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RefWorks: RefWorks

What is RefWorks?

Refworks is a web-based reference management software, available to SHU staff, students and alumni.  It is designed to help you manage the references you collect and to support the creation of citations and reference lists in you work or research outputs.

RefWorks comes with an add-in called Write-N-Cite which enables you to easily create citations and reference lists in Microsoft Word documents. See the Write-N-Cite tab for more details about this tool and for information about tools to create citations and reference lists in other word processors.

There are two versions of RefWorks!

Proquest RefWorks - the 'new' version, available from February 2017

Legacy RefWorks - the version that has been available for many years.  We expect this to continue to be availalble until 2019, but no exact date is available for when this will be withdrawn by Proquest.


Which version should I use?

If you are a student and you are just getting started with RefWorks, it is recommended that you use new ProQuest RefWorks.

If you already have a Legacy RefWorks account, there is no need to change to ProQuest RefWorks unless you wish to do so.  We expect this version of RefWorks to continue to be available until 2019.

Legacy RefWorks may be more appropriate if you require advanced features such as deduplication, or if you need multiple accounts for different projects.

If you are new to RefWorks, please see the table below: Should I start using Legacy RefWorks or Proquest RefWorks?  

If you currently use Legacy RefWorks, please read this:  Should I transfer from Legacy RefWorks to Proquest RefWorks? 

If you would like advice on which version you should use, please contact the library.

Should I start using Legacy RefWorks or New RefWorks?

Legacy RefWorks Proquest RefWorks (the new one!)

Legacy RefWorks offers:

  • an established, stable product
  • continued access to all the functionality you may be familiar with if you have used it before
  • the functionality to reference in the Harvard-SHU style and the APA 6th ed. style along with many other styles
  • the option to set up multiple RefWorks accounts, i.e. separate databases for different projects
  • reliable deduplication tools
  • Write-n-Cite for citing and referencing in Microsoft Word (see the Write-n-Cite tab for versions of Word supported)

Reasons why you may not wish to use Legacy RefWorks:

  • it does not offer the PDF functionality available in New RefWorks (creating references from PDF and annotating PDFs)
  • there is no tool or function for finding a reference from it's title
  • There are no apps to enable citing in Google docs and Word 2016 for Mac

Legacy RefWorks is likely to become unavailable sometime during 2019

  • If you are starting a project that you expect to complete during 2019 you may have to transfer to New RefWorks during the project. 
    While transfer of references and folders is possible, documents created with Write-n-Cite for Word using Legacy RefWorks can't be modified with New RefWorks.
    Proquest are intending to develop this functionality, but we do not know when this will be in place.
    Please contact the library if you would like advice. 

New RefWorks is still under development and is incomplete.  However, it does offer some new features which you may wish to use.

Proquest RefWorks offers:

  • a search feature to find and add references from their title
  • upload and create references from PDF documents
  • tools to highlight and add searchable comments and notes to your PDF documents
  • an option to preview your references in the style of your choice with any possibly missing information highlighted
  • reference in the APA 6th ed. style and many other styles
  • Write-n-Cite for citing and referencing in Microsoft Word (see the Write-n-Cite tab for versions of Word supported
  • an app which enables citing in Google docs
  • an App which enables citing in Word 2016 for Apple Mac

Reasons why you may not wish to use Proquest RefWorks:

  • you cannot create multiple accounts for one email address
  • the Harvard-SHU style is not included
  • you cannot move more than 100 references at a time to a folder
  • there area also issues with the deduplication tools
  • it's capabilities and limitations in working with large number of references are yet to be established.

Working with lots of references / doing systematic reviews

If you intend to create a large database (tens of thousands of references), for example for a systematic review, please contact the Library to discuss your reference management options.

In large Legacy RefWorks databases, there can be issues with slowness and processes not completing because of network timeouts. If you are a member of staff or a doctoral student, it may be better for you to use EndNote.

We do not recommend the new Proquest RefWorks for systematic reviews, as it's capabilities and limitations in this area are yet to be established.

Using tools and apps - a copyright warning

Please be aware that although sharing of documents is possible using many referencing tools and apps, documents are covered by copyright law and sharing them is a breach of the law unless you own the copyright, copyright has been waived or the document is out of copyright.