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RefWorks is a web-based bibliographic management service that allows users to create personal citation databases, import references from online databases or text files, access your account online from any computer, and automatically format bibliographies.

Direct export to RefWorks

Many databases have a direct export to RefWorks.  Each database may have a different way of exporting.  Below, you'll see an example of how to direct export using ProQuest.


  1. Access ProQuest Research Library and run a search (Ask a Librarian if you need help with this!)
  2. Select the items you want to export to your RefWorks account by checking the box to the left of each item

    Most databases offer a way to mark or select items, but it may look different (for example, folders) and be differently named (for example, Marked Records, or My Research, or My Folder).
  3. To export selected items to RefWorks click the Export button
  4. Click Export directly to RefWorks 



A video demonstration for adding references to RefWorks from a database:

Databases without direct export to RefWorks

With resources that do not allow direct export, you'll need to save your results as a text file and then import them into RefWorks. There is no list that tells you if a database has the direct export option or if you'll need to save it as a text file.

To check if there is a direct export you can: 1) go to the database and see if there is a direct export to RefWorks, or 2) go to RefWorks and see if there is an import filter available.

  • To see if the database you are using has a RefWorks import filter, go to the References menu and select Import
  • On the Import screen, use the Import Filter/Data Source pulldown menu choose the vendor of the database, and then choose the specific database in the Database pulldown menu

The following video shows how to do this in PubMed, a database without direct export and written instructions are below.

Written instructions:

To import a text file into RefWorks, first you have to save the text file from the database:

  1. Follow the instructions for the database you’re using to save the citations as a text file on your computer.
  2. Once you have the text file, go to RefWorks and then go to the References menu and select Import
  3. On the Import screen in RefWorks, select the Import Filter/Data Source (University of Michigan University Library, ISI, NLM Gateway, etc.).Import References
  4. Depending on your data source, you may need to specify the database in the Database pulldown menu
  5. In the Select Text File: area, click on Browse (or Choose File in some browsers) to navigate to your text file and select it
  6. If desired, choose an existing folder from the Import into Folder pulldown menu 
  7. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and select Import.  Your citations will be imported into RefWorks. (Note: you could also copy your results and past them into the Import Data from the following Text box and then click Import.)
  8. After you click the Import button, RefWorks will import the records, tell you how many were imported, and give you the option to view the last imported folder or return to your reference list


    These handouts can further assist you in using RefWorks

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    JSTOR Issue

    Please note: Currently we are experiencing problems with exporting from MyJSTOR to RefWorks.  We are working on finding a solution to this problem.  In the meantime for assistance please contact the ScholarSpace (