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RefWorks Guide: Switching Citation Managers

This guide describes how to find RefWorks on the library's website and how to create an account. Links are provided to other guides on how to use RefWorks.

Subscription Update

As of January 1, 2022, the Briscoe Library will no longer subscribe to RefWorks. 

Listed below are answers to some of the frequently asked questions about ending the libraries' subscription to RefWorks.

Will I lose my references?

RefWorks users will not lose their data after the RefWorks subscription ends. However, in order to fully access, use, and edit references in the future, users must export their data from RefWorks before December 31, 2021 and import it into a different citation management tool.

When does the libraries RefWorks subscription end?

The libraries' subscription ends on December 31, 2021. Users will have full access to the site until that time. After the subscription ends, users will have limited access to their RefWorks account in order to export their data. 

Can I pay for an individual subscription to RefWorks?

RefWorks subscriptions can only be purchased at the institutional level, so it is not possible for an individual to subscribe to RefWorks. There is no free version of the software.

How can I get help transferring my RefWorks library to another citation manager?

Due to this cancelation, all current RefWorks users will need to move their references to another reference manager. Library Staff recommend switching to Zotero, a free and open source reference manager. If you are ready to switch to Zotero, the migration is a two-step process:

  1. Export your references from RefWorks.
  2. Import your references into Zotero.

Keep reading for instructions on how to migrate. Or contact us for help.

Exporting from RefWorks

If you want to maintain the same folder structure in your new reference manager, you should export your citations from RefWorks one folder at a time.

It's recommended that you save each export file created below with the name of the folder, so each is easily identifiable when importing to your new reference manager.

  1. Login to your New RefWorks account.

  2. Click My Folders (from the left navigation pane) and select a folder for export from the list.

  3. Check the Select All box (just above your list of references) and click the Share icon. 

  4. Choose Export References.

  5. Choose the following options:

    • From:
      All references in 'Folder Name'

    • Format:
      BibTeX (if migrating to Mendeley or Zotero)
      RIS Format (if migrating to EndNote)

    • Click Export

  6. Make note of where you export/save the file, because you'll need it to import into your new reference manager.

  7. Repeat these steps for each folder, then follow the import instructions for your new reference manager.

If you don't need to maintain the same folder structure in your new reference manager, exporting your citations all at once is a much quicker option.

  1. Login to your New RefWorks account.

  2. Click All Documents (upper left of screen), check the Select All box (just above your list of references) and click the Share icon. 

  3. Choose Export References.

  4. Choose the following options:

    • From:
      All references in 'All Documents'

    • Format:
      BibTeX (if migrating to Mendeley or Zotero)
      RIS Format (if migrating to EndNote)

    • Click Export

  5. Make note of where you export/save the file, because you'll need it to import into your new reference manager.

Importing Citations into Zotero

1. Open Zotero. From the File menu in the upper left hand corner, select Import. 

2. A window asking "Where do you want to import from?" will pop up. Select A file and click Next.

A file Zotero

 

3. Select a file you exported from RefWorks and click Open

4. A dialogue box with the option "Place imported collections and items into a new collection" will appear. You have two choices:

  • Leave this option checked if you would like Zotero to place your citations into a new, automatically created folder. (Folders are called "collections" in Zotero)

  • Or, uncheck this box if you would prefer the citations to be imported into the "Unfiled Items" area of your Zotero library.

Once you have made your selection, click Next.

5. Your references are now imported into Zotero.

  • If you opted to have Zotero create a new collection for your citations, you may rename it if you wish by right clicking on the collection in the left sidebar and selecting Rename Collection. The default name of the collection is the same as the name of the file you imported.

Note

Information on this guide provided by Citation + Writing, https://libguides.massgeneral.org/citations-writing/refworks-zotero