The Life-Changing Magic of Refworks

Spark joy in your research by attending one of these 20 minute workshops to dramatically improve how you collect, organize, and store your citations by using Refworks.

Refworks is a citation management system.  If you’ve ever used Bibme, Zotero, Mendeley, or Endnote, you have used a citation management system.  Let’s say you find a great article in one of our databases:

Article screenshot titled "On Death and Decluttering: The Existential Tidiness of Marie Kondo

What a great article!  But now you need to save it, store it, organize it, and then eventually cite.  Refworks to the rescue!

By exporting your article into Refworks, you now have a save and secure location to store the article and return to it later.

NOTE: You will need to create your own Refworks account using your tech email BUT NOT your tech password as this system is separate from the university’s. This means if you create a password for Refworks, it will not change with the password changes for your university account.

Image of two versions of Refworks.  One that says "Proquest Refworks" and one that says "Legacy Refworks"

You will also be prompted (especially on your initial sign-up) to choose the type of Refworks. Always go for the BLUE, Proquest version if it is your first time creating an account. The Legacy Refworks will be discontinued at some point in the future.

Once in Refworks, you can now organize your citations by folder, add citations from another citation manager, or create a bibliography in any citation style you need with a click of a button.

A screenshot depicting a formatted bibliography based on the above citation.

WARNING: Like all other machine-generated citations, you will need to check them against official style guides. They CAN and DO get them wrong.

To learn more Refworks magic, including how to install the browser plugin for citation collecting on-the-go or how to export citations by adding article PDFs, go to one of the many Refworks Workshops going on this week and next week in RPL 331:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 10th @ 3:00 PM
  • Wednesday, Sept. 11th @ 9:30 AM
  • Wednesday, Sept. 18th @ 1:00 PM
  • Thursday, Sept. 19th @ 9:30 AM

No sign-up required and all are welcome!

The Citation Situation

As the semester wraps up, many students are also wrapping up their research papers and projects.  The all-important bibliography looms, and preparing that last page or two often becomes more complicated than it initially seemed.  The Ross Pendergraft Library is here to help with a pretty amazing citation tool called Refworks.

Refworks is the citation management platform that collects, stores, and organizes the research you have found using scholarly databases.  It also creates bibliographies from those citations in an online interface accessible from anywhere.  You can find links to Refworks on our homepage:

For many students, organizing their research can be daunting.  Articles stored on one computer may not be accessible elsewhere.  Links saved by email can get lost in the daily flood of other emails, and creating citations manually from articles is time-consuming and prone to errors .  Citation creation tools like KnightCite or the Citation Machine still require manual entry and do not interact with library databases.

Refworks can solve a lot of the problems with collecting, storing, organizing and creating bibliographies from research articles.

First, it interacts with most of our databases, including FindIt, Ebsco and Proquest databases, and Google Scholar.  This means if you find an article you like and want to access it later, choosing “export” or “save” from the tool bar within the article imports the citation directly into Refworks.


No need to manually type citation information.

Second, Refworks lives online.  When you access it, even from off-campus, your citations are all still there, including a link back to the article.  The new edition of Refworks also allows you to create citations directly from saved PDFs, so if you downloaded the article but not the citation, you can still create a citation from it and store it online in Refworks.

Next, Refworks helps you organize your citations into folders through a simple drag and drop.


Then, when you are ready to create your bibliography, click the Create Bibliography button.


The bibliography can be generated in almost any citation style, including APA 6th edition, MLA 8th edition, Chicago 16th edition, and more.   While this machine-generated bibliography may be more accurate than some other services, you MUST still check for errors, especially with capitalization and punctuation.  Verify the accuracy of this and all other citation generators with official style guides, available at the Reference desk of the Library, or with the Online Writing Lab at Purdue (OWL).

You can do more with Refworks tools, such as the “Save to Refworks” browser extension that allows you to save ordinary websites as citations within your account, including details such as author, title, abstract, publication date, and more, depending on the quality of the website:


Ready to get started?  Create a new Refworks account by finding the link on our homepage under “Research.”  First-time Refworks users should click the “New” version.  Accounts created in Refworks are completely independent of the campus username and password system, even though it requires an ATU email address.  Click “Create Account” to get started:


If you already have a Refworks account in the newer platform, simply sign-in.  If you have an account in the “Old” or Legacy Refworks edition, you can continue to use it, but be advised that this service will be discontinued in the last part of next year.  To migrate your existing citations now to the new platform, follow the instructions in the research guide for Refworks [New Platform].

Don’t forget—plagiarism is a serious offense with long-term consequences for your academic progress.  If you fail to cite the sources of ideas not your own, you may be found guilty of academic dishonesty.  Learn more about how to keep yourself safe in our research guide for avoiding plagiarism.

For more assistance with Refworks, citations, and all other library services, email your ‘inciteful’ librarians at  Faculty can also schedule classroom instruction on this service with one of our librarians or share their Refwork collections with others.