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University Libraries

Retiring RefWorks

University of Dayton Libraries’ subscription to RefWorks will expire on June 1, 2016, and will not be renewed. We have carefully reviewed the pros and cons of maintaining a RefWorks subscription and have concluded that the high cost can no longer be justified when there are other free or low cost citation management programs available that are as good or better than RefWorks. We have developed a Bibliography Software Research Guide that will help you plan for the transition. The guide also describes the other citation management options available. 

If you would like to continue using RefWorks, you may purchase your own individual license for $100 per year.

Roesch Library is offering one-on-one consultations by appointment in preparation for this transition. Make an appointment by emailing Librarians will help you transfer your data and answer any questions you may have. 

Librarians are hosting two Campus Conversation events in the LTC about bibliographic software Wednesday, March 16 at 3:30 and Tuesday, April 12 at 3:20. Check the LTC’s program schedule.

I am a RefWorks user. What software should I use instead?

The Libraries provide support for three other bibliographic/citation management systems: EndNote, Mendeley and Zotero. These web-based systems offer the same basic set of functions as RefWorks, although each has its own strengths, which may guide you to one or the other of them.

  • EndNote Lite is a highly customizable tool.

  • Mendeley is a free, web-based tool for managing citations and pdfs, and creating bibliographies. Also has desktop and in-the-cloud versions.

  • Zotero is a free, open-source, web-based tool for managing citations and pdfs, and creating bibliographies. It is highly customizable with a robust user community, and works online and on your desktop.

What if I just want to stay with RefWorks?

If you'd like to continue using RefWorks, you may purchase you own individual license for $100 a year.

How can I learn more about exporting references and selecting new software?

You can meet with a librarian one-on-one to receive training on the software of your choice. Please email to set up an appointment.  Additionally, each of these software programs has excellent online tutorials: Zotero's Start Guide; Mendeley's Videos and Tutorials page; and Endnote Training.

How do I transfer my RefWorks library to new software? Can I maintain my folder system and attached files?
  • To download records from RefWorks, first view the RefWorks folder that you wish to export. If you wish to preserve your folders, you will need to export each folder separately.

  • Go to the Quick Access menu, and select “Export.”

  • To import into Zotero, select the export format BibTeX. A new tab will open with the references as plain text. Save as a .txt file.  Import it into Zotero using Actions (gear icon)> Import. You can also import the plain text into Zotero using Settings (gear icon)> Import from Clipboard.

  • To import into Mendeley, choose the export format Bibliographic Software (EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite). Copy and paste the resulting file into Notepad, then save as a .txt file. Import into Mendeley using File>Add Files.

  • To import into EndNote, choose the “Bibliographic Software (EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite)” format or "Refworks Tagged Format."  Copy and paste the resulting file into Notepad, then save it as a .txt file. Import into EndNote using “File - Import - File..." The filter to use is "RefWorks Import."

  • To download attached files, you must display them on the screen, save, and reattach them to the new records. RefWorks does not provide any way of automatically downloading attached files.

  • Note:  if you have used any of RefWorks' custom fields (user 1, user 2, etc.), these will only be exported using the RefWorks Tagged Format.  However, neither Zotero nor Mendeley can import these files; to get RefWorks citations with custom fields to import properly into Zotero or Mendeley, you will need to import into Endnote using the Refworks filter (which may need to be modified to import all your custom fields), and then exported from Endnote in the RIS export format.  Contact us if you need help with this process.

How do I export items from databases? What if there isn’t a direct export option?

With very few exceptions, every database that exports to RefWorks will also export to these other programs. Most databases that offer automatic export to RefWorks also provide the same type of direct export to EndNote. Mendeley and Zotero have browser-based import functions that allow you to import from your database of interest. Many databases also provide the option of direct export in RIS format. However, data can usually be exported and re-imported from one program into any of the others.

Can I access my references from any computer?

All three programs offer both a desktop version and an online account where you can store references, and to which you can sync the data you have saved in the desktop version.

  • EndNote offers a desktop and online version. Online storage is unlimited if you own a copy of desktop Endnote.

  • Mendeley offers both Mendeley Desktop and an online account (attached files up to 2 GB for free, as well as citations).

  • You can download Zotero either as an add-on for your Firefox browser, or as a standalone program that works in Chrome or Safari. Data is saved locally. But you can set up an account on Zotero and sync your bibliographic information and attached files (up to 300 MB for free, and more for a modest fee) to your online account.

How can I collaborate with others to create folders and libraries?

Three programs also provide the possibility of collaborative work, through “groups”on Zotero and Mendeley, or “shared folders” on EndNote.

I liked the fact that there was the Find It! link automatically embedded in my RefWorks records. Can I get the same functionality with the other programs?

Three programs offer this functionality, but it must be set up in each program's preferences by supplying the OpenURL resolver link:

  • In Zotero, go to gear icon > preferences > advanced > open url, and put in the OpenURL box where it asks for the resolver. To access the Get it! link when looking at a Zotero reference, click on the green arrow above the right-hand column and select "Library Lookup."

  • In Mendeley, Get it! link is only available when viewing references online in the Papers "research catalog" and not for references you have saved only in your own library. To set up Get it! link, go into your account settings on by clicking on "My Account " in the upper right-hand corner. Select "Account Details" and then the Sharing/Importing tab. Click on "Add library manually" at the bottom and fill in Cornell University and as the base URL. Click on "Add Library Link."

  • In EndNote, go to Edit - Preferences - Find Full Text, and put where it asks for the Open URL Path. To access Get it! link when looking at an EndNote reference, right click on the reference in the middle column (without opening up the reference) and select URL -Open URL link.

Please contact us at or 937-229-4270 with any questions you have that are not addressed here.

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