RefWorks - Organizing & Managing References

What is RefWorks?

RefWorks is a web-based bibliographic management database available to SU students, faculty and staff through a campus-wide license purchased by Syracuse University Library. RefWorks functions as an online tool for organizing and managing references.

Logging In

To access SU Library's RefWorks subscription:

  1. go to the Library home page at
  2. Click on "Citation Support."
  3. Click on the RefWorks logo.
  4. Enter your personal Login Name and Password.

Note: First time users need to sign up for an individual account.

Getting Help

Customizing Your Account

  1. Go to the Tools menu.
  2. Select Customize.

Creating Folders for Your References

  1. From the pull-down menu Folders, select Create New Folder
  2. Enter a name in New Folder Name, and click OK.
  3. There is no limit to the number of folders you can create within your RefWorks account.

Putting References into Folders

  1. View your reference, or select multiple references from a list by clicking on the box next to the Ref ID.
  2. Select folder from the Put in Folder drop down menu.
  3. References will automatically be added to the indicated folder.

Note: References can be placed in more than one folder.

Searching for References in Your RefWorks Database

There are three ways to search your RefWorks database:

  1. Quick Search
  2. Advanced Search
  3. Look Up Indexes.

Quick Search

Use the Quick Search feature to search all citation fields.

  1. Enter search terms in the Search RefWorks box.
  2. Click on GO.
  3. Results are displayed with the search terms highlighted.

Adding References to Your RefWorks Database

There are 3 ways to add references to your personal RefWorks database:

  1. Enter references manually.
  2. Import data to RefWorks.
  3. Export references from a library database or online catalog.

Entering References Manually

  1. Select References from the pull-down menu and choose Add New Reference.
  2. Select your bibliographic citation style (e.g., APA, Chicago, MLA) in the box labeled View required fields for:
  3. From the Folder drop-down list, select the folder in which you want to save your reference.
  4. Select the type of reference you are entering (e.g., journal, book, or dissertation) under Ref Type. The field names marked with a red asterisk (*) indicate required information for the selected citation style and reference type.
  5. Enter information in the boxes provided.
  6. Click Save when finished.

Exporting Data Directly

Several library database providers furnish a direct export link within their interface. Search results from these databases can be automatically exported into RefWorks.

  1. Under the save or export function within an individual library database (i.e., ProQuest, CSA, etc.), mark the articles you want to export, or click on the Export to RefWorks option.
    • If you have your RefWorks account already open, the import will automatically begin.
    • If not, you will be prompted to the RefWorks login page; after you log in, the import will automatically begin.
  2. The record will be imported to a folder within RefWorks named Last Imported Folder.
  3. When the import is complete, select View Last Imported Folder to review the imported records.

Note: Always check the accuracy and completeness of your references upon every import.

Importing from Online Catalogs or Databases

You can use RefWorks as a search interface for a number of online resources. RefWorks provides access to a publicly available services such as NLM's Pub Med as well as many universities' online catalogs, including Syracuse University Library's Summit Catalog

  1. From the Search pull-down menu, select Online Catalog or Database.
  2. Under Online Database to Search, select a database from the drop down menu.
  3. Enter terms in either the Quick Search for: or the Advanced Search for: box.
  4. Click on Search.
  5. A new window will open displaying your search results.
  6. Select the references you wish to import into your RefWorks account.
  7. Click Import.

Importing Data from Saved Text Files

References can be imported into RefWorks from a text file (.txt) created by saving references from some library databases and other bibliographic management programs that do not have a direct export feature.

  1. Retrieve the results you want to import from the online service or bibliographic manager, and save them to a text file.1
  2. Access your RefWorks account and click References from the drop-down menu; then select Import.
  3. On the next menu, access the drop-down menu next to Import Filter/Data Source and click the source of the data. Then click on the Database drop-down menu and select the source database.
  4. Click on the Import References Into menu and designate the specific folder where you want to file the imported references. If you do not choose a folder, the references will automatically go into a folder titled Last Imported Folder.
  5. Enter results file name into Import Data from the following Text File by browsing and selecting or manually typing in the file name.
  6. Click on Import at the bottom of the screen.

Converting References from Other Bibliographic Management Products

RefWorks is compatible with a number of other bibliographic management products, such as Endnote.2

Using RefGrab-It

  1. When you are on a web page you want to grab information from, just click on the RefGrab-It link in your toolbar or bookmark list.
  2. You will be brought to the RefWorks temporary results page where the data will be displayed. This page shows you:
    • A link back to the web page where the information came from
    • basic information gathered from that web page
    • supplemental information that RefGrab-it has found related to the data you are capturing
  3. If you want to add the web page information RefGrab-It has found to your RefWorks account, click on the Import button.

You may see a link that says "A more complete version of this reference may be available. Show me this reference". Click on the link to view the information. Click the Import button if you want this information added to your RefWorks account.

RefGrab-It Other Info

You may also have a Other Info tab on your temporary results page. This tab display links to additional information that may include:

  • Books (ISBNs included on the web page you selected)
  • Articles (Additional information found from PubMed PMIDs on the web page)
  • Digital Objects (Includes information found based upon DOI (Digital Object Identifiers) on the web page)
  • RSS Feeds (Lists all feeds on this page (some of which may not relate to the information you are viewing)).

To use Other Info

  1. Select any of the additional information you wish to view by clicking on the appropriate link. You will have the option to import any of the other information RefGrab-It locates. RSS Feeds you wish to keep will need to be copied and added from within your RefWorks account.
  2. If you are not logged in to your account, you will be prompted to log-in. Otherwise, your records will appear in the Last Imported folder.

Note: You may need to temporarily disable any pop-up blockers while accessing the RefGrab-It results.

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