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Refworks: Using Refworks

I have a RefWorks account. What do I need to do?

New RefWorks is available now; the legacy version is still available and will be until at least 2018.  You must consider a number of factors before deciding when to transition from Legacy RefWorks to New RefWorks.

  • New Refworks is still in Beta.  Some basic functionality--such as easily adding new citation styles and attaching non-PDF images--are missing.
  • New Refworks and Legacy Refworks can be used in tandem.  One can experiment with New RefWorks while relying on Legacy Refworks for current projects.  References in one version can be transferred to the other by using the import and export functions of each.
  • Documents created with Write-n-Cite/ProQuest for Word using Legacy RefWorks can't be modified with New RefWorks, and vice-versa.  Consequently:
  1. If you are currently using Legacy RefWorks to work on a document that will be completed in the next 18 months, strongly consider sticking with Legacy Refworks.
  2. If you are starting a project that will continue beyond early 2018, consider using New RefWorks and contacting a librarian for troubleshooting assistance.
  3. If you have spent considerable time using Legacy RefWorks with a document that you expect to continue beyond 2018, contact a librarian for advice. 

Log into Legacy RefWorks:
Log into New RefWorks:

Instructions for transitioning from Legacy to New RefWorks are available here:

I’m new to RefWorks. Which version should I use?

  • Legacy RefWorks is very stable and will perform all of the functions required of a citation manager until it dissapears, probably sometime in 2018.  For short-term projects legacy refworks is a good choice, especially while New RefWorks is in a beta version.
  • Legacy RefWorks is not appropriate for people who will be working on a Word document over a long period of time.  They should start with New RefWorks to avoid problems resulting from Legacy RefWorks disappearing.
  • Researchers exploring citation management options might try both versions.  Though incomplete, New RefWorks has valuable features not available in Legacy RefWorks.

Compare Legacy and New RefWorks:
Log into Legacy RefWorks:
Log into New RefWorks:

Starting with Refworks

The link to reach the RefWorks home page is

Once on the homepage you will need to sign in with Penn email or create an account using your Penn credentials. 

How it works: save with a single click.

  • Save an unlimited number of references, full-text, and other research materials
  • Import from online databases, catalogs, reference management tools, and your computer
  • Quickly save references and full-text from any web page.
  • Automatically complete citation data using comprehensive ProQuest databases.
  • Organize your data with folders and tags
  • Quickly search and find your references and full-text document.
  • Read and annotate full-text documents with highlights and comments from anywhere
  • Sync your data to Dropbox™ and have a local copy of your full-text

RefWorks tutorials

Using RefWorks for saving information

  • RefWorks can be added to the tool bar and used to save information from multiple online databases. (MEDLINE, PsychINFO, ERIC, Franklin online, etc. ) 
  • References are stored on the RefWorks server.They can be accessed from anywhere by using your login name and password.  

  • You can also make your own backup copy of your database from the RefWorks Tools/Backup/Restore feature.  This backup can only be used with the Restore feature in RefWorks. It cannot be viewed without RefWorks. 

RefWorks uses the feature Write-N-Cite to help users with citations

  • Write-N-Cite allows access to references in RefWorks while working within Microsoft Word
  • Insert citation placeholders and when you are ready to add a bibliography to the end of the document
  • Write-N-Cite will create a bibliography and properly format your in-text citations based upon only those references that have been inserted into your Word document.

Example of RefWorks Citation

sample information about a book in a library catalog

Author, etc.: Finkelman, Paul, 1949-

Title: Slavery and the founders : race and liberty in the age of Jefferson / Paul Finkelman.

Edition: 2nd ed.

Publisher: Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe,

Date: c2001.

Type of material: Book

Description: xii, 296 p. ; 24 cm.

Notes: Includes bibliographical references (p. 253-265) and index.

Contents: 1. Making a Covenant with Death: Slavery and the Constitutional Convention -- 2. Slavery and the Northwest Ordinance, 1787: A Study in Ambiguity -- 3. Evading of Ordinance: The Persistence of Bondage in Indiana and Illinois -- 4. Implementing the Proslavery Constitution: The Adoption of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 -- 5. The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Federalism -- 6. "Treason Against the Hopes of the World": Thomas Jefferson and Slavery -- 7. Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings, and Antislavery: Historians and Myths. Library of Congress subject headings: Slavery--Law and legislation--United States--History.

Slavery--United States--History.

ISBN: 0765604388 ( alk. paper)

0765604396 ( pbk. : alk. paper)

...into this (sample entry from a list of references. APA style) with minimal effort while still preserving all of the detailed information about that source for future use:

Finkelman, P. (2001). Slavery and the founders: race and liberty in the age of Jefferson (2nd ed.). Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe.

Use RefWorks as a group

  • Create a RefWorks account for the group project
    • RefWorks does not limit the number of accounts you create
    • Multiple users can access your account simultaneously
  • It is possible to create different types of accounts
    • Full access requires everyone to log in with the same login name and password.
    • Read-only requires users to log in with the login name and a read-only password
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