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RefWorks: A citation management system

Learn how to create an account and get started saving, organizing, and sharing your research!

RefWorks to Zotero

Move Citations from RefWorks to Zotero

In Zotero, folders are called collections. You will need to create new collections in Zotero that correspond to your folders in RefWorks, however to do this you must move references or folder at a time. However, if you do not care about maintaining this structure, you can migrate your entire RefWorks library all at once.

These instructions are borrowed from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professionals Guide.

Exporting from New RefWorks (one folder at a time)

If you want to maintain the same folder structure in your new reference manager, you should export your citations from RefWorks one folder at a time.

It's recommended that you save each export file created below with the name of the folder, so each is easily identifiable when importing to your new reference manager.

  1. Login to your New RefWorks account.
  2. Click My Folders (from the left navigation pane) and select a folder for export from the list.
  3. Check the Select All box (just above your list of references) and click the Share icon. 
  4. Choose Export References.
  5. Choose the following options:
    • From:
      All references in 'Folder Name'
    • Format:
      BibTeX (if migrating to Mendeley or Zotero)
      RIS Format (if migrating to EndNote)
    • Click Export
  6. Make note of where you export/save the file, because you'll need it to import into your new reference manager.
  7. Repeat these steps for each folder, then follow the import instructions for your new reference manager.
Exporting from New RefWorks (all at once)

If you don't need to maintain the same folder structure in your new reference manager, exporting your citations all at once is a much quicker option.

  1. Login to your New RefWorks account.
  2. Click All Documents (upper left of screen), check the Select All box (just above your list of references) and click the Share icon. 
  3. Choose Export References.
  4. Choose the following options:
    • From:
      All references in 'All Documents'
    • Format:
      BibTeX (if migrating to Mendeley or Zotero)
      RIS Format (if migrating to EndNote)
    • Click Export
  5. Make note of where you export/save the file, because you'll need it to import into your new reference manager.
Importing Citations Into Zotero

1. Open Zotero. From the File menu in the upper left hand corner, select Import. 

2. A window asking "Where do you want to import from?" will pop up. Select A file and click Next.

select A file click next

3. Select a file you exported from RefWorks and click Open

4. A dialogue box with the option "Place imported collections and items into a new collection" will appear. You have two choices:

  • Leave this option checked if you would like Zotero to place your citations into a new, automatically created folder. (Folders are called "collections" in Zotero)
  • Or, uncheck this box if you would prefer the citations to be imported into the "Unfiled Items" area of your Zotero library.

Once you have made your selection, click Next.

5. Your references are now imported into Zotero.

  • If you opted to have Zotero create a new collection for your citations, you may rename it if you wish by right clicking on the collection in the left sidebar and selecting Rename Collection. The default name of the collection is the same as the name of the file you imported.