Using RefWorks: Getting started

UNC Libraries' subscription to RefWorks will end next August (2017)

The basics

You can use RefWorks to ...

  • Create and organize a personal database of references online.
  • Import references automatically from many library article databases.
  • Format bibliographies and manuscripts.

RefWorks is ...

  • Portable: Your RefWorks database is online so you can access it anywhere, including your cell phone.
  • Stable: You can back up your references to your own computer at any time.
  • Long term: Keep your RefWorks database, even after graduation.

Adding items to Refworks

location of Refworks link in UNC catalogAdding items from the library catalog

There is a quick, simple direct export for RefWorks built into the individual record screens in the UNC-Chapel Hill online catalog. When you've found an item in the catalog, just look for the Refworks link on the right side of the page.

Adding journal articles

You can export citations from hundreds of different library databases directly into RefWorks. The RefWorks Help File has specific directions for many of these databases.

Adding from Google Scholar

First, always search Google Scholar from the Scholar search box on the main library web page. This will allow RefWorks to use the library proxy server when you import Scholar references into RefWorks. Additionally, starting from the library web page will mean you also automatically have direct access, both on and off campus, to subscription articles already paid for through the library. 

Next, you'll need to set your Google Scholar preferences to enable exporting to RefWorks. Go to Google Scholar and click on the Settings link in the upper right corner. Look for the Bibliography Manager section and set it to Refworks. Now your search results will have Refworks export links.

location of refworks link in google scholar search results

Creating a RefWorks account

Click on the logo below to create a RefWorks account

RefWorks logo

1. Click on the "Sign up for a new account" link in the grey box on the left.
2. Enter your information.
3. Do not use punctuation in your user name; underscores are fine.
4. Click "Create Account."

Specific issues

Repairing links to full text articles

Often, records downloaded from library databases such as ERIC or PsycInfo will include links to an article or links back to the record within the database itself. If you try to use one of these links from off-campus, the link might not work since the database does not know that you are affiliated with Carolina. You can manually enter our proxy server stem in front of such links, and this should allow you to access the linked item if Carolina has paid for a subscription. For example:

1. You have a link to:

2. In order to access this from off-campus, you can insert the proxy server stem in front of the URL. The proxy server stem is

3. Your completed URL will be:

More help getting started

These tools are also available from within your RefWorks accounts. Click on the "help" link at the top of your RefWorks screen, then select an option.

  • Last Updated: Sep 9, 2016 3:14 PM
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