You might be about to embark on a research project, perhaps a dissertation, a case study or longer assignment which requires you to collect, store, manage and use a large amount of references. Or you might be a second-year student realising that as you are progressing through your degree you are expected to use more references. If you are, there is no need to panic as there are some handy tools available to help you manage all this information.
There are many different types of reference management software, each with its own special features. In practice, whichever tool you use, it can substantially increase the speed and efficiency with which you manage your references.
Here at SGUL, we support RefWorks, which is perfectly suited to those preparing longer pieces of academic writing. This term we have moved away from using Legacy RefWorks to (new) Refworks! RefWorks is freely available to all SGUL students and staff. We also provide training to people who want to learn how to use RefWorks effectively and efficiently. There is a lot of online support available too, like our recently updated Libguide.
What is RefWorks?
RefWorks is one of the most popular reference management applications and it allows users to:
- collect references – no need to type details in manually
- store references
- organise references
- link to full text, web pages and documents
- cite your references and create bibliographies in different styles
How does it work?
Unlike other reference management tools, RefWorks is a web-based software, so no need to download anything!
Go to http://refworks.proquest.com and click on “Use login from my institution”. Then, under Shibboleth find or search for “St George’s, University of London”. All you need is your SGUL username and password to log in.
The first time you do this you have to fill in some information about yourself and then you’re all set to start collecting references.
There are multiple ways to populate your RefWorks account with reference data. Depending on the search tool or database(s) you are using, there are different ways to add references:
- Direct export from a database
- Downloading and importing a text file from a database
- Drag and drop PDFs into RefWorks
- Adding references manually
- Use the ‘Save to RefWorks’ browser extension
For more information on how each of these options work, have a look at our RefWorks Libguide.
Be sure to always check if the information that was added is correct and complete! As you start adding more references, you will want to organise them so that they stay manageable. You can for example assign references to different folders and subfolders. You can also deduplicate them, if you are in the habit of adding big batches of references in one go.
- Quality check your references by looking at citation view, that way you can see what details are missing. Make sure to select Harvard – SGUL & FHSCE and save this as the default setting to ensure that you are using the right citation style. It is a good idea to double-check your reference in citation view immediately after adding it, so you can compare it to the original document without having to retrieve it.
- Refworks can generate an in-text citation in the correct style for you and it can create a bibliography too. Just click on the “Create Bibliography” icon at the top of the page. Follow the guidance on the screen and copy/paste what you need, done!
- Much easier and more effective is using Write-N-Cite which is a small separate programme you can download which connects your Refworks account to Word. An equivalent is available for Word on Mac devices as well. On SGUL computers, this programme is built into Word so no need to download anything!
Legacy RefWorks vs (New) RefWorks
The new RefWorks is intuitive to use and has better functionality than Legacy RefWorks. However, if you have used RefWorks before, you will have created a Legacy RefWorks account. If you are interested in migrating your references from the old to the new version, please be aware that it is currently not possible to edit documents in new RefWorks if they have previously been used in Legacy RefWorks.
We recommend that you continue to use your Legacy account until you have finished the projects you are currently working on. More information on migrating from Legacy RefWorks can be found here.
Referencing styles at St George’s
We have also updated our guidelines around using the Harvard referencing style, which is the referencing style used across St George’s, in line with the recent new edition of Cite Them Right (2019). Although the new edition doesn’t contain big changes, it includes a lot more examples, including of a NICE guideline and a systematic review published on the Cochrane Library. For more information, have a look at our user help sheet for Harvard.
If your lecturer requires you to use the Vancouver style, you can have a look at this help sheet. Vancouver at SGUL is based on Citing medicine: The NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers (2007) by Patrias.
Many of you will receive RefWorks training as part of your degree, but if you want to get ahead or missed out on training, get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to book a session with us in which we cover the basics of using RefWorks.
For general research and referencing questions, be sure to make use of the Research Enquiries Desk (RED) located in the Library and staffed every weekday from 11 am to 2 pm.