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RefWorks FAQ 

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Following are some common questions and answers about using RefWorks at Colorado College. For general  help getting started, try the RefWorks online tutorial. For help with a specific question or area of RefWorks, try the RefWorks online help screens, or consult the FAQ below. You are also welcome to contact the liaison librarian for your department or program for more personalized help.

General Questions

Entering and Importing References to RefWorks

Creating Bibliographies and Notes from a RefWorks Database

General Questions

What is RefWorks? What does it do?

RefWorks is software that enables you to enter citations to books, articles, web pages, etc. into a database, and allows you to easily insert footnotes, parenthetical references, and bibliographies into your papers and manuscripts. RefWorks runs entirely over the Internet, so you don't need to install any software on your computer (though there are small plug-ins for Microsoft Word and OpenOffice that you can install if you choose to). RefWorks also keeps your database on their computers, so you don't have to put it on a disk yourself. Once you have an account, you should be able to get to it anywhere you have Internet access.

Who can/should use RefWorks?

RefWorks is available for all students, faculty, and staff of Colorado College. It will be most useful to those who need to keep track of a large number of citations to books, articles, etc., and who have a little bit of time to learn how to use RefWorks.

What kind of computer/web browser/word processor do I need to use RefWorks?

RefWorks can be used with both Windows PCs and Macintosh computers. Any current version of Internet Explorer or Firefox will work, as will any current version of Microsoft Word. The Safari web browser is not officially supported, though it seems to work. RefWorks will not work with WordPerfect. The "Write-N-Cite" utility (for better integrating RefWorks and Microsoft Word) works with Microsoft Word 2000 and up and Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP; Write-N-Cite for the Macintosh requires Word 98 and up and OS X version 10.3 or later.

Who can I talk to at CC about using RefWorks?

Contact the liaison librarian for your department/program/major. You can also stop by the Tutt Library research desk, or call x6662. In addition, the staff of the CC Writing Center are also familiar with RefWorks, and willing and able to help you integrate RefWorks with your paper.

Where can I go online to get more information about using RefWorks?

The RefWorks online help is uncommonly good. If you are just getting started and need an overview, try the RefWorks tutorial. If you have a more specific question you need answered, try the RefWorks help screens.

If I use RefWorks, do I still have to proofread my bibliography or notes?

YES! While RefWorks should generally handle the formatting for you, there are still many places for errors to creep in. You are still responsible for your final product, and you will want to proofread for spelling, capitalization, and general formatting. Take a look at the style manual you are using and compare your bibliography and notes to the examples in the book. If you find problems, you can either fix them in the citation in your RefWorks database and regenerate your paper, or just make the changes in your final Word document before printing it.

Can RefWorks help with my annotated bibliography assignment?

Yes. Put all your citations into your RefWorks database, and put your annotations in the "Notes" field (if there is already information in the notes field that you want to keep, but don't want in your annotated bibliography, you can cut and paste it into one of the "User1-User5" fields near the bottom of the reference). When you create your bibliography, use one of the annotated output formats: "Annotated Bibliography (Chicago/Turabian Style)," "Annotated Bibliography (MLA Style)" or "APA, Annotated with Abstracts."

Entering and Importing References to RefWorks

What library catalogs and article databases can I use to import information to RefWorks?

The following databases/catalogs will work with RefWorks (see below for instructions on specific databases):

  • Tiger
  • Prospector
  • Agricola (EBSCO)
  • America: History and Life
  • Applied SciTech Index (FirstSearch)
  • Art Index Retrospective (Wilson)
  • Arts & Humanities Search (FirstSearch)
  • ATLA Religion (EBSCO)
  • Basic BIOSIS (EBSCO)
  • BioAg Index (FirstSearch)
  • Biography Index (FirstSearch)
  • Book Review Index (FirstSearch)
  • Books in Print
  • Business Source Premier (EBSCO)
  • Contemporary Women’s Issues (FirstSearch)
  • Dissertations Abstracts (FirstSearch)
  • EBSCO Academic Search Premier
  • ECO (FirstSearch)
  • Education Index (FirstSearch)
  • Essay and General Literature Index (FirstSearch)
  • General Science Index (FirstSearch)
  • Historical Abstracts
  • Library Literature (FirstSearch)
  • MEDLINE (FirstSearch)
  • News Abstracts (FirstSearch)
  • PAIS (FirstSearch)
  • PsychINFO (EBSCO)
  • Readers Guide Abstracts (FirstSearch)
  • Science Direct
  • SciFinder Scholar
  • Sociology Abstracts (FirstSearch)
  • SPORTDiscus (EBSCO)
  • WorldCat (FirstSearch)

Will RefWorks import citations flawlessly from the article databases?

Not necessarily. Most of the time it will do a very good job. But sometimes it puts information into the wrong field, or puts something important into the "Notes" field. In short, you need to carefully proofread what goes into your RefWorks database.

How do I save citations from Tiger or Prospector to import to my RefWorks database?

When looking at lists in Tiger or Prospector, check the box next to the citations you are interested in, and click the button that says "Save Marked Records." If you are looking at the record for a single title, you can use the blue button marked "Export" to save the citation. Once you have saved all the records you want, use the blue button marked "Export Saved List." Leave the format of list as "Full Display," and choose to save the list to a "Local Disk." Then you can go to RefWorks and import those citations with the Tiger/Prospector filter.

How do I direct export citations from EBSCO databases?

Note: direct export requires you to disable any pop-up blocking software on your computer. When you are using a database we get though EBSCO, you can use the little folder icons that say "Add" to create a list of citations in an online folder. When you want to save that list, click on the folder icon marked "Folder has items." Choose the "Save to disk" option, then click on the tab that says "Bibliographic Manager." Click the button for "Direct Export to RefWorks," then click "Save." RefWorks should open in a new browser window and automatically import those references.

In rare occasions, the direct export does not work. You can still save your references by using the option "Save citations in a format that can be uploaded to bibliographic management software," and click "save." You will then need to go to the file menu on your browser and choose the "Save as..." option. Change the file type to text or "txt" if necessary.

How do I direct export citations from FirstSearch databases?

Note: direct export requires you to disable any pop-up blocking software on your computer. In the FirstSearch database, put a mark in the checkbox next to the citations you want to save. Then choose the "Export" option from the line of buttons near the top of the search results (it looks like this: Export Button). Choose the option to save only the marked records, and choose "Export to: RefWorks." Your citations should be automatically added to your RefWorks database. (Note: with some web browsers, you need to already be logged in to your account in a second browser window. Other browsers will automatically open a second window for you when you choose to export.)

What do "Import Filter/Data Source" and "Database" mean when I am importing?

On the RefWorks import screen, there are two pull-down menus. One is labeled "Import Filter/Data Source" and the other is labeled "Database." In most cases you can leave the first one set for "Colorado College," and just choose your database from the "Database" menu. Most of the other options under "Import Filter/Data Source" are for resources to which CC does not subscribe.

What if there isn't an import filter for the database I'm using?

We are trying to get filters for all the databases to which CC subscribes. Not all are available from RefWorks at this time. For these databases, you will likely have to enter the citation into your RefWorks database yourself using the "New Reference" button in RefWorks. You may be able to speed things along by copying and pasting the information from the article database into the proper fields in RefWorks.

Creating Bibliographies and Notes from a RefWorks Database

How do I cite a specific page number in my note?

Most citation styles demand that you cite a specific page number in your parenthetical citation or footnote. RefWorks doesn't know what page you are citing, so when you add the reference to your paper you have to type it in yourself , preceded by "/s" for "specific page." So if the RefWorks reference in your paper looks like this, "{{11 Smith 2003;}}" and you want to cite page 27, you need to change it to look like this: "{{1 Smith 2003/s27;}}" See the RefWorks Help page on "Output and Formatting; Overview" for more.

What is the deal with all these "Output Formats?" Which one should I use?

Of the many dozens of formats supplied by RefWorks, we have put the ones most likely to be used by CC students at the top of the list under the heading "Colorado College Specific." Your professor should tell you what style to use.