RefWorks Tips from BML

 RefWorks is a web-based tool for storing and managing references and other research materials that you wish to use in your bibliographies. Using RefWorks, you can create personal databases and quickly output bibliographies for your research projects.

RefWorks is licensed campus-wide by the UCSD Libraries - all current students, faculty, and staff members can use RefWorks for free from any off or on-campus computer. And because the service is web-based, there is no software for you to install, and you can access your RefWorks database from any computer including InfoStations and computers in student labs.

We do teach classes in RefWorks each quarter - check out our classes web page to find out more and to sign up.

How To Get Started With RefWorks:

Go to RefWorks.

Off campus: you need to have your off-campus computer connected to the UCSD network via either the proxy server or VPN. If you are asked for a "group code" that's a signal that your proxy or VPN settings are not quite correct. You don't need the group code for most RefWorks operations, only for using the Write N Cite plugin with your word processor. Here are instructions for setting up proxy access from home. When your computer is set up correctly to connect to UCSD's network, you will see a link on the RefWorks page about using Write N Cite from off campus and you can find the group code information there.

If you have some references to start with, you can type them in manually using "Add New Reference" under "References" from the top menu bar, or you can try to find them in an external database and then bring them into RefWorks. Further down this page there are some instructions for getting records from specific databases into RefWorks.

You can organize your references into folders to keep items relating to different projects or papers separate. If you expect to have large numbers of references relating to completely separate projects, you can also sign up for multiple accounts and keep all your projects separate that way.

You can connect RefWorks with the Word document of your paper in a couple ways, either via a small applet called "Write-N-Cite," which inserts a RefWorks button into Word, or by clicking "Bibliography" from the top menu bar and following the directions for adding citations to your document. You will want to give your bibliography the once-over before submitting it, especially if you have some unusual types of references, but we've found it works very well.

Getting References into RefWorks from Library Databases:

You can search Roger from inside RefWorks. Choose "Search" from the top menu, and select "Online Catalog or Database." Scroll down - University of California San Diego is near the bottom of the list, and that's the Roger library catalog.
Note: the "Quick Search" box does not work! Use the "Advanced Search" form and search by exact title, author, or subject heading. The "All Fields" option also is not working. This works best for a known item search where you have the exact title of the book you want to get into RefWorks.


BIOSIS Previews and Web of Science
Save your desired results to your computer using the Tagged format. In RefWorks, use the References/Import function to import them into your RefWorks library. Choose Import Filter/Data Source: ISI and Database: BIOSIS or Web of Science, depending on which database they are from.
Alternative: if you are working on a computer where you cannot download files, you can e-mail the records to yourself from ISI, choosing the Tagged format and Plain Text formatting. You can then copy and paste the body of the e-mail into the Import tool in Refworks, in the lower box marked "Import Data from the following Text."

For quickly getting "known" references (ie, things you know for sure are in PubMed), the easiest option is to search PubMed right from inside RefWorks. Click "Search" from the top menu bar, then "Online Catalog or Database." PubMed is one of the choices. You can put journal names, author surnames, and article title words in the "quick search" box. Or, you can use the "Advanced" search form to limit by date, etc.

If you need to do a real literature search, we do not recommend using Refworks' internal PubMed search tool - we recommend using the "real" PubMed search interface in order to get access to PubMed's powerful vocabulary mapping, limits, more options for saving and printing results, etc.

To export from PubMed into RefWorks, mark the records you want and use the Send To arrow to send them to the Clipboard.  You can keep searching and sending the records you want to the Clipboard until you are done.

When you are done, click the Clipboard label at the upper right to see your marked items.  Change the Display Settings to MEDLINE and click Apply.  The screen will change to display your citations in the tagged MEDLINE style. 

In your browser, select all the text with Select All (or Control+A), then Copy (or Control+C).

In RefWorks, you will use the Import option under "References." Select NLM PubMed as the Import Filter/Data Source, and PubMed will be selected automatically as the Database. If you are importing from a saved file, choose that, if you are pasting in from results on screen, paste them into the box provided. The key thing is to ensure that in PubMed, you used the MEDLINE format. Otherwise RefWorks won't know how to interpret the citation information.

PsycINFO and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts
You should be able to export PsycINFO records directly from the results page of a PsycINFO database search:

refworks button

  • Mark the records to be exported into your RefWorks database.
  • Click the Save/Print/Email link at top of the results page.
  • Click the Export to RefWorks button. Note: only records for Published Works will be processed.
  • Your records will appear in the Last Imported Folder.
Last updated: February 12, 2010
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