendeley Reference Manager (MRM)

  • Mendeley Reference Manager does not have any of the above features
    • An exception is the option to import references from other reference managers, however the feature is frustrating and not easy to use
    • MRM automatically checks for duplicates, but it is not very efficient
  • MRM has a Notebook feature that collates all the notes you make in your various references
  • Easier access to searching for articles on the Mendeley database
  • Mendeley Cite (MRM’s MS Word plugin) is still very faulty and causes multiple issues for users
    • References often do not display as they are supposed to
    • There is not a footnote style available that is compatible with Mendeley Cite
    • Mendeley Cite uses textbox field codes to insert citations and they are difficult to delete once inserted


For more information, contact Kirchner van Deventer, Manager: Carnegie Research Commons

#SmartResearcher Webinars in September

#SmartResearcher webinars continue in September. Please see below more information about the webinars.

 Kindly note that you will receive a link to MS Teams for every session that you register.

These workshops are aimed at postgraduate students, emerging researchers and academic staff and the focus will be on the research process. The sessions vary in length depending on the subject matter, but cover a wide range of subjects related to the postgraduate research journey.

Tips on how to format your thesis (MS Word)

This workshop will help you work around some of the common formatting glitches most postgraduate students experience, whilst getting their document ready for submission.

Date: Tuesday, 13 September, 11h00 – 13h00

Please book here

Mendeley for reference management

Managing your references can be a daunting task. This workshop will introduce you to Mendeley, a free tool focusing mainly on reference management. Mendeley offers various services, including reference management, organising and annotation of PDF documents and collaboration.

Date: Thursday, 15 September, 11h00 – 12h30

Please book here

How to use the Institutional Research Data Repository, SUNScholarData

Many funders mandate that data collected in the process of conducting research funded by them is deposited in reputable repositories, this workshop will provide an overview of research data repositories and demonstrate the manner in which the SU’s Institutional Research Data Repository functions.

Date: Tuesday, 20 September, 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Making important decisions about publishing your research

This hands-on session covers important factors to help you decide where to publish your research. Making the right choices can increase readership and citations, diminish publication lag and ensure that your publication is eligible for government subsidy.

Date: Wednesday, 21 September, 10h00 – 13h00

Please book here

Enhancing the visibility of your research output through self-archiving

Stellenbosch University’s institutional policy on the self-archiving of research output is curated by the Library and Information Service. Complying with this policy, which asks researchers to deposit copies of their research output in SUNScholar, our institutional repository, can greatly increase the visibility and impact of research output. This workshop will teach participants more about the policy and how to comply with the policy in order to improve access to and visibility of their research outputs.

Date: Thursday, 22 September, 11h00 – 12h30

Please book here

Maximise your research impact

This workshop will show how to improve your impact as a researcher.

Date: Tuesday, 27 September, 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Data Visualisation with Power BI

The workshop will be a hands-on introduction to Power BI, available for free through SU’s subscription to Microsoft 365.

Participants will learn the following:

  • How to install the desktop application and connect to Microsoft Excel
  • Start visualising data easily with an extensive library of data visualisations.
  • How to build reports and dashboards

Date: Wednesday, 28 September, 11h00 – 13h00

Please book here

Introduction to Tableau Public and RawGraphs for data visualisation

This workshop will be an introductory course to visualise your data with Tableau Public and RAWGraphs. Both are free tools and fairly user friendly.

Date: Thursday, 29 September, 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Samuel Simango at the Mortenson Center Associates Program

Samuel Simango, Manager of Research Data Services, attended the Mortenson Center Associates Program recently. The following is his feedback on his time spent at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign:

The Mortenson Center Associates Program is a unique non-degree professional development programme for librarians from outside the United States. The programme is run by the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs which is located at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The 2022 Mortenson Center Associates Program took place between 25th May – 21st June. The theme for this year was Smart and Smarter: Leadership and Innovation in Libraries. The activities of the programme comprised seminars, workshops, tours, and various tasks.

The programme’s content was wide-ranging and touched on multiple areas relating to library and information services. To a certain degree, it represents a deep dive into the Library and Information Service at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. However, this was blended with perspectives from several other divisions of the University, such as the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, Siebel Center for Design, as well as the Campus Instructional Facility. Furthermore, the associates were also provided with broader exposure to several other institutions, including the Urbana Free Library, Harold Washington Branch Chicago Public Library, University of Chicago Library, Ohio State University Library, Pritzker Military Museum and Library, Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), Westerville Public Library, Arthur Public Library, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Illinois State Library.

There were no specific tracts for the different types of librarians. As such all librarians attending the programme were exposed to a broad range of library environments. The idea was to provide associates with exposure rather than pigeonholing them to the types of libraries in which they happen to work. The Mortenson Center Associates Program probably represents the single greatest transfer of knowledge in the library sector in the world – primarily due to the manner in which it facilitates knowledge acquisition. After attending this programme one certainly comes out with a better understanding and appreciation of libraries.

Samuel (third from the right at the back) with the other librarians who attended the programme, and some of the presenters

Visualise networks within the Dimensions database

The free version of the Dimensions database is a powerful tool to search for publications, data sets, clinical trials and many more. Dimensions covers millions of research publications connected by more than 1.6 billion citations, supporting grants, datasets, clinical trials, patents and policy documents. It boasts to be the world’s largest linked research information dataset.  Read more here.

They have worked together with the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) to integrate their VOSViewer tool into Dimensions. VOSviewer is a software tool for constructing and visualising bibliometric networks which may include citations, bibliographic coupling, co-citations, or co-authorship relations. VOSviewer Online has been fully integrated and added as a visualisation option in the Analytical views panel for all versions of Dimensions. Initially, it is only available in the Researchers Analytical View for publications. The following two types of analyses are available —co-authorship analysis and citation analysis.

Co-authorship analysis

With this fairly new feature you can now easily identify key patterns in bibliometric data. Try it out and contact us if you need any assistance.

Contact: Marié Roux

Staff News

The two staff members who make sure that the Carnegie Research Commons is no common place have recently been promoted. Kirchner van Deventer’s title has changed from Head: Carnegie Research Commons to Manager: Carnegie Research Commons. His colleague, Letlao Seloma is no longer an Assistant Librarian, but now he is the Librarian: Carnegie Research Commons. With the new titles come new responsibilities, but their focus remains to provide excellent service to our clients.

Kirchner started working at Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service (SU LIS) in August 2019. His primary responsibility in the Research Commons were, and still are, to provide research support and training to Master’s and Doctoral students, as well as researchers and academic staff. This entails assisting clients with the various stages in the research process and referring them to relevant support structures, assisting with document formatting and other IT related issues, support with referencing and our reference management software of choice, Mendeley. He is also responsible for upholding the high standard of infrastructure in the Research Commons and he serves on several committees and task teams. Following his promotion, Kirchner has become the person responsible for organising the #SmartResearcher training programme and he also presents several of the webinars, including Mendeley for reference management, Tips on how to format your thesis (MS Word), Useful tools for research and the Literature Review.


Letlao began his career at SU LIS at the start of 2019, six months before Kirchner and, as Assistant Librarian, he was responsible for providing on-site technical support to clients with the Research Commons facilities, such as our videoconferencing facility, the computer workstations and the facilities in our seminar rooms. He is also responsible for providing research support and, since his promotion, the level of support he provides has increased. He has become more involved in the #SmartResearcher training programme and he also presents several of the Mendeley for reference management webinars. He also hosts weekly Mendeley Mondays webinars where clients can consult with him about issues they have regarding Mendeley.