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Citations + Writing

We are discontinuing RefWorks. What now?

The Bellack Library has decided to discontinue our RefWorks subscription effective December 31, 2019. As such, all current and alumni users will need to move their references to another reference manager. Unfortunately, only references can be migrated. PDFs and any other attachments will not automatically transfer and will need to be reattached separately.

Library Staff recommend switching to Zotero, a free and open source reference manager. However, current faculty, staff and student also have the option of purchasing Endnote at a discount through Partners Research Information Science & Computing. How to purchase, install and get support with Endnote.

If you're 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 Ask a Librarian for help. We can sit down with you in person (or via Zoom) and help make the migration seamless.

Still using Legacy RefWorks? Follow the export directions for Legacy RefWorks.

Exporting from New RefWorks (one folder at a time)

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.

Exporting from New RefWorks (all at once)

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.

select A file click next

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.