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RefWorks: Getting Started at Colgate

Refworks Tutorials

What is RefWorks?

RefWorks is citation software offered by the Colgate University Libraries to all Colgate students, faculty and staff.

It is a Web-based bibliography and database manager that allows you to create your own personal database by importing references from text files or online databases, including Colgate’s Library Catalog. You can use these references in writing papers and automatically format the bibliography in seconds.

RefWorks enables you to:

  • Organize your research
  • Build a bibliography in a variety of formats
  • Import references from many data sources,
  • Create bibliographies in different document formats (Word, RTF, HTML, etc.)
  • Include citations while you write your paper using Write-N-Cite

The Colgate Libraries have a site license to RefWorks, and there is no cost to individual Colgate users. To register for your account you must be logged in to the Colgate network. Once registered, you can use the account from anywhere in the world. Please use your Colgate University email address when registering.

As a Web-based product, RefWorks is available across various platforms including Windows, Mac, Unix, etc. Your RefWorks databases are stored on the Web and can be accessed by you from anywhere you can access the Web. If accessing RefWorks from outside the campus network, you no longer need the group code.

Getting Started

You can log on to RefWorks from the library homepage. The first time you log on you'll need to set up a RefWorks account.

Access Refworks
New users should click on the link at the top of the login box
"sign up for a new account"

Once you've registered, RefWorks will send you an email confirming your ID and Password. You can now access RefWorks from either on campus or elsewhere.

To learn to use RefWorks, once registered, log in and click on the HELP tab on the RefWorks banner at the top of the page and choose TUTORIAL. The tutorials are excellent and highly recommended.

Creating A RefWorks Database

To save citations into RefWorks, you must first open your RefWorks account. There are four ways that you can save citations into RefWorks:

It is always a good idea to review the records after importing them as, on occasion, data will map inaccurately and will be in an incorrect format - author will not be last name first - or into the "wrong" field - journal title will be in the notes field. Also, users should review the REF TYPE of each record since the formatting in citations or bibliographies will not be correct unless the matching REF TYPE has been selected.

Direct Import from Databases

The following database providers allow you to export data directly from the database to RefWorks:

Instructions for some are found by selecting the link or using the help file on RefWorks, under "Getting references into your account" look for "Importing from online data vendors."

      L'Annee Philologique (American Philological Association) also supports direct export, select records, select save, change destination to Refworks.

Importing Data from Saved .TXT or .RIS Files

References can be imported into RefWorks from a .txt or .ris file by saving the references and then using the IMPORT feature located under the REFERENCES tab on the right hand side of the RefWorks banner. To make it easy to find the file, you may want to save it on the Desktop.

Save data to .txt or .ris files before importing to RefWorks when using the following databases, some resources have RefWorks help file directions:, Britannica, International Medieval Database (Brepols), Oxford University Press (some Oxford resources offer reference transfer, others do not), and Walter de Gruyter Reference Global - use the importing from text file method but do not have a custom help entry.

Manually entering the references into RefWorks

When using the providers not on the RefWorks help file you will need to manually enter references.


Write-N-Cite to insert formatted citations directly into your papers

Write-N-Cite is an add-on to Microsoft Word, available for both PC and Macintosh. The current release of Write-N-Cite is version 4 and is recommended. Note that Word 2013 is currently not supported by any version until a fall update is released.

An installation help file is available. Contact a Reference Librarian for further assistance..

There are support programs that must be in place prior to running the installers, they are: 

To install Write-N-Cite on your personal computer:

    1. Sign into your RefWorks account.
    2. From the banner choose TOOLS, select Write-N-Cite
    3. From the pop-up box choose Write-N-Cite for your version of Microsoft Word
    4. Download and install Write-N-Cite. This may require you to close Microsoft Word
    5. Select the REFWORKS tab on the toolbar for Microsoft Word when you reopen it.
    6. Select log in and paste the individual code from YOUR Refworks account as shown in the example below

Refworks login page

Page Created Mike Poulin & Maintained by: Mike Poulin, Digital Resources Librarian & Mary Cordaro | Last Updated: June 25, 2014 | © 2009

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