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Citation Tools

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


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Christopher Gross
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Legacy RefWorks Being Retired

IMPORTANT NOTE: Legacy RefWorks will be retired on June 23, 2023. If you have a Legacy account, please convert it to New RefWorks. See below for instructions.

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 or "Legacy RefWorks," is still available for the time being. If you have an account on the old Legacy RefWorks v.2, you can keep using it for now, migrate it to New RefWorks, or even use both. See below for information on Legacy RefWorks. The final retirement date for Legacy RefWorks will be June 23, 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.

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 retired on June 23, 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 before June 23, 2023. 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:

Moving from RefWorks v.2 to RefWorks v.3

Important Note: If you have already started writing a paper using the Write-n-Cite plugin for RefWorks v.2, you should NOT try to finish it using the plugin for v.3. This may cause formatting errors. 

There are two ways to upgrade your citation library from Legacy RefWorks v.2 to New RefWorks v.3. 

  • If you don't have a v.3 account yet, log into your v.2 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 v.3 account and importing your citations to the new account.
  • If you already have a v.3 account, log into your v.2 account and export your citations using the References - Export menu item, choosing the RefWorks tagged format. Then log into your v.3 account and use the Import References command under the "+" menu.

Note that if you have a lot of references, it can take some time to import them into v.3 and more time to sort them into folders. 

If you want, you can continue using v.2 this year, or even use both v.2 and v.3. The final retirement date for Legacy RefWorks v.2 will be June 23, 2023. If you keep using both, remember that your citation libraries on each version are entirely separate -- they will NOT be synchronized automatically. 

How do I know which version I'm using? Check the address bar. If you're at, you're using New RefWorks. If you're at, you're using Legacy RefWorks.

RefMobile: Mobile Version of Legacy RefWorks

Gather, manage, store and share your citations, while on the go: RefMobile is an optional version of Legacy RefWorks specially designed for mobile devices. (If you use New RefWorks, it is already compatible with both computers and mobile devices.)

The first time you log in, you'll need the GW Group Code: RWGWUMC

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