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Citing information: Add and manage references

Add and manage references in RefWorks

Here we focus on using the reference manager ProQuest RefWorks. You'll learn how to add references to your RefWorks database and how to manage them. Other reference managers have similar options.

Adding references to RefWorks

There are several ways of adding references to ProQuest RefWorks. The method you use depends on the method(s) available to you in the online source (database, catalogue, website or search engine) from which you want to import references. 

On this page you find step-by-step guides explaining how to get references from particular University Library databases into your RefWorks database.

There are several methods:

1. Direct export: references are 'automatically' exported from an online source to RefWorks. Examples of sources that support Direct export are sEURch, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. In the video Exporting References to RefWorks (0:25-1:17) below, you see how this method works on several platforms.

2. Save to RefWorks: with this tool RefWorks captures bibliographic data from webpages. in the video Exporting references to RefWorks (1:34-2:51) above, you see how this works.

3. Uploading a PDF document: In ProQuest RefWorks you can upload a PDF-document - RefWorks will 'read' this document and extract the information needed, like the author(s), title, volume, issue, DOI, etc. 

  • Click on Add in the bar on top of the screen and select Upload document
  • Browse to the PDF-document(s), select it or them and click Open
  • ProQuest RefWorks will upload the file(s) and extract the metadata from the pdf-document(s). This can take some time. Make sure you check the information extracted!

4. Import: references can be imported in ProQuest RefWorks from a TXT file or RIS file, for example from PubMed or Scopus.

In general, this works as follows:

  • Perform a search in the database or catalogue.
  • Mark the titles you want to add to RefWorks.
  • Export the titles and save them as a text file (.txt) or a RIS-file.
  • Open ProQuest RefWorks and log in.
  • Click on Add in the bar on top of the screen and select Import References
  • Click Select a file from your computer and browse to the file
  • In most cases RefWorks will recognize the type of the file. Otherwise you will be prompted to select the type of file and - when needed - the database.
  • Click Import
  • RefWorks shows how many documents are imported. Click the button OK to see the reference in Last Imported.
  1. Manually: if you have a book or an article in front of you, it can be quicker to enter the information manually.

Please note: When you import references from online sources, always check the imported data. RefWorks imports the data in the format supplied by the source database or catalogue. This data may write to the wrong fields or contain punctuation errors. RefWorks can't check the imported information for correctness or completeness, only a human being knowing the context can do that. In Checking Added References (PDF) you can find tips.

Managing references in RefWorks

One way of organizing the references in your RefWorks database is to save references in folders and subfolders. You can place a single reference in multiple folders. You can, for example, put references in folders based on topic or subtopic, source or chapter of your paper. The video Organizing References with Folders in RefWorks (3:19) explains how to organize references into folders.

You can also attach files, for example, a PDF file of the article.

You can add tags to the references or use the custom fields option in ProQuest RefWorks to add keywords or personal notes. To add custom fields:

  • click a reference and click the edit button (the pencil icon) in the right upper corner
  • click Add more fields... 
  • type part of the name of the field - when the field you are looking for is not a default field, you get the option to add it as a custom field.

You can manage your custom fields by clicking your name in the left upper corner and choosing settings. You can find the Custom Fields option between the Dropbox option and the Password option.

You can see some examples in our test RefWorks account:

  • Go to our shared references
  • You see one folder (MOOC) with two subfolders (Completion and Introduction)
  • Only the name of the author(s), the publication year and (part of the) the title are shown. When you click a title, a pane with additional information - like the journal title and the abstract - opens on the right side of the screen. In your own RefWorks account you have more options to view the references: for example, you can choose a particular style to preview the references. The tags are not visible in this shared folder. 
  • You can recognize references with a pdf attached by pdf icon under the title