RefWorks Tutorial


About this Tutorial

In this tutorial you will learn how to export references from various scholarly databases to the reference management software RefWorks, organise your references in RefWorks and create a bibliography.


Perform this excercise from an on-campus location. In that way, you will be successfully authenticated by the providers of the university’s electronic resources as a member of the university . If you do this exercise from an off-campus location, first log in to VPN (NetVPN is preferred).

Setting up RefWorks

  1. If you have not already done so, create a RefWorks account following instructions in .
  2. Log in to RefWorks: .
  3. In RefWorks, create a new folder titled Exercise.
  4. Keep RefWorks open throughout this exercise.

Importing references from Google Scholar

  1. In a new browser window, open Google Scholar and update the settings to Show links to import citations into: RefWorks: .
  2. Search for scientific articles on Google Scholar. Make sure that Google Scholar only returns articles published as of a certain year, e.g. year 2000. To that end, click on the “arrow down” icon in the rightmost position within Google Scholar’s main search box.
  3. While browsing the results, pay attention to the Find It @ Jacobs links on the right-hand side. Articles annotated with Find It @ Jacobs are available to you because they are part of the university’s holdings and you are a member of the university.
  4. Click on some Find It @ Jacobs links.
  5. In the results list of Google Scholar, identify a relevant article annotated with a Find it @ Jacobs link and click on Import into RefWorks.
  6. In RefWorks, you should receive a confirmation saying Import completed – 1 reference imported.
  7. Import several references from Google Scholar.

Working with RefWorks folders

  1. In RefWorks, go to Organize & Share Folders. Pay attention to the following folders:
    • Excercise: This folder was created by you.
    • Last Imported: This folder only contains the last imported record.
    • Not In Folder: This folder contains all records, that were not filed in a specific folder, this includes all records imported above.
  2. Move records from folder Not In Folder to folder Exercise by doing the following:
    • In the list of all folders, click on Not In Folder: a list of references in that folder are shown.
    • Select the references to be moved by ticking the respective checkbox.
    • Click on the Add To icon (the folder with a green plus sign): a submenu will be shown.
    • In the submenu: click on folder Exercise.

Exporting references from a scholarly database (1/2)

  1. In a new window, go to SpringerLink: . Make sure that in the upper-right corner you see the university’s logo.
  2. On the SpringerLink site, select discipline Engineering and uncheck box Include Preview-Only content. To how many items of that discipline is the university entitled? Filter the result list by Language and Subdiscipline and identify some relevant items.
  3. When viewing a single item on a article or book level, to the right of the page under Other actions click on Export citation and select Ref Works (RIS) as a citation manager. Save the file to your local hard disk and remember the location.

Importing locally saved citations into RefWorks

  1. Go to RefWorks.
  2. In the main menu, select References, Import. A new dialogue will pop up.
  3. Under Import From as Import Filter and Database choose SpringerLink, and Browse to the locally saved file from SpringerLink.
  4. Under Import To select folder Exercise. Start the import by clicking on button Import.

Accessing electronic full texts directly from RefWorks

  1. In RefWorks, navigate to folder Exercise.
  2. Note the Find It @ Jacobs link below each article. Those buttons have the same functionality as the Find it @ Jacobs links in Google Scholar: you can directly jump to the full text of the reference.

Exporting references from a scholarly database (2/2)

  1. Go to Elsevier ScienceDirect: . Make sure that in the upper-right corner you see the university’s logo.
  2. Acquaint yourself with searching and browsing journal articles on ScienceDirect.
  3. When viewing an item on a article level, click on Export on the article’s page and then under Direct Export select RefWorks.
  4. Once you saved a record from ScienceDirect to RefWorks, in RefWorks go to folder Last Imported and try the Find It @ Jacobs button.
  5. Move the record to folder Exercise.

Printing a bibliography

  1. In RefWorks, list all records in folder Exercise.
  2. Click on button Create Bibliography: A new dialogue will pop up.
  3. Select an Output Style and File Type and click on button Create Bibliography.