RefWorks: Adding References with RefGrab-It

UNC Libraries’ subscription to RefWorks will end August 31, 2017.

What is RefGrab-It?

RefGrab-It is a bookmarklet that you add to the bookmarks in your browser and use to try to automatically pull the citation information for articles and PDFs into your RefWorks account. RefGrab-It works "behind the scenes" to locate bibliographic information associated with web pages including title and URL information. 

Be sure to use Firefox or Internet Explorer when using RefGrab-It. It is not compatible with Safari or Chrome.

To set up RefGrab It:

  1. While logged into RefWorks, select Tools and then RefGrab-It. Like so:
  2. A window will appear that will allow you to install the Ref-Grab-It bookmarklet. Left click on the RefGrab-It link and drag it to your bookmarks bar in whichever browser you are using. Like so:

    Dragging the RefGrab-It link to the bookmark bar in Firefox

Now, you can use RefGrab-It to import citation information from web pages into RefWorks. To do this:

  1. Find the web page that you want to cite.
  2. Click on the RefGrab-It bookmarklet.
  3. Check the Details to see the information RefGrab It has found.
  4. Select the "Import into RefWorks" button.
  5. For example like this:
    Using RefGrab-It to import in a reference from the CDC

As you will see in the example above, the details that RefGrab-It imported were imperfect at best. This emphasizes the point that you need to be sure to check your Last Imported folder to make sure the added reference was imported correctly. You may have to manually edit references or else they will look funky down the road when you go to cite the reference in your manuscript.

Using RefGrab-It to import from Google Scholar

If you want to add references from Google Scholar, then you can follow the steps detailed in our Google Scholar section of Adding References by clicking on this link. But this method works best if you are only importing a few references since you have to click Import to RefWorks for each reference. If you would like to import more than a couple references from Google Scholar, then you may want to use RefGrab-It to make the process a bit easier. For more information on RefGrab-It, be sure to check out our RefGrab-It section of Adding References by clicking on this link.

To use RefGrab-It to import references from Google Scholar, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you are already logged into your RefWorks account.
  2. Click on the RefGrab-It bookmarklet when you're at the Google Scholar search you want to add references from.
  3. Select the references that you want to add to your RefWorks account and click Import to RefWorks.
  4. This process may take a bit of time, so you may have to wait for a few minutes while RefGrab-It determines what citation information is present on Google Scholar.
  5. Now go your RefWorks account and review the imported references to make sure they look proper.
  6. This is demonstrated below:
    Using RefGrab-It to import references from Google Scholar

As you may notice from the example. References added from Google Scholar are imperfect at best, so you need to be sure to look in your Last Imported folder in your RefWorks account to review the references and make any edits if necessary.

Review your Last Imported Folder in RefWorks

After you import references to RefWorks, it is always important to check your Last Imported folder in RefWorks to make sure the imported reference looks proper.

The Last Imported folder is on the right side of your RefWorks account. Like this:
The last imported folder in your RefWorks account

Errors that may occur can include:

  1. All letters capitalized
  2. Improper titles

As you can see from the examples above, they may require significant editing to make sure that they accurately represent the reference. This step is important so you can:

  1. Find the reference again later in case you want to read it
  2. Avoid having to edit the reference later when citing it in a manuscript

I'm having problems downloading citations from databases into RefWorks. Help!

  1. Be sure to be logged into your RefWorks account before attempting to export citations from databases. Logging in beforehand will ensure you do not have to duplicate steps
  2. Your browser. Safari is often the culprit.  It is recommended that you use Firefox as your primary browser for all things RefWorks-related.  If you don't currently have Firefox installed on your computer, you can download it for free by clicking here. Try repeating these tasks in Firefox and see if this solves the problem.
  3. Pop-Ups. Many databases pop-open a new window to directly export the citation(s) to RefWorks, you may need to enable pop-ups.
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