Referencing: RefWorks

What is RefWorks?

RefWorks is a bibliographic management software that allows you to import bibliographic details from databases and other sources to create a personal library.

The RefWorks Add-on for Word, RefWorks Citation Manager enables you to seamlessly insert citations in your document as you write and then generate references at the end of the document.

Accessing RefWorks

Go to the Library Refworks page and follow the "Login to RefWorks (New)" or "Login to RefWorks (Legacy) link (on the right hand side). Log in to RefWorks using your RefWorks username and password,

If it's your first time, you'll need to register with RefWorks by choosing "Sign up for a new account" at this screen. Make sure you sign up to the most recent version of the platform via "Login to RefWorks (New)" or look for ProQuest RefWorks online. 

  • Click on ‘Create account’

  • Enter your Brunel email address and click on ‘Check’

  • You should then be prompted to create a password

  • An email will then be sent to your account imminently; open the email and click on the activation link

  • Your account will then be ready to use

  • In future, you will be required to sign in with your Brunel email address plus the password you created when registering

When registering with RefWorks, you can enter either your Brunel email address or your personal email address. For security reasons, you should avoid using your Brunel username and password as your RefWorks login name and password.

For further assistance, RefWorks has lots of good Help pages: select Help on the RefWorks Toolbar. There are also dedicated RefWorks webpages and RefWorks YouTube videos.

Adding items by direct export

From the Brunel RefWorks page, select the "Collecting References" section which details the different ways references are collected. Most of our databases allow direct export into RefWorks, including Academic Search Complete and Scopus. A step by step guide to exporting from databases is included on this web page .

Academic Search Complete is a good general database covering all subject areas. It is also provided by a supplier who provides some of our other key databases such as Cinahl, PsycInfo, Business Source Premier, British Education Index. To export items from here to RefWorks:

  • Go to Databases: Academic Search Complete.
  • Perform a search and scan the results list.
  • Against each entry you want to include, click on the icon to add a reference to the Folder
  • When you have added all the references you need, click on the Folder icon in the top tool bar
  • From the folder, click on the Export icon
    • Check radio button Direct export to RefWorks.
    • Click on the Save button.

Scopus is one of the most straightforward databases from which to export into RefWorks. You can either export selected references from a single search results list, or build up a list from different searches.

From a single search results list:

  • Tick the boxes next to the references you wish to export;
  • Select Export at the top of the results list.

To build a list from different searches:

  • Tick the boxes next to the references you wish to export;
  • Select Add to My List at the top of the results list;
  • When complete select My list from the tool bar under the Scopus title;
  • Tick the All box at the top of the list;
  • Select Export at the top of the results list.

In both cases this will open up a dialogue box. Select "RefWorks direct export". It's set to output Citation information only, but we would recommend that you change this last to "Citations and abstract information". Click the "Export" button.

A full list of databases that support direct export can be found on our Collecting references page. A selection of key sources are:

  • Busines Source Premier
  • British Education Index
  • Cinahl Plus
  • IEEE
  • Medline
  • Web of Science

Other reference creation methods

To add a reference for a book, import the record from a library catalogue. This is done from within RefWorks. On the RefWorks toolbar select "Search Databases".

The first time you use it the default is set to PubMed. Open the drop down to see the full list. We have put some specific for Brunel at the top of the list:

  • British Library; 
  • Brunel University (currently searches are not available via z39.50 due to the port number being blocked - search the library catalogue directly via the web)
  • COPAC (a consortium of over 70 major libraries).

Select the library you wish to search. You can use the Quick Search to collect a list of books on a general subject or the Advanced Search to look for particular books by author and/or title.

From the results list, select the record(s) you want and select Import. At this stage you can select the folder into which you want the records imported.

Some databases do not allow direct export to RefWorks but need an intermediate file. These include ZETOC - a valuable current awareness database.

The process will take a number of stages:

  • Perform a search and select the references;
  • Export or save to a text file;
  • Open RefWorks and click on the + Add tab from the main toolbar;
  • Select "Import references" and from the "Import from a file" section, either drag and drop the file or click on "select a file from your computer"
  • Select and upload the file you have just saved
  • In the dialogue box that appears enter the correct file format, e.g. MIMAS for downloads from ZETOC and click "Import".

There are now very few databases that need this process. Follow the individual instructions on our RefWorks by Database webpage.

  • Under "References" on the RefWorks Toolbar, select "Add New" from the drop down menu.
  • If necessary, change the Fields used by box to "Harvard (Brunel University 2013/14)".
  • The default reference type is "Journal article". Use the drop down to change as appropriate.
  • The fields needed for a Harvard reference will appear. Fill in the boxes and select "Add New".

You can use RefWorks with Google Scholar, too. On Google Scholar,

  • Select the "Settings" icon and change the bibliography manager section to read "Show links to import citations into RefWorks".
  • Click "Save".
  • Search on Google Scholar and for the reference you want,
  • Click "Import into RefWorks".

To import multiple references into your RefWorks account, use to add references to "My library".

After completing the searches;

  • Open "My library", which is located at the top right of the page.
  • Click on "Export all" to download the citation. The file will save to your downloads folder as Citations.ris.
  • Open RefWorks and select the  "Add+" tab.
  • Click on "Import references". You can either drag and drop the file into the box or click on the link, "select a file from your computer" and upload the document.

Organising your references with folders

RefWorks allows you to create folders in which to store your references. Simply select the New Folder box to create a folder.

  • You can drag single references into a folder using the grey strip above the reference.
  • You can select a number of references on the screen and save them into a folder.
  • The same reference can be in more than one folder.
  • You can delete a folder - but the references will NOT be deleted.

RefWorks has standard folders in addition to those you create:

  • Last imported: the last set of references imported from a database or catalogue.
  • All References list all the references you have added to your account.

Additional Resources