Additional information is available on the RefWorks web site.

What is RefWorks?
Why is it a good idea to use citation management software?
How do I create a new RefWorks account?
How does RefWorks compare with other citation management software?
Can I transfer references from other citation management software to RefWorks?
How do I transfer references between different RefWorks accounts?
I'm working on a group project. Can you do collaborative work with RefWorks?
What happens when someone leaves the university or graduates - can they keep their account?
Why am I seeing a "security certificate" error?
How does the Last Imported folder work?
Can you search the NCSU Libraries online catalog in conjunction with RefWorks?
Can I link to files on my hard drive through RefWorks?
What is Write-N-Cite?
What is the "group code" I need when trying to log into my account?
Can I use Write-N-Cite off campus?
Can I use Write-N-Cite without internet connection?
I am having trouble creating my bibliography in Write-N-Cite. What is wrong?
How can I use RefMobile?
Is there training available for RefWorks?
I have additional questions. Where can I get help?


Q: What is RefWorks?

RefWorks, like Zotero and EndNote, is citation management software. This is library jargon for: "software that you can use to save all your book and article references in one place." When you are doing research or looking for sources of information for a paper, you're looking through (possibly several) online databases, websites, and the Libraries' catalog. As you find books and articles of interest, you want to be able to save them. Citation management software lets you do that.

Citation managers


Q: Why is it a good idea to use citation management software?

There are numerous bad ways to save your research work: bookmarking web pages, printing or e-mailing every reference of interest, copying citations into a big Word or Excel file, or even handwritten notecards. All of these create a lot of extra work beyond just the research and writing. Citation managers are much more efficient, save everything in one place, help you organize your work, and generate bibliographies in a massive variety of styles.


Q: How do I create a new RefWorks account?

A: To create a new account in RefWorks, access RefWorks through the NCSU Libraries' web site. Don't go directly to refworks.com or you will not have access to our institutional subscription.

Then, below the question "New to RefWorks?", click on the link "Sign Up for a New Account" and fill out the required information in the form "New User Information for NCSU Libraries." The login information you select here is not related to Unity ID, so it can be the same as your Unity ID and password, or different.

Once you have created an account, you can in the future login directly from the main login screen with your Login Name and Password.


Q: How does RefWorks compare with other citation management software?

A: All products have the same basic capabilities and functionality. They allow you to manage references, import citations from online databases, and incorporate references into Word documents. All require some time investment to learn to use effectively. The popular citation management tools besides RefWorks are EndNote, Zotero, and Mendeley. One of the major differences is RefWorks is web-based application that's accessible from any computer anywhere. Click to see more comparisons .

No choice is permanent! You don't have to pick one and live with it forever. It is straightforward to export citations from one product to another if you later decide there is a better option for you.


Q: Can I transfer references from other citation management software to RefWorks?

A: Absolutely. For step-by-step instructions on how to transfer references from other citation management software to RefWorks, see here.


Q: How do I transfer references between different RefWorks accounts?

A: The process is straightforward. First, Export the references (References menu -> Export) in RefWorks Tagged Format. This will be a text file that can be saved on the desktop (it could be e-mailed as an attachment, for example). Then, Import this text file into the other RefWorks account (References menu -> Import).  The Import Filter/Data Source will be RefWorks Tagged Format. This does not export folder structures or attachments.

Another option: to maintain attachments and folders, rather than an export/import, you can create a backup and restore it in another account. The "restore" process is a FULL replacement of your database and will overwrite any existing references. Only restore to a new, empty account. Go to References--Backup/Restore. More help on backup/restore.


Q: I'm working on a group project. Can you do collaborative work with RefWorks?

A: Yes. RefWorks does not limit the number of accounts you create. Also note that multiple users can access your account simultaneously. Just create a new account with an ID and password known to all group members.

Every account can have two types of access – full and read-only. Full access requires everyone to log in with the same login name and password. Read-only requries users to log in with the login name and a read-only password that has been established. Read-only access allows people to search, export and print bibliographies, but not add, edit or delete references. In addition, each record in a database has five empty fields (User Defined 1 thru 5) that can be used to record comments from group members.


Q: What happens when someone leaves the university or graduates - can they keep their folder of references?

A: Yes. RefWorks recently introduced an alumni program enabling NCSU users to maintain their RefWorks accounts indefinitely. Users can continue to access RefWorks using their group code after leaving the university.

Alternatively, you could:

  • Check to see if your new university or workplace has RefWorks access, and if so, transfer to an account there (you will need to export your references from your current account, and import there).
  • Continue to use RefWorks by purchasing an individual subscription.
  • Install other free citation manegement software such as Zotero or Mendeley, transfer your citations there.
  • Purchase EndNote, transfer your citations there.

No matter what option you choose, the one step you will want to take upon leaving NCSU is to export your citations. If you're not sure how you'll access them later, export to a few different files: at minimum, use the Bibliographic Software format, the BibTeX format, the RIS format, and the RefWorks Tagged Format. Keep the files somewhere safe.


Q: Why am I seeing a "security certificate" error?

A: Some browsers may throw a security certificate error when you access RefWorks. (You will see text to the effect of: "www-refworks-com.www.lib.ncsu.edu:2433 uses an invalid security certificate.") To accept the certificate, look for a link to "add an exception" or "trust this site". The browser may show alarming messages, but you can trust the certificate since it is coming from the Libraries' web site.


Q: How does the Last Imported folder work?

A: References are always imported into the Last Imported folder. References from the previous import are removed from the folder automatically (and put into the References Not in a Folder folder). When you have completed an import, you can open the Last Imported folder to edit or add descriptors to the group before organizing them into folders.


Q: Can you search the NCSU Libraries online catalog in conjunction with RefWorks?

A: Yes. The NCSU Libraries catalog has a direct export feature for RefWorks (look for RefWorks links in catalog records), making it much easier to quickly import catalog records. You can export batches of citations using the shopping cart tool or the TRLN catalog.

You can also use the Search Online Catalog or Database command in RefWorks (from either the Search or Tools menu) to connect to the NCSU Libraries online catalog and import references directly into RefWorks.


Q: Can I link to files on my hard drive through RefWorks?

A: Yes. See the instructions here.


Q: What is Write-N-Cite?

A: Write-N-Cite is a feature which allows you to access your references in RefWorks while working within Microsoft Word. Write-N-Cite allows you to insert citation placeholders and when you are ready to add a bibliography to the end of the document, Write-n-Cite will create a bibliography and properly format your in-text citations based upon only those references that have been inserted into your Word document. (See a demo video).

To install Write-N-Cite, go to Tools--Write-N-Cite from within RefWorks. See a short video tutorial for instructions.


Q: What is the "Group Code" I need when I try to log into my account?

A: When trying to access RefWorks, you may get prompted for a "group code." However, most RefWorks users do not actually need this code, and can log in using a more direct method. (Though if login problems persist, you can use the group code as a workaround.)

If you are trying to access RefWorks via refworks.com, you can access RefWorks via the Libraries' site, which prompts you for a Unity ID and password, then your RefWorks account information, instead of the group code.

RefWorks users who must use the group code:

  • Alumni who are continuing to access RefWorks accounts post-graduation
  • RefMobile users (or RefWorks on a mobile device)

The group code is sent to you by e-mail when you first create a RefWorks account. If you no longer have this information, please contact a Librarian.

(Group Code information for library staff.)


Q: Can I use Write-N-Cite off campus?

Yes. Follow the steps to load the WNC Proxy:

  1. From the Start menu on your computer select Programs and then RefWorks
  2. Select the WNC Proxy Configuration Utility
  3. Enter the following proxy server URL: http://proxying.lib.ncsu.edu/index.php?url=http://www.refworks.com/refwo...
  4. Click OK.

Q: Can I use Write-N-Cite without internet connection?

Yes. See instructions here.


Q: I am having trouble creating my bibliography in Write-N-Cite. What is wrong?

See troubleshooting tips from RefWorks technical support staff.

If you still cannot resolve your problem, you will want to speak with RefWorks technical support directly. Telephone: +1.775.327.4105 or e-mail: RS-RWsupport@refworks-cos.com.


Q: How can I use RefMobile?

A: RefMobile provides access to your RefWorks database via a mobile device. Help and documentation is available here.

RefMobile currently provides no method of NCSU authentication, so you need to know your group code. This information was included in the e-mail you got from RefWorks when you created your account. If you need to recover this code, contact the librarian listed at the bottom of this page.


Q: Is there training available for RefWorks?

A: See main RefWorks page for information on workshops offered through the Libraries. For additional information, Ask a Librarian to discuss your training needs. Faculty are encouraged to request an instruction session for their classes. We are happy to meet with your class to provide RefWorks instruction!


Q: I have additional questions. Where can I get help?

A: See the RefWorks help site for a number of tip sheets, video tutorials, and guides. For additional information and general assistance with RefWorks at any time (including evenings and weekends), Ask a Librarian.

The librarian listed at the bottom of this page can help with many issues, but RefWorks technical support is also an excellent resource for NCSU students, faculty, and staff: Telephone: +1.775.327.4105 or e-mail: RS-RWsupport@refworks-cos.com.