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RefWorks Transition

Transition from RefWorks

In June 2019, UNH's site license to RefWorks will end and will not be renewed.

We have carefully reviewed the pros and cons of the library’s site license and have concluded that the high cost of the annual subscription can no longer be justified when there are other free or low cost citation management programs available that are as good or better than RefWorks. Other factors that went into this decision included the combination of a shrinking RefWorks user group and RefWorks’ lack of cross-platform support.

Current RefWorks users who would like to save their citations are advised to export them by July 1, 2019. 

We have created this guide to help users transition away from RefWorks. If you run into any difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact the Library for assistance.

You may still need to access RefWorks. The RefWorks research guide contains login access points as well as this transition information.


RefWorks Transition FAQs

What software should I use instead?

UNH Libraries provides support for three other bibliographic/citation management programs: Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote. All three offer the same basic functions as RefWorks, although each has its own strengths.

  • Zotero is a free, open-source tool for managing citations and pdfs, and for creating bibliographies. It is highly customizable with a robust user community, and works online and on your desktop.
  • Mendeley is a free tool for managing citations and pdfs, and for creating bibliographies. It also has desktop and in-the-cloud versions.
  • EndNote is a highly customizable commercial tool that has an excellent desktop version and a free online version that is less easy to use (EndNote Basic). Endnote offers a free 30-day trial, and software can be purchased at the UNH Computer Store.

How can I learn more about selecting new software and importing references?

General instructional workshops on Zotero, EndNote, and Mendeley are regularly offered by UNH Libraries. Additionally, each of these software programs has excellent online tutorials: Zotero's Start Guide; Mendeley's Videos and Tutorials page; and Endnote Training.

And of course, you can always contact us for help via email or by setting up a consultation.

How do I transfer my RefWorks library to new software? Can I maintain my folder system and attached files?

Data can usually be exported and re-imported from one program into any of the others.

  • To download records from RefWorks, first view the RefWorks folder that you wish to export. If you wish to preserve your folders, you will need to export each folder separately.
  • Go to the Quick Access menu, and select “Export.”
  • To import into Zotero, select the export format BibTeX. A new tab will open with the references as plain text. Save as a .txt file.  Import it into Zotero using Actions (gear icon)> Import. You can also import the plain text into Zotero using Settings (gear icon)> Import from Clipboard.
  • To import into Mendeley, choose the export format Bibliographic Software (EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite). Copy and paste the resulting file into Notepad, then save as a .txt file. Import into Mendeley using File>Add Files.
  • To import into EndNote, choose the “Bibliographic Software (EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite)” format or "Refworks Tagged Format."  Copy and paste the resulting file into Notepad, then save it as a .txt file. Import into EndNote using “File - Import - File..." The filter to use is "RefWorks Import."
  • To download attached files, you must display them on the screen, save, and reattach them to the new records. RefWorks does not provide any way of automatically downloading attached files.
  • Note:  if you have used any of RefWorks' custom fields (user 1, user 2, etc.), these will only be exported using the RefWorks Tagged Format.  However, neither Zotero nor Mendeley can import these files; to get RefWorks citations with custom fields to import properly into Zotero or Mendeley, you will need to import into Endnote using the Refworks filter (which may need to be modified to import all your custom fields), and then exported from Endnote in the RIS export format.  Contact us if you need help with this process.

Will I still be able to export items from databases? What if there isn’t a direct export option?

Most databases that offer automatic export to RefWorks also provide the same type of direct export to EndNote. Mendeley and Zotero have browser-based import functions that allow you to import from your database of interest. Many databases also provide the option of direct export in RIS format.

Can I access my references from any computer?

All three programs offer both a desktop version and an online account where you can store references, and to which you can sync the data you have saved in the desktop version.

  • You can download Zotero either as an add-on for your Firefox browser, or as a standalone program that works in Chrome or Safari. Data is saved locally. But you can set up an account on Zotero and sync your bibliographic information and attached files (up to 300 MB for free, and more for a modest fee) to your online account.
  • Mendeley offers both Mendeley Desktop and an online account (attached files up to 2 GB for free, as well as citations).
  • EndNote offers a desktop and online version. Online storage is unlimited if you own a copy of desktop Endnote.

Can I collaborate with others to create folders and libraries?

All three programs also provide the possibility of collaborative work, through “groups”on Zotero and Mendeley, or “shared folders” on EndNote.

I liked the "Check for Full Text" link embedded in my RefWorks records. Can I get the same functionality with the other programs?

All three programs offer this functionality, but it must be set up in each program's preferences by supplying the OpenURL resolver link:

  • In Zotero, go to gear icon > preferences > advanced > open url, and put in the OpenURL box where it asks for the resolver. To access the Get it! link when looking at a Zotero reference, click on the green arrow above the right-hand column and select "Library Lookup."
  • In Mendeley, Get it! link is only available when viewing references online in the Papers "research catalog" and not for references you have saved only in your own library. To set up Get it! link, go into your account settings on by clicking on "My Account " in the upper right-hand corner. Select "Account Details" and then the Sharing/Importing tab. Click on "Add library manually" at the bottom and fill in Cornell University and as the base URL. Click on "Add Library Link."
  • In EndNote, go to Edit - Preferences - Find Full Text, and put where it asks for the Open URL Path. To access Get it! link when looking at an EndNote reference, right click on the reference in the middle column (without opening up the reference) and select URL -Open URL link.