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RefWorks: FAQs

Explore RefWorks, a web based reference manager available to staff and students of the university.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the maximum file storage space available?

The maximum file storage space is 5gb for an individual account.

Is there a maximum number of references that I can have?

There is no maximum number of references.

Can I add/create a new style?

Yes, this video tutorial shows you how, or there is a PDF of step by step instructions.

Journals often require researchers to submit in a style which is a modified version of a standard style.  Is it possible to edit styles in RefWorks? 

Yes you can modify styles. (See answer above to access the tutorial and instructions) 

Does exporting references from a database add PDF files automatically?

No. You need to first save the PDF to your desktop and then upload and attach it to your reference.

Is RefWorks able to capture a website and create a reasonable record from it? Can it capture a selection of results from Google, Google Scholar, Amazon?

Yes, using Ref-grab-it.  Users can also import directly from Google Scholar and create RSS feeds from various web sites. Note: It may not work for all websites so you may need to manually input additional information.

How can users back up their RefWorks library?

It is recommended that you back up and restore regularly (via Tools) and even if you delete a reference accidentally it will remain in the deleted folders for 3 months

How do I import a library from Zotero or EndNote?

See RefWorks instruction page:

Note: It imports references only. Attachments cannot be imported.

Can I add a reference type?

No. Reference types are fixed. You must choose the most relevant type to your reference.

Does RefWorks server ever go down?

There are multiple servers and each server has an automatic fail over.

Maintenance downtime but it is very rare. On the occasions when downtime is required, users are notified of this before and during the downtime.

How does RefWorks recognise author forenames and surnames?  Does the user need to enter them in a specific way, such as last name first?

If you hover each field RefWorks provides instructions on how to enter data.

When a user saves PDF’s as an attachment in Refshare (sharing folders), how secure are they, and where are they?

You don’t save the .pdf in the RefShare the attachment is in your account. You are sharing access to that part of your account and you can choose to share attachments or not in the options for the share. As for security it is as secure from the shared area as it is in your account.

I currently type my citations and references out by hand. Why should I use RefWorks?

If you are completing longer assignments or projects you may have tens or hundreds of references and it can become difficult to keep track of them and time consuming to add citations and bibliographies to your documents.

  • RefWorks can help you to:
  • Organise and search your references.
  • Quickly import references from search tools such as Discovery, Google Scholar, library catalogues and databases.
  • Add in-text citations and bibliographies into your documents.
  • Easily change the citation style.
  • Share your references with others.

Where can I get RefWorks? Is it free?

RefWorks is a proprietary software application, but it is available free of charge for all staff members and students at the University of Melbourne.

You can access it via the library homepage, via the A-Z Databases link, see the Login page in this guide for more information.

Will I be able to access RefWorks when I leave the University of Melbourne?

Yes, any RefWorks accounts you have created will remain active after you leave the university.

After you have left the university, you will need to access RefWorks via the RefWorks website and enter the group code that you received in your account confirmation email.

You can also export your references from RefWorks.

Should I use EndNote or RefWorks?

EndNote and RefWorks are both reference management software applications and have similar features.

Students and staff members at the University of Melbourne can access both EndNote and RefWorks free of charge.

Both EndNote and RefWorks have strengths and weaknesses, for example:

  • RefWorks is fully web-based, so you can access it anywhere you have Internet access and it is ideal for group work or collaborative projects. EndNote, on the other hand, must be installed on your computer.
  • EndNote is fully supported by the University of Melbourne Library.

Generally RefWorks is recommended for undergraduate students, whereas those completing more lengthy projects or theses should consider using EndNote which has some more advanced features.

You should check which tool is recommended by your lecturer, tutor, supervisor and/or colleagues before making a decision.

I'm having trouble using RefWorks, who can I contact for help?

The library does not support RefWorks, however excellent guides and tutorials are available.

RefWorks runs regular free training webinars. When visiting the training site make sure that the time zone is set for your location (e.g. Sydney suits those based in Melbourne).  Course enrollment is limited and registration is required.For full details of all the courses run by RefWorks please go to their training website

You can also email RefWorks for support:

RefWorks Help

Contact RefWorks


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