Skip to Main Content

Citation Tools

Quick guide to online citation organization tools, including RefWorks & Zotero


Profile Photo
Christopher Gross
202-994-3264 - If no answer, please leave a message! Messages are still being forwarded to me while I'm working remotely.

Legacy RefWorks Being Retired

IMPORTANT NOTE: The old Legacy RefWorks is shutting down shortly after Spring Semester 2023. If you have a Legacy account, please convert it to New RefWorks. See below for instructions, and this page for more information.

What Is RefWorks?

RefWorks is a cloud-based tool for managing citations and creating bibliographies. Through a subscription, the GW Libraries makes RefWorks available to all current students, faculty, and staff at the University. And as a GW alum, your RefWorks account follows you when you leave GW, for free, for as long as the University continues to subscribe to RefWorks. See this guide for more information, and view helpful videos on the RefWorks YouTube channel. Use these links to create your account and log in:

Versions: RefWorks v.3, also called "New RefWorks," is the current version. The previous version, RefWorks v.2, called "Legacy RefWorks" or "Classic RefWorks," is still available for Spring 2023, but it will end shortly after. See below for information on Legacy RefWorks. If you still use Legacy RefWorks, we recommend migrating to New RefWorks as soon as possible (but not while you're in the middle of a project). All remaining Legacy RefWorks accounts will be migrated or deleted at some point between late May and late June 2023.

RefWorks lets you

  • Import citations from the catalog and databases
  • Store and organize citations
  • Add research notes
  • Format in-text citations
  • Create bibliographies in different citation styles

RefWorks is great for

  • Working on collaborative bibliographies/research projects
  • Organizing content in a variety of ways
  • Storing thousands of citations in the cloud

See how RefWorks compares

Here is a comparison chart of how RefWorks stacks up against other citation management software.

Moving from Legacy RefWorks to New RefWorks

Important Note: If you have already started writing a paper using the Write-n-Cite plugin for Legacy RefWorks, you should NOT try to finish it using the plugin for New RefWorks. This may cause formatting errors. If you have an upcoming paper, consider upgrading to New RefWorks first! If you have already started a paper using Legacy RefWorks, especially using Write-n-Cite, finish it first and then upgrade to New RefWorks.

There are three ways to upgrade your citation library from Legacy RefWorks to New RefWorks: 

  • If you don't have a New RefWorks account yet, log into your Legacy RefWorks account and click the link that says "Upgrade to the latest RefWorks version" at the top of the screen. This will lead you through creating a New RefWorks account and importing your citations to the new account.
  • If you already have a New RefWorks account, log into it and select Add (+) > Import References > Import from another reference manager, and select "Legacy RefWorks." It will lead you through the remaining steps. 
  • If you have exported your Legacy RefWorks citations to a local file, log into your New RefWorks account, then import that file using Add (+) > Import References.

Note that if you have a lot of references, it can take a long time to import them into New RefWorks and then more time to sort them into folders. You can let it run in the background while you do something else.

For more complete instructions, visit the official Upgrading from Legacy RefWorks page.

Using Legacy RefWorks v.2

RefWorks v.2, also called Legacy RefWorks, is still available. Use this link to access it. Bookmark this link in your browser for quick access. 

Remember that the Legacy version will be shortly after Spring Semester 2023! 

Users should NOT create new Legacy RefWorks accounts. Please create an account on New RefWorks instead. If you have trouble creating a new account please email us. 

If you already have a Legacy RefWorks account, we recommend that you upgrade to New RefWorks as soon as possible. You can also use the Export command to back up your citations. Then you can import your backup into a New RefWorks account, or into another system such as Zotero or Mendeley.

Alumni should access RefWorks through the link on our E-Resources for Alumni page.

Tutorials and guides for Legacy RefWorks:

GW Libraries • 2130 H Street NW • Washington DC